September 22, 2021
Junonia Sends Signal from Key West
First Loggerhead Ever Satellite Tagged by SCCF Surprises Researchers on Sept. 11

In June 2020, SCCF staff affixed a satellite transmitter to a loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) they had previously named Junonia. She was first encountered in 2016 and has been observed nesting on Sanibel three years in a row: 2018, 2019, and 2020. The satellite tag should have tracked her movements to her foraging grounds. However, less than a month after the tagging, on July 11, 2020, her transmitter stopped sending locations. This provided only a small dataset and did not offer insight into her migration pathway or foraging grounds. Surprisingly, on Sept. 11, 2021—a year and two months later—we were delighted to receive a transmission from Junonia. Track her here.

Sanibel Sea Turtle Nesting Update
There are 56 nests incubating on Sanibel and 44,398 hatchlings have emerged.
Learn Your Shorebirds! ID Sessions Planned for October

Fall is a great time to venture out to Southwest Florida beaches to look for migratory shorebirds and seabirds. Identification can be tricky because many of these birds have molted into their non-breeding plumage. After receiving an outpouring of interest in our World Shorebird Day event earlier this month, SCCF Shorebird Biologist Audrey Albrecht decided to offer a virtual Shorebird ID Presentation in October followed by guided beach walks. Sign up!

Yes, Your Yard is Wet and that's a Good Thing

SCCF Research Associate Mark Thompson explains why Sanibel intentionally holds and stores water during the rainy season. “Be patient when you see standing water in your yard or in a nearby swale. It is simply part of living in harmony with Sanibel and the surrounding wetlands,” he says. “Eventually, the water is filtered by plants and soil as it percolates through the soil and is stored in the aquifer for the dry times ahead.”

SFWMD Selects Alum as Water Treatment Component for C-43 Reservoir

The 10,000-acre C-43 West Basin Reservoir in Hendry County on the Caloosahatchee is intended to store excess water during the wet season which can be used during the dry season to maintain minimum flows to the estuary. Last week, the South Florida Water Management District announced the completion of a feasibility study and the selection of aluminum sulfate as the water treatment component of the C-43 Reservoir. 

Col. Booth Assumes Command of Army Corp’s Jacksonville District

On Sept. 9, Colonel James L. Booth took command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District. One of Booth’s first missions will be to oversee the completion of the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM). LOSOM will guide lake operations for the next decade and will determine the distribution and volume of freshwater releases into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries and Everglades. 

Red Tide Outlook & Websites to Help You Track It

SCCF Research Scientist Rick Bartleson, Ph.D., provides an overview of what's currently happening with red tide and websites that can help you track it, including a new one that features satellite images of chlorophyll for the surface of our coastal waters as pictured here from yesterday, Sept. 21. He writes, "We have been having a relatively HAB-free summer on Captiva and Sanibel. The water at the East End beaches may look reddish, but that’s from high runoff of rainwater full of tannins from surface runoff...
Some people ask if the blooms to our north are coming this way. Though there’s not a steady current, the wind can cause temporary currents that can move patches of red tide this way. USF physical oceanographers have a website that predicts the directions of parcels of water where you can see which direction patches may go for a few days at a time."

Remember: Sanibel is a Sanctuary for Wildlife

Living on Sanibel, where conserved wildlands occupy nearly 70 percent of the island, eventually results in some unexpected animal encounters. Always remember that the official Sanibel Plan defines the island as a sanctuary for native wildlife and we must do what we can to uphold this vision in our urban interface with nature.

For instance, this native southern toad is often confused for the giant toad = aka cane toad. These toads should not be harmed, as they are an important part of the ecosystem that eat many insects and are a food item for many reptiles, birds, and mammals.

Volunteer to Restore Habitat at Hemp Key this Fall

Want to get outside tomorrow and enjoy nature while doing a great deed? SCCF's Marine Lab and Coastal Watch are looking for volunteers for Thursday, Sept. 23, from 9am to 1pm to take a boat trip to Hemp Key in Pine Island Sound for restoration work.

We also need help on future restoration volunteer trips throughout the fall months to disperse fossil shell to promote oyster growth and to plant red mangrove propagules. We are planning to make these trips twice a week.

If you are interested in volunteering but are physically unable or unavailable to join us, you can still help out by collecting red mangrove propagules on local beaches and waterways. 

For information on these projects, please contact Conservation Initiative Coordinator Kealy McNeal at or 239-472-8585!
Thanks to Volunteers for Coastal Cleanup!

Thanks to all of you who volunteered last Saturday for International Coastal Cleanup.
With help from Tween Waters in organizing on Captiva, we collected more than a couple of hundred pounds of trash on both islands! Many small plastic items collected will help save the lives of marine life. We are grateful to have such amazing community support on Sanibel and Captiva.
Eden Oak Issued Another Continuance on Final Hearing

The public hearing for closing arguments for staff and the Eden Oak property owner formerly scheduled for October has been continued to March 10, 2022.

All public testimony on this zoning application was completed in 2019, so there will be no opportunity for public input until the case is presented to the Lee County Board of Commissioners, but the public may attend the hearing scheduled for March 10.

The county's negotiations to purchase this property through the Conservation 20/20 Land Acquisition Program are ongoing and separate from the zoning application.  SCCF supports its acquisition and preservation through Conservation 20/20. Thank you for your advocacy and continued support to purchase this important piece of our vanishing wetlands.

Legislative Tracker Ready as Committees Convene

September 20 marked the beginning of six interim committee weeks that will occur prior to the start of the regular 2022 Florida Legislative Session. State lawmakers will meet Sept. 20-24, Oct. 11-15, Oct. 18-22, Nov. 1-5, Nov. 15-19, Nov. 29-Dec. 3 to begin to shape legislative priorities for the regular session that begins on Jan. 11.

Pre-session meetings will include presentations on agency budgets and early debate on bills that have already been filed. SCCF is focused on nine key priorities affecting Everglades restoration, environmental conservation, harmful algal blooms, water quality, and home rule. The SCCF Legislative Tracker has been updated for the 2022 session and will include links to bills and meetings related to SCCF’s priorities.

Sanibel Sea School Into a New Year of Homeschooling

Sanibel Sea School’s Homeschool at Sea courses are in full swing, meeting once a month from September to May for field-based, customized, marine science curriculum. The staff works closely with groups to design an academic year’s worth of exciting topics that fit into their coursework. Topics are carefully planned based on tides, seasonality, and migrations.

Photo by Karl Werner
Meet the Natives:
Blue Curls

Blue curls (Trichostema dichotomum) are a great addition to a wildflower/pollinator garden. While short-lived, these herbaceous perennials create quite the show with numerous blueish-purple flowers from late summer into fall. The flowers attract pollinators such as bees while birds like to eat the seeds.

Weekly Water Update's Aerial Images Featured on WINK

WINK News talked with SCCF Research & Policy Associate Leah Reidenbach about our new Weekly Water Conditions Update and how aerial drone imagery helps explain shifts in water quality.

Wildlife Photos to Share

Thanks to Christie Allen @hudsonroadphotography for sending in this photo of a royal tern (Thalasseus maximus).


Please send your photos to to be featured in an upcoming issue.
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