POST-HURRICANE IAN UPDATES | NOV. 9, 2022

SCCF Keeping Eyes on Lake Okeechobee, TS Nicole
The rise of Lake Okeechobee has started to plateau, and as Tropical Storm Nicole heads towards Florida, our scientists will closely monitor conditions throughout the entire system and expect the lake to rise again in the days and weeks following the storm. TS Nicole is predicted to bring heavy rainfall to Central Florida, with up to 6 inches in some areas north of the lake. Eventually, we expect that rainfall to make its way to the Caloosahatchee. 

Current flows to the Caloosahatchee at the Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79) have been within the optimal flow envelope for 14 days with only 8% of the water coming from Lake Okeechobee, but water quality is still poor from Hurricane Ian. We are also experiencing red tide on the west coast, as well as fish kills and red drift algae on Sanibel Island. We plan to communicate another update next week regarding how the Caloosahatchee Estuary and our water quality were affected by TS Nicole.
Sea Turtle Research Moves to FGCU
Since Hurricane Ian, SCCF Sea Turtle Research Technician Jacob Wozny has been using lab space generously provided to SCCF by The Water School at Florida Gulf Coast University to continue working on a long-term study investigating differences in sea turtle hatch success on Sanibel versus Captiva beaches.

The sea turtle team moved some lab equipment and materials to FGCU before the hurricane, including sea turtle blood samples that must be kept at -80 degrees C. The refrigerator where the samples were originally kept on Sanibel ended up being flipped and destroyed by flood water.
Sanibel Sea School Resumes Some Courses
Since last week, Sanibel Sea School classes that were scheduled before Hurricane Ian have been held off-island at parks and preserves around Southwest Florida. The courses, designed for groups of homeschooled children, have explored birding, shark biology, the history of the Calusa, and more.

SCCF is still assessing and repairing major damages to the Sea School's two buildings on Periwinkle Way, and it's unknown when normal operations will resume or when Sanibel's natural areas will be safe enough for children.
Staff Making a Difference for SCCF Volunteers
SCCF staff have helped 17 of our dedicated volunteers as well as other community members with their personal hurricane cleanup needs such as clearing debris and vegetation, tree work, and cleaning out furniture and more. For volunteer Ira Grasgreen (left), the timely assistance meant the world.

"There was no hesitation for us to help our volunteers in their time of need," said SCCF Coastal Watch Director Kealy McNeal (center). "They continually give back to us and make large-scale project possible that we wouldn't otherwise have the manpower for as a small nonprofit."
SCCF Discusses Environmental Policy
at Climate Reality Project Meeting
As the featured speaker at last week's November meeting of The Climate Reality Project's Lee County Chapter, Environmental Policy Director Matt DePaolis talked about current areas of policy concerns for SCCF, including water management, development, and more. Click to watch the Zoom presentation below. Please note the required password: $6PuB%0B.
SCCF In the News
ABC7: SCCF Helps Island Community Rebuild

ABC7 Southwest Florida Reporter Rachel Anderson visited SCCF staff last week during our daily hurricane cleanup to discuss the foundation's work stepping up for the community and assessing Hurricane Ian's impacts on our islands' wildlife — all while dealing with significant damages to our buildings and properties.
Op-Ed from CEOs of SCCF and Conservancy of Southwest Florida Challenges Eden Oak

"To allow mangroves to be torn out and replaced by a residential development in a Coastal High Hazard Area is unthinkable," write SCCF CEO James Evans and Conservancy of Southwest Florida CEO Rob Moher in their recent op-ed in the Naples Daily News, which outlines the dangers of a proposed housing development in South Fort Myers, Eden Oak.
Sea Turtle Season Still Largely a Success in Southwest Florida

SCCF Coastal Wildlife Director and Sea Turtle Program Coordinator Kelly Sloan gives an update to the News-Press on sea turtle numbers on Sanibel and Captiva for the 2022 season. Unlike other areas that experienced higher sea turtle nest numbers — such as Bonita and Lovers Key State Park — numbers were down a bit this year on Sanibel and Captiva.

"Statewide numbers are pretty encouraging, and our lack of a record on Sanibel and Captiva is not a big cause for concern," said SCCF Sea Turtle Biologist Jack Brzoza. "Turtles don't nest every year, and it could be a year where a lot of their off years coincide, or they could be nesting on other local beaches, among other potential factors."
SCCF Marine Lab Director Discusses Ian's Impacts on The Weather Channel

The Weather Channel featured a live interview with SCCF Marine Lab Director Eric Milbrandt, Ph.D., at daybreak on Nov. 6, to discuss Ian's impacts on marine habitats and water quality. Specific topics covered include red tide, the hurricane's impacts on manatees, and artificial reefs.
CNN Features SCCF in Coverage of Post-Ian Wildlife

A CNN wire story about the impacts of Ian on wildlife, published yesterday, was picked up by media outlets across the U.S. and around the globe and includes expertise from SCCF Wildlife and Habitat Management Director Chris Lechowicz.
For supporters interested in helping SCCF through this unprecedented chapter in our history, please consider making an unrestricted tax-deductible donation using the link below. It will be used to address our greatest immediate needs. As we learn of the unmet needs of other island nonprofits, we will do what we can to redirect donations to them as well.

If you have questions, including information on our bank wiring instructions and making a donation of stock shares, please contact SCCF Development Director Cheryl Giattini at 239-822-6121 or cgiattini@sccf.org. Also, please remember that the island post offices are not functioning and SCCF’s temporary mailing address is PO Box 101130, Cape Coral, FL 33910. Thank you in advance for your consideration of this heartfelt request.
Staff clearing out contents from the Sanibel Sea School's main building on Periwinkle Way, which experienced about 2 feet of flooding and subsequent molding — with nearly all contents a loss — as well as major tree damage that took out the power feed.
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