Feb. 22, 2023

Shipley Trail Cleaned & Reopened at Bailey Homestead Preserve

SCCF is pleased to announce the re-opening of the Shipley Trail at our Bailey Homestead Preserve. In addition to many hours of labor from SCCF staff to get the trail passable again, a team of volunteers from Florida Weekly helped finalize cleanup last week. 

Because the Roadside City Park parking lot on Periwinkle Way is closed, the public is encouraged to access the trail by foot or during Native Landscapes & Garden Center hours (10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday). In addition, trail-goers should be cautioned that the connecting portions of the trail may still contain some downed vegetation from the hurricane.

Located at 1300 Periwinkle Way, the Shipley Trail runs alongside SCCF’s Native Landscapes & Garden Center before connecting with the Starr D. Thomas Memorial Boardwalk and the City of Sanibel’s Pond Apple Trail. The trail is under 0.75 miles with a crushed shell substrate and offers great opportunities for birdwatching. 


Winter Shorebird Survey Finds 2,851 Birds on Islands

It’s a great time to go birding in Southwest Florida — as evidenced by the nearly 3,000 birds counted by SCCF staff and volunteers this month as part of the Florida Shorebird Alliance’s Winter Shorebird Survey! SCCF has contributed to the annual count for over a decade, providing important long-term data on birds’ wintering populations and distributions. 

Despite concerns over hurricane damage and poor regional water quality, this year’s 2,851 total bird count was slightly higher than our 10-year average of 2,499 individuals per year. 


SCCF Celebrates EAA Reservoir Groundbreaking as Huge Step

Today, SCCF CEO James Evans and Environmental Policy Director Matt DePaolis attended the initial groundbreaking of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir, a major component of the decades-long, multibillion-dollar Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.

“This 240,000 acre-foot reservoir will take significant pressure off of the Caloosahatchee,” DePaolis said. “By diverting polluted water from the lake, we will be able to reduce the number of damaging discharges we receive.”


Intensifying Red Tide Threatens Islands' Recovery

In explaining how releases from Lake Okeechobee are connected to the red tide bloom that has lingered off the Southwest Florida coast since October, SCCF Research & Policy Associate Leah Reidenbach tells us that it could have been worse if flows weren’t curbed at first. She also lets us know that releases may now be fueling the bloom with nutrient loading, jeopardizing the much-needed restoration of our islands’ tourism economy.

"Striking a healthy balance between Lake Okeechobee levels, ecology, and safety, and the environmental effects of flows to the Northern estuaries is impossible with the current infrastructure and water management practices," she writes.



Report Debris on SCCF Preserve Lands Adjacent to Yours

We're asking island residents and businesses to report any debris on SCCF Preserve Land that is adjacent to their property. Many areas with debris are not visible from the street or the interior and can only be seen from residential privately owned lots, so we appreciate help in identifying areas where contractors will come to remove debris from. Debris on private property is the responsibility of the property owner. We are only seeking sightings of debris on SCCF land. Thanks for your help! We couldn't do it without you.



Garden Center Gets More Resilient Natives in Stock

The SCCF Native Landscapes & Garden Center is fully re-stocked this week. Come by 1300 Periwinkle Way from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday for all your native plant information and shopping needs, and don’t forget to peruse our Post-Hurricane Ian Replanting Guide for tips on how to successfully revegetate your lawns and gardens.


Marine Lab Weather Station Upgraded to Fill Data Gaps

Our Marine Laboratory’s River, Estuary, and Coastal Observing Network (RECON) weather stations were the go-to weather source for the local boating community before all three were lost to Hurricane Ian.

To fill gaps in data, our staff recently upgraded an existing weather station at our lab on Tarpon Bay.  



Sanibel Sea School Preps for 2023 Summer Camps

Despite losses from Hurricane Ian, staff at SCCF’s Sanibel Sea School are busy finalizing plans for Summer Camps in advance of registration opening on March 4. 

“With our main campus closed for remodeling … we have a lot to consider,” said Sanibel Sea School Director Shannon Rivard. “Regardless, our staff is dedicated to ensuring we still have the best summer yet!”


SanCap Citizens for Resilient Future to Host Event March 9

In collaboration with the City of Sanibel, the newly-formed SanCap Citizens for a Resilient Future — of which SCCF is a member — will be hosting a 2-part community event that kicks off on Thursday, March 9. “Emerging from Hurricane Ian: Stronger & More Resilient” will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at Big Arts on Sanibel and will also be streamed for remote viewing. 


Attend Southwest FL Solar Co-Op Info Session

SCCF is teaming up with nonprofit group Solar United Neighbors to bring you the Southwest Florida 2023 Solar Co-op, with free membership through April 30.

Two free information sessions are planned for March, including one at the Bailey Matthews National Shell Museum on March 15. Learn how to save money and stress by going solar in a group!


Bill Aims to Use Tech to Improve Water Quality

Newly introduced H.R. 873 “will help us jump-start the protections of our waterways. It’s heartening to see our leaders reach across the aisle to make major investments, not only in solving the problems that plague America’s waters, but also recognizing the importance of nature-based solutions,” said SCCF Environmental Policy Director Matt DePaolis. 


DePaolis Urges SFWMD to Lower Lake O Levels

In his comments at the Feb. 9 board meeting, SCCF Environmental Policy Director Matt DePaolis expressed both hope and concern as he asked the South Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board to bring Lake Okeechobee levels down before the rainy season.  



SCCF 2023 Legislative Tracker Now Live

Every year, SCCF publishes a legislative tracker to help you track and actively participate in the bills that SCCF is following. Our 2023 tracker is now available in advance of the 2023 Legislative Session, which runs March 7 through May 5.

Follow along as SCCF watches bills move through committees and throughout the legislative session. Bills that will have an impact on SCCF's priorities in Southwest Florida are now being logged and updated.

SCCF Applauds Donation by Congress Jewelers

SCCF is grateful to Congress Jewelers for donating $20,000 to F.I.S.H. of SanCap and the Sanibel-Captiva Recovery Fund, initiated by Charitable Foundation of the islands (CFI). “As leaders in supporting the recovery fund for our islands’ nonprofit employees, we are thrilled to see this generous donation,” said SCCF CEO James Evans. The donated funds were generated from the sale of pendants. CFI has been able to help 62 non-profit employees with over $150,000 in grants through the recovery fund. SCCF donated $5,000 when the fund launched.


SCCF Hiring Garden Center Intern & Finance Staff

  • Grants & Financial Coordinator, Full-Time
  • Native Landscapes & Garden Center Intern, Seasonal
  • Shorebird Intern, Seasonal



Thanks to Corinne Washik for reporting this young gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) on Wild Lime Drive.

Please report your post-Ian wildlife sightings. SCCF is grateful for citizen science as we build an inventory of species that survived the hurricane.

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