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second chance 250NAPLES, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, in collaboration with Audubon Florida and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), is working to protect nesting habitat for least terns, black skimmers and Wilson's plovers at the Second-Chance Sandbar. Beginning March 1, the sandbar, which is designated as a Critical Wildlife Area (CWA) by the FWC, will be closed to allow for successful nesting of these beach-dependent species.

NAPLES, FL (Feb. 15, 2019) – The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Collier County Commissioners selected Friends of Rookery Bay as the Business of the Month for February 2019.

Each month, the award is presented to an organization that has enhanced the community through financial, volunteer and active involvement in organizations and programs that assist in creating a better quality of life for all citizens in Collier County.

Rookery Bay Research Reserve is partnering with Duke University on a Science Collaborative project to incorporate ecosystem services into coastal decision making, management and research. During their recent stakeholder meeting, representatives from the City of Naples, Naples Botanical Garden, Coastal Resources Group, Rookery Bay Research Reserve, and Conservancy of Southwest Florida provided input on a framework to examine how mangrove restoration could change ecosystem services provided by the restored habitat. This framework will be used to better understand how proposed mangrove restoration can increase flood protection for adjacent communities, impact property values, enhance key sportfish populations, or provide a case study for education and outreach activities. Once the model is finalized it will be published on the project website so that ecosystem service considerations can be incorporated into a future program or a project in the local community.

In the short clip above, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis shared his vision for the future of water management in southwest Florida at with local media and staff at Rookery Bay Research Reserve on Jan. 29. Following a brief introduction by DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein, Govenor DeSantis' announcement included the appointment of Chauncey Goss to the South Florida Water Management District, plans for reducing stormwater discharges from Lake Okeechobee to Florida's east and west coasts, adding more culverts or bridges under U.S. 41 to allow more sheetflow to reach the Ten Thousand Islands and Florida Bay estuaries, and the creation of the new Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection. Several local broadcast news stations provided real-time coverage of the announcement providing amazing exposure for DEP, Rookery Bay Research Reserve and Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. 

How does this affect Rookery Bay?

While reducing freshwater discharges from Lake Okeechobee and the future efforts of the new Blue-Green Algae Task Force would benefit water quality for all of southern Florida, $6 million for the Resilient Coastlines Program and the new Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection will have the biggest effect on Florida’s three NERRS and 41 Aquatic Preserves, which are managed by the new office (formerly known as Florida Coastal Office).

According to the vision, that program will now do more to “help prepare Florida’s communities and habitats for changes resulting from sea level rise by providing funding and technical assistance and continuing to promote and ensure a coordinated approach to planning among state, regional and local agencies. The increased funding for coastal resiliency grants will also help protect Florida’s coral reefs, which serve as the state’s first line of defense from storm surge and are a major tourism attraction, and support emergency sand placement to help fortify coastal areas ahead of storms.”

Below please find the entire Governor's Executive Order. 

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