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October 4, 2022

Hurricane update #3

Our hearts are with all our island friends and neighbors, along with the entire Southwest Florida community as we navigate the devastating impacts of Hurricane Ian.

By request, we are sending a third hurricane update. We hope you find this helpful and share it with others by using the link at the bottom of the newsletter.  Photo by David Jeffrey


The J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge has been a part of peoples lives in ways we don't even know. Please use  #dingstrong in your social media posts regarding the Refuge, your happy memories or current thoughts. Thank you for caring. 

We are #SanibelStrong and certainly #DingStrong

Hurricane Ian Resource Links

If you are a resident or business affected by Hurricane Ian, the following are some helpful links. Many of these are included in other outlets, including the City of Sanibel which is linked below.

Here is a printable and linked pdf of the resource links below.

Lee County Damage Assessment allows homeowners to read the initial damage assessments of their structures as destroyed, major, minor, affected, or unaffected. 

Lee County Response & Recovery Updates are posted on their website.

The City of Sanibel has published daily updates since the storm passed. You can find answers to commonly asked questions and updates regarding Sanibel in each video update. You can watch hereHomeowners with proof of residence are being allowed to access the island by private boat and at their own risk beginning tomorrow. No modes of transportation once on the island are available and people must walk. The island remains dangerous with debris, nails etc. and should you choose to do so, we advise caution. walking to your home is. On the city press conference it is at about the 1 hour mark where they are discussing it. We are assuming the city site will be updated with more information today.  

The City of Sanibel is issuing Hurricane Re-entry Passes today, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, October 4, 2022, in the Sanibel Meeting Room, first floor, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Sanibel Room, 13051 Bell Tower Drive, Ft. Myers, FL 33907. 

Xfinity provides WiFi Hotspots. Read more here

ALSO Cancel any of your home services, such as cable, wifi, phone etc. You don't need to fight them for bills with all that you have going on.  

U.S. Postal Service provided insight for those who need to pick up mail or forward mail.

Learn more about replacement Florida licenses, ID Cards, and Titles.

NewsPress recently published resource links, updates, and storm stories for residents and businesses in Southwest Florida. You can find the article here.

Supplies: You can Find a list of open facilities in SWFL to purchase supplies here. This list has most likely increased, but this is a start

FEMA: Apply for assistance through FEMA here.

If your home sustained damage from the storm, your local State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program office may have recovery assistance to help with temporary relocation, rental assistance, debris removal, and/or home repairs.

US Army Corps of Engineers Operation Blue Roof aims to provide homeowners and rental properties with fiber-reinforced sheeting to cover damaged roofs until permanent repairs can be made.

Lee County Response & Recovery updates are posted on their website.

Division of Emergency Management compiled a list of links for food and water resources, electricity and water updates, and more.

Lee County Domestic Animal Services announced the University of Florida mobile veterinary team will be offering triage and medical care free of charge for any domestic animal residents in need.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance provides temporary benefits for those who lost their employment interrupted due to a major disaster.

Florida Business Assistance through is available.

Emergency Resources are listed in this NBC2 article.

NOAA Aerial Images and Before & After Photos

"Crying doesn’t mean you’re weak. Sometimes it’s what you need to do to get strong again” – J.W. Lynne

Working together, we will see the light at the end of the tunnel. Lives will be forever changed. The island will be forever changed.  

Photo by Liz Noffsinger

Status of J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

The refuge has sustained considerable damage, but nothing that can't be repaired. 

Refuge Project Leader Kevin Godsea and USFWS staff continue to work directly in helping the island with the work to clear roads, cut trees for safety around the island etc. They will then complete their formal assessment before long. While the Refuge will receive federal funding to help in the restoration, it will never be enough. 

Refuge staff helped the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum salvage what they could.

Special thanks to CROW for their continued collaboration to support the wildlife of the island and SCCF who has allowed use of their boat to help in the transport of equipment and other missions. It takes everyone working together.  




Volunteer Florida coordinates volunteers with opportunities around the state and country.

The City of Sanibel:  If you have resources such as boats, equipment, services, skills please send an email to or call (239) 603-7261and provide the following information:  


  • Name
  • Resource available
  • Phone number
  • Email address

The Refuge will need volunteers in the future, but until we know more, please contact the city who can use people now. Thank you. 

How to Help the Refuge

Although the Refuge and "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society offices are currently closed, support for the Refuge is at an all-time high. Government funds will not be enough to cover the cost of restoration.  While we don't have full details on the damage, we do know it is significant. 

For those who feel the call to donate, please do so online through our website, wire transfer, or our NEW PO BOX (PO Box 61249, Fort Myers, FL 33906).

Emergency Housing Needed for thousands of people who lived and worked on the islands.  

THANK YOU to those who contact the DDWS with help for temporary housing, from Janet Lopez to many others. At this point, island residents and employees are desperate for long-term housing of 6 months to a year. 

Please understand that so many of these individuals also have mortgages they need to continue paying and so the cost of rent can be prohibitive, even when they find a rental. Many apartments and homes are still charging pre-hurricane and seasonal rents and the availability is sparse. Please, if you have contacts with possible rentals, encourage them to only charge their costs and help someone get back on their feet with a roof over their heads. 

The following is a link for people looking for housing. 

Florida Housing Finance Corporation has a list of rental properties for anyone who has been displaced. You can also contact them by calling 1-877-428-8844.

Help for island Residents & Businesses

To help people on Sanibel and Captiva impacted by the storm, we suggest FISH of Sanibel Captiva. There are thousands of individuals from home owners to employees who have lost everything. They assess the need and can move forward in helping. 

Every non-profit organization on the island is going to need help during this recovery and it is our hope you choose those important to you. Please make gifts online, as any mail service is not possible on the island.  

NOTE that "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society - Friends of the Refuge has a NEW temporary address to send your support: "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society. PO Box 61249, Ft. Myers, FL 33906

Photo of the Anhinga below is by island resident and DDWS board member David Jeffrey.

While there will be significant work ahead for the Refuge and the DDWS, we look forward to the day when people can come back and be reminded of the importance of places like "Ding" Darling for the wildlife and each and everyone one of us #DingStrong 

photo by Jessica Barry of FWS

The small but mighty FWS team is working hard to help the island and the Refuge with restoration.

Photo by Jessica Barry

City, County, State and Federal workers have been on the island for search and rescue for days.Thank you to everyone for the heroic efforts in finding those who remained.  #SanibelStrong

Photo by Bridgit Budd from FB

The "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society is the non-profit friends group supporting the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge Complex.


Birgit Miller, Executive Director

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