Jan. 25, 2023

Four Bald Eagle Nests Hatch on Islands

Four bald eagle nests have hatched on Sanibel and Captiva in recent weeks! SCCF staff and volunteers are monitoring 10 bald eagle pairs total this year, most of which have settled on nesting locations. In addition, a bald eagle who hangs out around Dairy Queen on Periwinkle Way has selected a new female mate, a promising sign after his previous mate was believed to be missing before Hurricane Ian. 


Sanibel Sea School to Host 2023 Summer Camps

Sanibel Sea School staff are pleased to announce that summer camp will be held on Sanibel this year. While the school’s flagship campus is undergoing renovations from the hurricane, the camps’ home base will be SCCF’s Bailey Homestead Preserve. Various camps will be held for ages 4-17. Registration opens at 12 p.m. EST on March 4.   


Sunrise Shell Count Finds Many Live Mollusks

A group of 27 volunteers observed more than 1,400 live mollusks and thousands of colorful coquinas as they examined 12 miles of shoreline at sunrise on Jan. 22 as part of the 2023 Live Mollusk Count. SCCF partnered with the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum for the count, which will help provide insights on the effect of Hurricane Ian on local populations of sand-inhabiting mollusks.


Gopher Tortoise Surveys Reveal Ian Impacts

Many gopher tortoises, as well as other wildlife, were displaced on the island by Hurricane Ian. SCCF’s Dayton Preserve had 21 active and two inactive burrows in 2021. There are no remaining active or inactive burrows post-hurricane. This preserve, on Tarpon Bay Road and West Gulf Drive, is very close to the beach and does not have very high elevation. However, two SCCF properties on the west end of the island had similar gopher tortoise burrow counts as last year because of the elevation of the area.  



Rebuilding Islands Requires Vigilance & Resilience

SCCF Environmental Policy Director Matt DePaolis shares his concerns that development pressures may be taking advantage of the chaos following Hurricane Ian and using it as an opportunity to increase density in the coastal high-hazard zone and other sensitive areas. Specifically, proposed amendments to Lee County’s Land Development Code could lead to additional density in South Seas Island Resort on Captiva. On Sanibel, it means assessing which parts of the Sanibel Plan are working well and evaluating whether any parts need to be strengthened.


Second Research Cruise Assesses Ian's Impacts

SCCF Marine Lab Director Eric Milbrandt, Ph.D., recently joined scientists from Florida Gulf Coast University for a second Florida Institute of Oceanography research cruise to study the Gulf of Mexico after Hurricane Ian. Samples were collected to study carbon and nutrient cycling and phytoplankton communities in response to the hurricane. The research is intended to help understand how major hurricanes impact red tide blooms. 


Red Tide Documented off Sanibel and Captiva

Recently, there have been reports of red tide blooms around Sanibel as well as fish kills and respiratory irritation. The City of Sanibel documented reddish, discolored water in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Sanibel and Captiva Islands as well as dead mullet washing ashore near Lighthouse Beach Park. It’s difficult to predict how long and how severe a red tide bloom will be. Offshore winds predicted in the next week may help push the bloom offshore.  


Native Landscapes & Garden Center Now Open

Dune sunflower, tea bush, and sea grape, oh my! SCCF’s Native Landscapes & Garden Center had a successful re-opening yesterday, welcoming dozens of customers and educating people about the importance of planting native. The garden center is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday at 1300 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL. 


SCCF Applauds Herbert Hoover Dike Improvements

SCCF Environmental Policy Director Matt DePaolis attended a ribbon cutting this week for the newly improved Herbert Hoover Dike — one of several key Everglades restoration projects.



Jeff Corwin Tickets Going Fast for Lecture on Feb. 6!

Don't miss out on tickets for the 5th Annual Paul McCarthy Memorial Lecture featuring Emmy-winning TV host, conservationist, and wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin on Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. The event will be held in-person and virtually. 


Join SCCF for Free Gathering at Point Ybel Brewery

Meet us at Point Ybel Brewing Company in Fort Myers from 4-6 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29, for a free gathering featuring live music from Boston-based duo ‘Cold Chocolate.’ 


Co-Op Offers Rare Opportunity to Go Solar

Imagine walking into a solar company’s office with 100 of your neighbors and saying, “We all want to get solar. What kind of deal can you give us?” That’s what the new solar co-op for Lee and Collier Counties can do for you. There are still about 70 slots open (out of 100) for sign-up by April 30. If you’d like to learn more about its benefits, sign up for one of SUN’s Solar 101 virtual seminars on Jan. 30 or Feb. 28 at 6 p.m.


Sunset Birding Cruise is Back!

Take a sunset birding cruise with SCCF & Captiva Cruises! This event will occur on Feb. 17 from 4:45 to 6:45 p.m., with proceeds benefitting SCCF’s shorebird monitoring program. Tickets are $45 and can be obtained by calling Captiva Cruises at 239-472-5300.

Leadership Class Helps Clean Up Valade Preserve

Gretchen C. Valade (1925-2022) was one of SCCF’s most instrumental supporters. Following her passing on Dec. 30, volunteers from the 2022 Leadership SWFL Class helped us remove hundreds of pounds of trash from the Valade Preserve, which was named in her honor. Read more about her life and legacy.

More Volunteers Needed for Conservation Crew

SCCF Coastal Watch is still looking for volunteers to join the Conservation Cleanup Crew to remove non-natural debris from SCCF conservation land. Cleanups will be held from 7:30-11 a.m. on Thursdays and Fridays for the foreseeable future.  


Adopt a Mangrove at the SCCF Garden Center!

SCCF Coastal Watch’s Adopt-A-Mangrove program invites local community members to “adopt” mangroves. From 12-2 p.m. tomorrow, Jan. 26, we will be offering mangrove seedlings and pots at the SCCF Native Landscapes & Garden Center for community members to take and nurture at their homes. The adopted plants will eventually be returned to SCCF and planted at one of SCCF’s many shoreline restoration sites this year.  


Thanks to Jennifer Kuehn for reporting this bobcat (Lynx rufus) on Beach Road.

 Please click here to report your post-Ian wildlife sightings.

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