March 22, 2023

Honoring Sanibel’s Freshwater on World Water Day

Did you know Sanibel has an interior freshwater system? A unique feature for a barrier island, Sanibel’s freshwater wetlands historically hosted a treasure trove of biodiversity. Parcels of these wetlands were among SCCF’s first land purchases in the 1960s. 

Read more about the history of Sanibel's freshwater and how it's been impacted by Hurricane Ian.

Sanibel Plan Lecture Draws Dozens

SCCF Pfeifer Conservation Fellow and Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida Thomas Ankersen visited the Bailey Homestead last week for the first in a series of lectures about the Sanibel Plan.


Red Tide Subsiding in Southwest Florida

Southwest Florida residents and visitors can literally breathe a sigh of relief. Over the past two weeks, red tide has substantially subsided in the region, with recent bloom-level concentrations occurring to the north of Lee County.


Take a Beach Walk with Sanibel Sea School

Sanibel Sea School has partnered with Island Inn to offer weekly guided beach walks. The walks will take place from 9-10:30 a.m. on Wednesdays, and are a great way to experience shelling, birding, and wildlife-watching opportunities. 



Keep an Eye Out For Killdeer Nests

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) are one of Sanibel’s only shorebird species you might find right outside your door instead of on the beach! These large plovers lay 4-6 eggs per nest, often located in open areas near humans. If you suspect killdeer are nesting near you on Sanibel or Captiva, please keep your distance and contact

Sanibel Rice Rat Monitoring Underway

Twice per year, SCCF staff assess the population status of the endemic Sanibel rice rat, a state-threatened rat species found only on Sanibel Island. These unique rats face a host of challenges, including the loss of their natural habitat of open cordgrass swales. 


Sargassum Won't Impact Regional Shores

SCCF Marine Lab scientists don’t think the massive bloom of Sargassum that has been receiving media attention will affect the Southwest Florida coast. Ocean currents will likely push the bloom onto the east coast, through the Keys, and toward Mexico and Texas. As seen in this satellite image, the loop current is far from Sanibel and Captiva and would take many days of strong westward winds for clumps to reach regional shores. 


Volunteers Assist Coastal Watch With Restoration, Cleanup

SCCF's Coastal Watch extends its gratitude to recent volunteer groups from Santa Fe College and Cape Coral’s Cape Christian Church!

Santa Fe College students visited Sanibel on an alternative spring break based around volunteering. They potted hundreds of mangroves for Coastal Watch’s future shoreline restoration efforts.

The Cape Christian Church group helped rake up dead, mucky grass at the Bailey Homestead and loaded it into our dump truck. We couldn’t have done it without them! 

Lake Okeechobee Systems Operating Manual Delayed

To examine how Lake Okeechobee’s updated water release schedule could impact sea turtles and red tide, the National Marine Fisheries Service is completing a Biological Opinion, which will delay final submission by 135 days.


Sugar Industry Lawsuit Fails in Court

In September, SCCF and partners supported the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with an amicus brief to keep the sugar industry from succeeding with a lawsuit that threatened a key element of Everglades restoration.

Yesterday, the court ruled in favor of the Army Corps.


Donor Spotlight

Thank you to Jillian, age 12 (right), from New Jersey for her generous $250 donation to SCCF!

After hearing about Hurricane Ian, Jillian and her mom decided to raise money to help the animals on Sanibel by selling handmade shell crafts.

State Leaders Hear from SCCF on Red Tide

Senior SCCF staff met with state leaders on March 14 to discuss red tide and what actions need to be taken. The group included Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Shawn Hamilton (pictured here with SCCF CEO James Evans), Acting Executive Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Thomas Eason, and South Florida Water Management District Governing Board Chairman Chauncey Goss. 


The group learned about SCCF’s water quality monitoring and red tide research and discussed the importance of decreasing nutrient pollution, equitable water management, and sending more water south to the Everglades.

Pacifico Beer Raises $6K for SCCF

In December and January, every 12-pack of Pacifico beer sold in Lee, Charlotte, and Collier Counties included a $1 donation to SCCF. The proceeds from the campaign were presented to SCCF on March 15 at the Bailey Homestead and will help us in our continued Hurricane Ian recovery and rebuilding efforts. 

SCCF Assists 7th Grade Ecosystem Study 

SCCF Environmental Educator Richard Finkel visited with seventh graders at the Sanibel School to discuss the ecology of our Back Bay Estuary and SCCF’s ongoing research to help inform an ecosystem project. Students are learning about the components of various ecosystems in Florida and presenting their research.


“As a leader in ecosystem conservation for Southwest Florida, it’s important for SCCF to provide experiential learning opportunities for all ages focusing on how interconnected we are to our environment,” Finkel said. 

French Documentary to Feature SCCF

Last week, a crew from the French documentary series “Face au Climat” visited Sanibel to interview SCCF Coastal Resilience Manager Carrie Schuman and Marine Lab Director Eric Milbrandt. The documentary, in its second season, features host and French explorer Anne Quéméré, who travels to communities being directly impacted by climate change and extreme weather events. 


Quéméré spoke to SCCF about Hurricane Ian and how Sanibel can move forward with nature-based solutions and resiliency in mind.

WINK News: Researchers Hope to See Gulf Waters Improving 6 Months After Ian

SCCF Marine Lab Director Eric Milbrandt is aboard his third post-Ian research cruise from St. Pete to Naples to study water conditions and red tide in the Gulf of Mexico.



March 30: Learn About Ways to Help at Volunteer Expo

Get connected to volunteer opportunities with SCCF and other island organizations at the Charitable Foundation of the Islands’ SanCap Volunteer Expo from 4-7:30 p.m. on March 30 at BIG ARTS. Attendance is free.


March 30: SCCF to Host Community Conversations

Join SCCF to discuss local issues concerning red tide, restoration, and resilience as part of On the Table SWFL. Experiences will be compiled to inform local leaders.


March 31: Resilient Restoration in Southwest Florida & the Everglades Ecosystem

At 10 a.m. at the Tribby Arts Center, SCCF Environmental Policy Director Matt DePaolis will discuss how our interconnected waterways directly impact the resilience of Southwest Florida and the greater Everglades ecosystem. No registration required.


Submit Your Ian Experiences to SanCap Citizens for a Resilient Future


The newly formed SanCap Citizens for a Resilient Future, in collaboration with the City of Sanibel, hosted “Emerging from Hurricane Ian: Stronger & More Resilient" on March 9. The resilience-focused event included remarks from Sanibel's first mayor Porter Goss, community stories about Hurricane Ian experiences, and an interactive community survey that will help inform future discussions.




  • Sanibel Sea School Summer Camp Photographer, Seasonal

  • Native Landscapes & Garden Center Intern, Seasonal


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