Aug. 31, 2022

Sea Turtle Study: Examining How Sand Relates to Hatch Success

Most sea turtle nesting has concluded on Sanibel and Captiva, but hatchlings continue to emerge. The SCCF sea turtle team has documented 31,255 emerged hatchlings on our beaches so far this year. In addition, our team is wrapping up an exciting study examining how the properties of sand are related to hatch success on Sanibel and Captiva. Helping with the field work is Research Technician Jacob Wozny, whose position is 100% supported by funds from Florida Sea Turtle Specialty License Plates. 


Conserving SW Florida's Beloved Horseshoe Crab

SCCF staff recently joined a training session on surveying, tagging, and re-sighting horseshoe crabs, which are an important conservation target in Southwest Florida. These living fossils serve as a food source for migrating shorebirds, help test for the presence of bacteria in drugs and vaccines, and more. Learn more and how you can help: CLICK HERE

Why LOSOM is Best Option under Current Restraints

SCCF Environmental Policy Director Matt DePaolis discusses the science behind proposed changes to Lake Okeechobee water releases, which will impact the health of multiple Florida estuaries. The draft regulations are open for public comment through Sept. 12, and SCCF will be submitting a formal response. "After years of work, SCCF believes that the current iteration of LOSOM is equitable to all stakeholders, a step up for the environment over the current schedule, and the best plan we are going to get unless our natural systems are prioritized over permitted water users," he writes. READ MORE

Tell the Army Corps you support LOSOM

Voice your support for the plan and outline any remaining concerns you might have by taking action now. SCCF has created an easy way for you to email the top stakeholder.


How Climate Change is Altering Our Soundscapes

Our local biophony — the blanket of natural sounds radiating from our beaches, marshes, and mangrove forests — continually competes with human-created noises for airplay. Climate change is further altering soundscapes, with surprising potential impacts for both humans and wildlife, writes SCCF Coastal Resilience Manager Carrie Schuman. READ MORE

The Underlying Cost of Australian Pines

The Australian pine tree (Casuarina exisetifolia) is an exotic and extremely invasive tree that is fairly common on Sanibel and throughout southwest Florida. Although not part of the natural flora on the island, this upland tree is either loved, hated, or sometimes both by residents and visitors. Some private landowners like the shade these towering trees provide but are usually unaware of the negative and often expensive repercussions of letting them grow to full size. Cutting down and disposing of a single tree can cost thousands of dollars with the removal or grinding of the stump costing extra.


Unplug at Sanibel Sea School with After-School Programs

Summer break has come to an end and students have returned to the classroom — but that doesn’t mean the fun has to end at Sanibel Sea School. Sign up for after-school programs at the Sea School, held on Wednesdays from 3:30-5:30 p.m. for students ages 6 to 13. Sessions explore various topics including snorkeling, birding, marine science, and ocean art.


Amazing Atala Butterfly is Making a Comeback

Introducing the amazing, once believed to be extinct Atala butterfly (Eumaeus atala)

The survival of the Atala is tightly tied to the survival of its host plant the coontie (Zamia integrifolia). In the 1950s, it was thought extinct due to the over-harvesting of coontie as a starch substitute. Now that coontie is used as an ornamental and in butterfly gardens, the Atala is making a comeback, although it is still considered very rare and threatened throughout its range. The Atala is naturally found in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties in Florida, the Bahamas, and Cuba. Recent sightings on the Gulf coast extend as far north as Pinellas County and include Sanibel. READ MORE

Help Restaurants Recycle Oysters as a Coastal Watch Volunteer this Fall

In November, Coastal Watch is launching a new initiative where volunteers will assist with the weekly collection of oyster shells from local restaurants. Restaurants will fill 5-gallon sealed buckets with shucked oyster shells and leave filled buckets in a designated area for volunteers to collect and take to a staging area at the SCCF Headquarters building on San-Cap Rd. The recycled shell will be used as a foundation for oyster reef construction in restoration areas in Tarpon Bay and Pine Island Sound. Email to help out!

Support Coastal Watch & Have a Good Time!

Tickets are going fast but we still have some available if you'd like to join us for our first-ever The Watch Party on Sept. 30. Presented by Bank of the Islands, it's an indoor-outdoor fundraising event supporting volunteer-driven, community-based marine conservation initiatives. Join the fun!


Visitors, Residents Using Beach Buckets

Coastal Watch is happy to announce that the buckets at the beach bucket stations are being used! Several volunteers have been monitoring and reporting the usage of the buckets over the past two months at the three bucket stations - Lighthouse Beach, Tarpon Bay Rd Access, and Bowman's Beach. We are thrilled to see the community and visitors taking advantage of this program and helping Coastal Watch keep our beautiful beaches clean! More volunteers are needed to help monitor the stations. If interested, please email

8th Graders Plant Mangrove Propagules with SCCF

Students at the Sanibel School are taking part in a year-long mangrove educational project, thanks to the help of SCCF. The eighth graders will study mangrove growth under various conditions, conduct mini-research projects, present their results to SCCF marine biologists, and eventually plant them with SCCF's Coastal Watch, which has been restoring multiple mangrove habitats across Sanibel and Pine Island Sound. READ MORE


Do you have a Sanibel wildlife photo to share?

Thanks to Jeffrey Helfrich for sending this shot of an osprey (Pandion haliaetus).

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

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