July 14, 2021

With this issue, our bi-weekly e-news changes from the Wednesday Update to a new format and a new name: Connecting You to SCCF. With so many captivating stories about the work we do to protect and care for the coastal ecosystems of Southwest Florida, we want to share them with you in a more effective way.

We've moved the wildlife photos submitted by our readers to the bottom.
Scroll down to check it out!
We'll email your next issue on July 28.
TS Elsa Washes Away 45 Sea Turtle Nests
Nest assessment still underway on Captiva

Tropical Storm Elsa’s waves and storm surge caused 125 sea turtle nests on Sanibel and Captiva to lose their marking stakes and screens. SCCF's sea turtle team has worked diligently to confirm which eggs washed away and which are still buried in the sand. So far, it appears that 45 nests washed away on Sanibel, with the assessment of 40 nests still underway on Captiva. READ MORE
RECON Tracks TS Elsa's Winds, Waves & Surge

Southwest Florida got the brunt of Tropical Storm Elsa’s force on Tuesday, July 6, when it brought rain, high winds, and heavy wave activity. 
The River, Estuary, and Coastal Observing Network (RECON) sensors recorded wind gusts of over 50 mph. The RECON wave buoy, off Blind Pass, recorded the highest wave at 12.8 feet on Tuesday night.  READ MORE
Photo by SCCF Volunteer Cheri Hollis
Wilson's & Snowy Plover Chicks Survive TS Elsa

Three Wilson's plover chicks and three snowy plover chicks made it through Tropical Storm Elsa, while one snowy plover nest was washed away. The oldest snowy plover chick was observed flying over the weekend, with the others soon to follow suit. READ MORE
SCCF Urges Corps to Improve LOSOM Options
In a letter submitted today to Col. Andrew Kelly, SCCF Environmental Policy Director James Evans explains how the current options under review for a new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual could be more equitable.

Seeking Lake O's Sweet Spot for Water Levels

When it comes to water levels in Lake Okeechobee, how much is too much? How detrimental is too little? As federal officials analyze potential adjustments to the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual, SCCF Hydrologic Modeler Paul Julian, Ph.D., explains the impacts of highs and lows—and the importance of finding that ideal “sweet spot.” READ MORE
Support Responsible Fishing During Shark Week

Local media recently reported on an angler who fought a large nurse shark in local waters for almost three hours. Fighting a shark to exhaustion drastically increases the likelihood of it dying after being released. SCCF supports responsible fishing practices and encourages anglers to use proper catch-and-release techniques to protect vulnerable shark populations while enjoying Southwest Florida’s recreational fishing opportunities. If you are an angler or want to learn more about these unique creatures, check out more tips on how you can protect our sharks and other coastal wildlife. READ MORE
Linsmayers Inspire $17K for Critical Sea Turtle Research

Celebrating the success of the Linsmayer Family Challenge, Coastal Wildlife Director Kelly Sloan is pictured here with Linda and Nick Linsmayer, and their dog Frankie. In response to the Linsmayers' $10,000 challenge, SCCF received an additional $17,775 in gifts to support a sea turtle sex ratio research study. READ MORE
Biologists Visit with Box Turtle Expert at Univ. of Florida

SCCF Wildlife & Habitat Management Program biologists met on June 9 with Kenneth Dodd, Ph.D., a renowned herpetologist and box turtle expert at the University of Florida, to discuss SCCF’s current data set and compare sampling techniques and observations. Dodd has conducted the most comprehensive study on Florida box turtles to date. They were also joined by Jordan Donini, a professor at the Naples campus of Florida SouthWestern State College. SCCF Technician Mike Mills is pictured here with Dodd and Charlie, a rescued box turtle. READ MORE
FWRI Sea Turtle Researcher Visits with SCCF Team
Last week, Tomo Hirama, a marine turtle researcher at Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, visited Sanibel to share his project evaluating orientation response to physical cues on nesting beaches. He explained the protocol to staff monitoring the beaches in areas where disorientation due to artificial lighting is more likely to occur. READ MORE
Photo by SCCF Volunteer Karl Werner
Monitoring Causeway Island B for Sea Turtle Nests
Contracted through Lee County’s Causeway Island Stabilization Project, SCCF volunteers have enthusiastically monitored the beaches on both sides of Causeway Island B for sea turtle nesting activity. Nests are rarely observed at this site, but it’s important to be certain that no existing nests will be disturbed when construction begins in August. 
Report Algae Blooms with New SCCF App

Macroalgae and microalgae are a natural part of marine and aquatic ecosystems, but some blooms can be harmful to our environment, economy, and health. SCCF has developed an app that makes it easy to report the presence of algae from your tablet or smartphone. 

Meet the Interns:
Joseph & Sabrina

Marine Lab Intern Joseph Young is in his third year at Colorado State University, where he is double majoring in chemistry and biochemistry. Sea Turtle Intern Sabrina Sorace is a rising senior at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. This summer, she is interning with the nighttime tagging program. READ MORE
Funding for Environment Fared Well in Legislature

The pandemic didn’t slow the Florida legislature down in 2021. Lawmakers filed 4,158 bills during the 60-day legislative session. Funding for the environment fared well including Everglades Restoration projects, the Florida Forever Land Acquisition Program, and the Florida Wildlife Corridor. READ MORE
Red Tide Clears from Lee County; No Wildlife Impacts

The red tide organism, Karenia brevis, persists on the more northern Florida Gulf Coast, but has cleared in Lee and Collier Counties, where no concentrations were reported over the past week. Charlotte County had very low to low concentrations in two samples.

The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife on Sanibel reported no patients with suspected red tide poisoning in the last week.
Campers Enjoy Treasures Washed Ashore by TS Elsa

Despite a one-day cancellation, Sanibel Sea School summer campers had plenty of fun adventures last week. The rain passed by Wednesday afternoon and campers were immediately back out on the bay surfing. “We’ve never had to cancel camp as a result of a tropical storm or hurricane before,” said Director Nicole Finnicum. “Usually the larger storms come later in the season after camp is over.” READ MORE
Meet the Natives:
Stokes' Aster

Stokes' aster is an herbaceous perennial that grows about one to two feet tall. The flowers, reaching three to four inches across, make great cut flowers and are an excellent pollinator attractor. These plants are also rabbit resistant and are available at SCCF’s Native Landscapes & Garden Center. READ MORE
SCCF Purchases 3 Critical Wildlife Habitats near Sanibel

Wildlife & Habitat Management Director Chris Lechowicz explains why the land acquired off McGregor Boulevard is mission-critical in this story that aired on ABC-7 last week.

Thanks to Zeke McDonald for sending in this photo of a bobcat (Lynx rufus) on the North Captiva airstrip.


Please send your photos to info@sccf.org to be featured in an upcoming issue.
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