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Caloosahatchee River

The Caloosahatchee River is a river on the southwest Gulf Coast of Floridamarker in the United Statesmarker, approximately 75 mi (121 km) long. It drains rural areas on the northern edge of the Evergladesmarker northwest of Miamimarker. An important link in the inland waterway system of southern Florida, the river forms a tidal estuary along most of its course and has recently become the subject of efforts to restore and preserve the Everglades.


The river issues from Lake Hicpochee, in southeastern Glades Countymarker, approximately 10 mi (16 km) WNW of Clewistonmarker. It flows WSW past La Bellemarker, where it becomes tidal, forming an estuary along its lower 25 mi (40 km). It broadens as it nears the gulf, passing Fort Myersmarker and Cape Coralmarker. It enters the Gulf of Mexicomarker 10 mi (16 km) southwest of Fort Myers in San Carlos Bay protected by Sanibel Islandmarker.

The 5 mi (8 km) Caloosahatchee Canal connecting Lake Hicpochee to Lake Okeechobeemarker allows continuous navigation from the Caloosahatchee to the Okeechobee Waterway system. Since the late 19th century, dredging and channelization of the river, as well as the artificial connection to Lake Okeechobee and its use as a water supply for urban and agricultural uses, have substantially altered the hydrology of the river. As a result, both the magnitude and timing of water delivery to the estuary have been substantially altered. Recent programs by the state government have attempted to establish minimum flow levels in the river, in part to help restore the water supply to the Everglades. A federal wildlife refuge for manatees has been established at the mouth of the river on San Carlos Bay near Fort Myers.


Image:USACE Ortona Lock and Dam.jpg|Ortona Lock and Dam on the Caloosahatchee River, part of the Okeechobee Waterway, in Glades County, FloridaImage:CaloosahatcheeRiver.JPG|Seminole Gulf Railway spans the Caloosahatchee River near Tice, Floridamarker.Image:Midpoint Bridge From Horton Park & Boat Ramp.jpg|The Midpoint Memorial Bridgemarker spanning the river and connecting the cities of Cape Coral and Fort Myers (2008).

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