Wilson's Plover chick | RJ Wiley

Coastal Conservation

Only in Florida: Investors Promised Permit to Destroy Bird Habitat on Public Land

New Gift Match Announced to Save Habitat

Out-of-state real estate investors with colorfully named corporations have applied for—and are close to getting—state permits that would destroy imperiled bird habitat. These corporations, Texas Holdem and Squeeze Me Inn, want to build a private boardwalk across public conservation lands to deliver tourists from rental properties right into the heart of a protected area. Shockingly, the state intended to grant their request until Audubon stepped in.
Yet another crazy Florida story in the making. You can help us stop this from happening with a meaningful gift to the Little Estero Island Legal Defense Fund. 
Let me tell you more about this special place. The dynamic coast has formed beach and dunes next to a tidal lagoon, all while supporting a wealth of rare and declining wildlife. Wilson’s Plovers nest in the dunes here, teaching their leggy chicks to hunt crabs and insects as soon as they hatch. Dramatic Reddish Egrets hunt in the shallows, chasing fish with wings spread wide in their characteristic, erratic dance. Least Terns pluck silvery fish from the waves offshore, and shorebirds resting from their long migrations find meals to fuel their journeys. Little Estero Island is magical, and there are precious few places like it left. This would all drastically change if this boardwalk is built.
We rarely litigate, but when I heard the details of this travesty-in-the-making, legal action was the only option. Without hesitation, Florida Audubon Society and the Town of Fort Myers Beach challenged this bad decision by the state.
Our team is up against two giants: the out-of-state investors AND the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection. I'm proud to report that we're holding our own in the case—because the birds deserve no less. But legal action is expensive, and our adversaries have deep pockets.
Another generous donor has offered a gift match that will double gifts received today, up to $1,000. I just made a contribution to Audubon’s Little Estero Island Defense Fund—will you help us too? Together, we can fend off this terrible idea and protect Little Estero Island’s habitat and wildlife.

Thank you for helping make this intervention possible.

Julie Wraithmell
Deputy Executive Director
Audubon Florida

P.S. Audubon is known for being a consensus builder, a voice of reason, and a user of good science to advance practical, elegant solutions. We are rarely involved in legal disputes, but Little Estero Island needs all of us now. Thank you for your support.