Florida Scrub-Jay. Photo: Susan Kirby/Jay Watch Volunteer
The Voice of Conservation in Florida
For more than a century Audubon has encouraged people to take care of the places that make Florida special. Using science to guide our priorities and birdlife to measure ecosystem health, Audubon advocates for the protection of land, water, and wildlife. Audubon is Florida’s most influential conservation organization and conducts extensive work to protect the Everglades and coastal bird habitats. We manage sanctuaries covering thousands of acres along with two popular nature centers. Audubon promotes stewardship and appreciation of public land and water so people experience and cherish Florida’s natural beauty and wildlife.
Florida’s recurring water crises lit a fire for lawmakers from Tallahassee to Washington, starting with the passing of Senate Bill 10 by the Florida Legislature in 2017. The historic legislation kick-started the planning of the critical Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir project, which state officials planned in record time.
The Tampa Bay History Center and Audubon Florida curated the remarkable story of Florida conservation and Audubon’s role in it in an exciting new exhibit. A History of Conservation: A Bird’s Eye View shows the evolution of conservation in Florida.
A refreshing success story is emerging at Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples. Audubon’s ongoing freshwater marsh and prairie wetlands restoration is producing regional benefits in Southwest Florida and changing the restoration conversation statewide.
Audubon Florida is hopeful for meaningful conservation progress in the new year. Incoming Governor Ron DeSantis is vocal in support for Everglades Restoration and addressing the twin catastrophes of blue-green algae and red tide that plagued South Florida in 2018.
Florida’s climate is already changing as evidenced by higher temperatures almost every year for the past 10 years. This year, Hurricane Michael astonished weather forecasters when it ripped through the Florida Panhandle and other southeastern US states.
This comeback species was once on the brink of extinction in the 1970s, in large part due to the use of the pesticide DDT. Now, Florida is home to one of the largest populations of Bald Eagles in the U.S.
The coastal islands of Florida’s peninsular west coast have long been refugia for nesting waterbirds. Herons, egrets, pelicans, and spoonbills blanket the trees with nests in the thousands, and the breeze carries the clamor of begging chicks.
The 2018 Audubon Assembly focused on finding solutions to a changing climate with its innovative theme, Rising Tides: Building Common Ground for Climate Change Solutions. The jam-packed Assembly was in West Palm Beach and fired up conservation leaders from across the Sunshine State.
Florida’s greatest lake was in the news this year for all the wrong reasons. Record phosphorus inflows, persistent harmful blue-green algal blooms, high water levels, and harmful estuary releases inundated Lake Okeechobee and the downstream ecosystems.