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While many people associate Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, Florida with its cypress swamp boardwalk and extraordinary wildlife viewing, fewer realize that it is an active laboratory. Behind the scenes, Audubon researchers, land managers, educators, and policy advocates work to unravel the threats facing Corkscrew’s watershed and prescribe a course of restoration that will benefit the entire Western Everglades.
April 20, 2018 marked the eighth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster that endangered the economies of coastal communities, saturated marshes and wetlands with sludge, and smothered thousands of birds in oil. Despite millions of gallons of oil flooding into the Gulf of Mexico, two surviving pelicans from the disaster recently gave Audubon biologists new hope for the fate of rescued and treated bird victims.
Thanks to hundreds of Audubon bird stewards and biologists along with our partners, there were no reported mishaps at beach-nesting sites during the 2018 Independence Day fireworks celebrations. Audubon teams up with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and local governments during the nesting season to monitor and protect protected nesting areas and the species that depend on them.
Lawmakers gathered early this year in Tallahassee for their annual 60-day lawmaking session, and Audubon focused on conservation funding as our top priority. With 2018 being an important election year for many lawmakers, Florida’s environment faced eager lawmakers ready to make an impact on the state.
Tucked away in Ocala National Forest, Hughes Island is a “donor site”- one with a stable population that can donate ScrubJays for relocation elsewhere in the state. Led by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, state officials began a Scrub-Jay translocation program just last year in an attempt to save this imperiled species.
Hard-working volunteers and partners helped Audubon restore vital Scrub-Jay habitat in Manatee County by removing sand pines. While it might seem unusual to remove trees to help birds, tall sand pines and thickets provide the perfect perches for predators of the Florida Scrub-Jay like hawks.
The Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) and collaborating land developers are pressing forward with a destructive plan that would route part of the new Osceola Parkway through the Split Oak Forest Wildlife and Environmental Area in Osceola County. The initial proposal cut through the heart of Split Oak Preserve and ran directly through the middle of valuable scrub habitat, home to several Scrub-Jay families.