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SW florida mangrove coast 250 NAPLES, Fla. – Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is celebrating its 40th anniversary with the production of a full-length documentary film. The film, titled “Southwest Florida’s Mangrove Coast, is slated to air on WGCU-TV, the Naples-area PBS station, on Earth Day 2019 (April 22, 2019). It will subsequently air on other PBS stations in the state. A preview screening is being planned for the Naples area April 8 at Silverspot Theater in Mercato. A limited number of tickets are available for $20.


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.

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. 

Local nonprofit Friends of Rookery Bay is sponsoring WGCU’s “With the Wild Things” for the next year. Hosted by wildlife biologist and renowned ornithologist Dr. Jerry Jackson, With the Wild Things is a one-minute look at a particular environmental theme. Topics feature interesting facts about the flora and fauna of Southwest Florida. The program airs weekdays at 7:20 a.m. on WGCU 90.1 FM radio.

NAPLES, Fla. – Resource management staff at Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve have released plans for their first prescribed burns in 2019. Prescribed burns will commence each day around 9 a.m. as weather permits starting Jan. 19 through the end of March.

Planned Burns 2019 250Fires are planned for the following areas: west of Collier Boulevard and south of Henderson Creek, along Powerline Road (adjacent to Artesia and Treviso Bay), along Shell Island Road, and north and south ends of Keewaydin Island.

Rookery Bay Reserve staff coordinate burns with the Florida Forestry Service and work with partnering land managers and local fire departments to ensure the burns are conducted safely and efficiently.

Residents in the adjacent areas will see and possibly smell smoke from the fire. Fire personnel will contact visitors in the area to ensure their safety while traveling near activity areas and will carefully monitor the fire throughout the day until it extinguishes.

map doc 250


What: Coastal Inundation Mapping Course

When: March 5-6, 2019

Where: Florida Gulf Coast University, Seidler Hall
10501 FGCU Blvd South
Fort Myers, FL 33965

How: Cost is $75, Register online by Feb. 13

(click image at left for PDF with more details!)

  • Crafty & creative individual able to build new exhibits for adopt a sea turtle nest giving wall, donor appreciation wall and nature store (Flexible on schedule but immediate need).
  • Tech savvy computer whiz to use 3-D printer to support the Adopt A Sea Turtle Nest Program (couple hrs/wk; January through July).
  • Friendly “Friend of FORB” interested in making monthly calls to new, renewing and lapsed Friends’ members (two half days/month; year-round)
  • Administrative gurus to assist Director and staff with weekly office tasks (two half days/week; year-round)
  • Customer service liaison to answer calls about programs, activities, membership, etc (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays from Jan 1 to March 30)
  • A real people person to represent & promote the Friends at our membership table for special events (multiple events/month; year-round)

If interested, call or email Athan Barkoukis, Executive Director, at 239-530-5990 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. All positions would report to the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. Each position to be filled by 1-3 individuals. Must complete volunteer orientation in additional to specific training.

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