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NAPLES, FL (May 15, 2012) - The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve updates its calendar of events for the summer of 2012. The Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is located at 300 Tower Road, one mile south of the intersection of US41 and Collier Boulevard (CR951), less than 10 miles from downtown Naples, on the way to Marco Island. From May 1 through Oct. 30, the center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-12 and free for members, unless otherwise noted for special activities. For more information, call 239-530-5940 or visit facebook.com/friendsofrookerybay.

dolphinboat12Fishing line has evolved greatly over the years. With so many options available, like monofilament, fluorocarbon, braided line and fiber wire, an angler has plenty of choices to help them land their catch. While these lines contribute to more effective fishing, they can also result in unintended consequences when left behind in coastal areas.

Recently, an eco-tour boat in southwest Florida noticed a bottlenose dolphin with fishing line wrapped around its tail. The line was cutting into the dolphin's flesh, causing a life-threatening infection. They called for help and a multi-agency rescue effort resulted in the  successful capture, treatment and release of the dolphin back into waters in Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (RBNERR), a program managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas (CAMA).

"We removed several kinds of fishing line from the dolphin's tail," said Denise Boyd, research associate with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Florida dolphin12Wildlife Research Institute, who provided assistance in the capture. RBNERR staff helped with logistics, including providing a vessel and knowledge of local waters. Boyd added that it takes many areas of expertise for an effort like this to be successful. Medical treatment was rendered in the water and on shore by veterinarians from Sea World and other partners before the  animal was equipped with a satellite tracking device and released back into the water.

As more Floridians and visitors take up fishing, it's important to recognize the potential impacts of discarded fishing line on sea birds, marine life and more. In addition to entanglement, fishing line can be ingested, snag other anglers' gear, damage boat propellers and can even potentially harm scuba divers enjoying the coral reefs.

Cutting the Ribbon at PaddleCraft ParkNAPLES, FL - Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)’s Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (RBNERR), together with Collier County Public Services Division, will join local elected officials and community members to cut the ribbon for the Isles of Capri Paddlecraft Park in Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve on March 30, 2012. Guests include DEP Office of Water Policy Deputy Director Greg Munson, Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala; Collier County Manager Leo Ochs, representatives from the Collier County Public Services Division, and local residents.

Environmental activist Fabien Cousteau tours mangroves, urges action

Rookery Bay Researchers consult with Fabien Costeau about the Mangrove Restoration Project at Fruit Farm Creek  NAPLES, FL (2012) - In a joint effort to revive 64 acres of dead mangroves in Collier County, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Coastal Resources Group, Inc. have announced the launch of the Fruit Farm Creek Mangrove Restoration project. During a news conference held Jan. 17, the organizations were joined by environmental activist Fabien Cousteau, grandson of world-renown ocean explorer Jacques Yves Cousteau, in town to share his recently launched “Plant-A-Fish Initiative” aimed at promoting mangrove restoration.

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