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December 2020 / January 2021







The Wildlife Professional publishes article, “Stopping the Spread”


Growing Climate Solutions announces new ‘SWFL Climate Compass Series


Written by Conservancy Senior Environmental Planning Specialist April Olsen

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Back in 2002, Collier County was putting the finishing touches on a new growth plan for eastern Collier County, called the Rural Lands Stewardship Area (RLSA). There was excitement in the air as it was to be the first plan of its kind in the State of Florida.

The RLSA was designed to incentivize clustered development, where only ten percent of the 300 square mile area would be developed as self-sufficient towns and villages and the remaining ninety-percent was to be preserved as farm fields, citrus groves, cypress swamps and cattle ranches. …

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By Joanna Fitzgerald | Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital

Two common grackles were among the 50 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week.

The two common grackles were found in a parking lot in a gated community stuck to a sticky glue trap baited with birdseed, set as a means of rodent control. Both birds were incredibly stressed and open mouth breathing from futilely struggling to free themselves from the strong adhesive. The birds’ bodies, wings, legs, and beaks were covered in thick glue.

Feces and debris were stuck to the glue that was coating the birds; the amount of feces indicated the birds had been stuck for an extended period of time before being rescued. …

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The 2021 Magic Under the Mangroves virtual silent auction is open! All supporters are invited to bid on fabulous silent auction items and donate towards critical departmental needs.

All proceeds support the Conservancy’s mission to protect Southwest Florida’s unique natural environment and quality of life…now and forever.

The auction closes March 1st at 12:00 PM. To participate, click the following link!

Written by Conservancy President and CEO, Rob Moher

As 2019 ended, I drafted a guest opinion titled “Upping the ante to protect Southwest Florida.” The piece complimented USA TODAY Network’s excellent editorial about our region’s water crisis while outlining five additional steps to protect our water, land, wildlife and future in Southwest Florida. Let’s examine where we stand today on those five issues.

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Wetland destruction: Moving in the wrong direction

One year ago, I argued that Florida should abandon its misguided attempts to take federal authorization of Section 404 wetlands permits from the Army Corps of Engineers. With the state budget facing a multi-billion dollar revenue drop, how would an already under-resourced Florida Department of Environmental Protection assume the work of a better-resourced agency like the Army Corps? …

The annual 24-hour fundraising event will take place February 10–11, 2021

Give Where You Live Collier, a 24-hour fundraising event aimed to celebrate and increase philanthropy is slated to take place on February 10th beginning at noon.

Donations during this 1-day event will support the Conservancy’s mission to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, and wildlife for future generations. While the past year has brought challenges both big and small, our teams continue their work to move our mission forward every day.

You will be able to donate here on February 10–11

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The Environmental Policy and Advocacy team is hard at work to ensure that our region’s leaders have the proper tools to make informed decisions about the future of Southwest Florida. …

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Announced Thursday, January 14, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and our partners have filed suit against the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their decision to let the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) take over federal wetland protections. This decision would fast-track development permits throughout the state of Florida.

Read the complaint:

Our partners include Earthjustice, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, Florida Wildlife Federation, Miami Waterkeeper, and St. Johns Riverkeeper.

Florida is the first state in over 25 years to seek assumption of the 404 wetland “dredge and fill” permitting program from the federal government. With this authorization, protecting southwest Florida’s wetlands will be a more difficult task, as several federal protections will no longer be applicable or were trampled in the pursuit of this unlawful program. …

Written by Conservancy Biologist Vanessa Booher

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Mangroves trees are suited to grow in coastal waters. These trees are important in protecting and sustaining our coastal environment. They can reduce wave and wind energy created by storms from becoming a potentially devastating force from the coast moving inland. Mangrove systems are recognized for their potential in sheltering young fish as well as their ability in storing carbon both below and above ground.

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Registration is now open for the 36th annual Everglades Coalition Conference, the largest yearly forum dedicated to the restoration, protection and enhancement of the Florida Everglades ecosystem.

Out of an abundance of caution, the 2021 conference will be held virtually. The four-day event features speakers and educational breakout sessions on a variety of topics relevant to the restoration of America’s Everglades. Attendees include scientists, educators, contractors, conservationists, the media, students and concerned citizens, as well as decision-makers and representatives from federal, state, local and tribal governments.

To register for the conference, please visit

The public is also invited to participate in a complimentary virtual session, Everglades 101, on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 5 p.m. Attendees are invited to a pre-conference panel discussion on the history and status of Everglades restoration. Participants will get an overview of the historic Greater Everglades ecosystem, changes that have been made to the system, and an update on key restoration projects. This session is open to the public and appropriate for all audiences — from beginners to experts. Both English and Spanish sessions are available. …


Conservancy of SWFL

Protecting Southwest Florida's unique natural environment and quality of and forever.

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