Project Description

Caloosahatchee Water Wall

The Caloosahatchee Water Wall and the surrounding naturalized landscape were created together to help regenerate a portion of the Alliance for the Arts campus in Fort Myers, Florida. The water trickling down the Wall is slowly filtering the water in the adjacent retention pond. This is done through aeration, biological treatment and filtration through grasses and wetland plants (and their roots and soil) as the water makes its way back to the pond. The Water Wall is intended to raise awareness about the historical modifications made to the flow and course of the Caloosahatchee River that contribute to significant water quality issues seen today.

The blue anodized aluminum wall is a vertical representation of the flow of the Caloosahatchee River, a small portion of Lake Okeechobee is at the top, the Caloosahatchee Estuary is near the bottom connecting to the Gulf of Mexico. Prior to development, the Caloosahatchee was a meandering river originating in the wetlands near Lake Flirt. In 1881 dredging and channelization of the River was initiated to control flooding and provide a navigation channel for boats. This new engineering of the River also created an artificial connection to Lake Okeechobee as a water supply for urban and agricultural uses. Ultimately 3 locks were created to control the flow of the River and as a result, both the magnitude and timing of water delivery to the Estuary have been substantially altered. To make matters worse, the water from Lake Okeechobee and the surrounding region is often polluted from agricultural and urban stormwater runoff. These combined impacts have extensively altered the River’s hydrology and ecology, creating significant impacts to water quality within the River and Estuary, often resulting in the water being overwhelmed with toxic algae. The algae not only impacts the beautiful River and nearby beaches, but has caused the death of countless fish, birds and other wildlife/ marine life in the region.

As a part of the Alliance for the Arts campus, the Caloosahatchee Water Wall and the surrounding native vegetation are doing their small part to reduce the need for fertilizers and mowing while filtering water and supporting wildlife. This part of the Alliance campus is a model for how others can replace lawns with native vegetation at home, school and places of business; it demonstrates how together we can improve the water quality in our communities and ultimately restore our rivers and lakes.

For more info please visit the Alliance for the Arts.   An article about the project can be found here.

Project Credits

Artist/ Designer: Michael Singer
Singer Studio Team: Jason Bregman and Jonathan Fogelson
Alliance for the Arts Team: Lydia Antunes Black, Barbara Hill,
Jeffrey Mudgett, Jon Romine, Michael Sohn
Landscape Architecture: EnSite Inc.
Construction: Lombardo Landscaping, Owens Ames Kimball,
Mudge Metalcraft, Unlimited Welding
In Kind Contributions: Florida Department of Transportation,
City of Fort Myers, Juniper Landscaping and Tri-Circle Pavers

This collaborative public art project was created with generous support from: John E. & Aliese Price Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Frizzell Family Foundation, Deborah Meisenberg Family Trust, LAT Foundation, Rotary Club of Fort Myers South, Gift in memory of Lucille Remler, Keep Lee County Beautiful Foundation, LCEC, Huffer Foundation and many Alliance for the Arts Members.

Caloosahatchee Water Wall