Saturday , August 30 2014
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Tigertail Participates in International Coastal Cleanup


By Raymond Apy On the morning of Saturday September 21, Tigertail Beach goers volunteered in record numbers to help clean up Tigertail Beach as part of the 28th International Annual Coastal Cleanup. The Friends of Tigertail Beach volunteer organization teamed up again with Keep Collier Beautiful, and a record number of 108 volunteers joined in to help rid Tigertail Beach of the empty bottles, cans, foam cups, cigarette butts, plastic bags and other trash that summer visitors left behind. More than 20 bags of trash were collected. Those who volunteered to work alongside the Friends Of Tigertail hosts included Boy ... Read More »

Rookery Bay Programs


By Joan Kelly Manatees, unique mammals that inhabit the waters of Southwest Florida, are the subject of one program offered at the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The thoroughly enjoyable presentation was given by Captain Nancy Anderson. Even long time residents will learn new and important concepts about these endangered creatures. Rookery Bay members have the opportunity to learn more about local habitat and environment throughout the week in the learning center. Numerous educational and entertaining presentations are also offered. To find out more about this program calendar log on to or call 239-417-6310.   Read More »

Our Canals Need Care & Conservation

A web of animals and plants live together in harmony in our canals, as long as we keep them clean. SUBMITTED PHOTO

PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie Marco Island has 100 miles of man-made canals. Historically, it was an approximate 6,000 acre mangrove island until the Deltona Corporation dredged it and filled it, using vertical, cement paneled seawalls to contain and stabilize the fill. Thus, creating the labyrinth of 100 miles of waterway canals in an approximately four square mile area. This construction created the 8,311 single-family residential properties (excluding Hideaway Beach and Key Marco) that we call home. Of these 8,311 properties, 5,723 are located on the canals, or waterfront. To date, 4,634 of those properties are developed. Basically, for those ... Read More »

The Myth of the “Black Panther”


PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie Over the years, there have been reports from hotel concierges, tourists and even some “old timers” of first-person accounts of “black panthers” lurking around the Marco Island beach dunes during the day. One tourist wrote a two-page letter in outrage that there was a “black panther” just a few feet away from children playing in the sand at the Hilton beach. Recently, a few true believers swear there was a “black panther” out on Sand Dollar “spit.” One of the best arguments heard is the “panther crossing” sign shows the outline of a panther in ... Read More »

Hatchling Heaven


By Natalie Strom Sea turtle hatching season is in full swing all over the state of Florida. Every year, female loggerhead sea turtles and a few other varieties make their way to the beaches to find the perfect spot to lay their precious eggs – around 100 per nest. These eggs go through an incubation period of about 60 days before they break free, dig their way out of the sand and make a mad dash to the ocean. Predators await these hatchlings at every turn. While still in the nest, raccoons and ghost crabs are their biggest threats. ... Read More »

Birds of Paradise


PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie Skimming along our beaches and resting in our rivers, bays and canals, these birds are a common sight on Marco Island. Their presence is especially breathtaking in the early mornings and as the sun sets over the island. Black Skimmers slice our mirrored waters, cutting the surface like silk. With their bright orange-red beaks and legs, they add a certain majesty to the waters that surround us. This bird is one of the most tropical in North America… Really, who needs a toucan? Black Skimmers (Rynchops niger) are gull-like in size, about 11 ounces and ... Read More »

Sea Turtle Nest Count Second Highest on Record


Submitted by Department of Environmental Protection Researchers at Florida’s three National Estuarine Research Reserves are reporting that this year’s sea turtle nesting season is boasting the second highest nest count on record at the reserves. Sea turtle nesting season begins in early May and extends to October 31. More than 1,800 biologists, interns and trained volunteers patrol Florida’s 199 nesting beaches to identify, mark and monitor nests and evaluate nest productivity after the hatchlings emerge. Researchers at Florida’s three National Estuarine Research Reserves located in Naples, Apalachicola and Ponte Vedra Beach gather evidence to track sea turtle populations and document ... Read More »

Keeping a Clean Beach


By Coastal Breeze News Staff The City of Marco Island’s Beach Advisory Committee sponsored two beach clean ups this August: Sunday, August 11th and Sunday, August 18th. Thanks to the support of Marco Island’s Publix, the Marco Island Civic Association, the City of Marco Island, the Beach Advisory Committee, CJ’s on the Bay and Rick’s Island Salon, along with various citizen volunteers, the beach has been looking pristine in the midst of sea turtle and shorebird nesting season. Those working hard to keep our beaches clean would like to pass on some words of wisdom to beach goers. After all, ... Read More »

The Tipping Point: Time to Pay Attention


PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie Marco Island. Paradise. It’s a destination for many, a seasonal home for thousands and a year-round community and permanent home for many more – both humans and wildlife.   Separated from mainland peninsular Florida by the Marco River with the Rookery Bay estuary and the 10,000 Islands ecosystem complex cradling it on the edge of the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, the approximately four by four square mile island is one-of-a-kind. Once 6,000 acres of mangroves, it is now over one hundred miles of manmade canals with that gorgeous 7-mile crescent beach, both recreational for tourists ... Read More »

Shorebirds & Birds of Prey


By Steve Mutart Marco Island Historical Museum features a presentation on Florida’s Shorebirds The Marco Island Historical Museum is delighted to host Shorebirds & Birds of Prey, a PowerPoint presentation by Steve Mutart on August 22, at 2 pm. Join us amid the beautiful Florida Shorebirds & Birds of Prey photographic exhibition by Marie Adams, which is currently on display in the museum until September 26, 2013. Artist Marie Adams will be present and seating is limited. Mutart, a retired real estate lawyer from the Philadelphia area, has garnered a life-long passion for birds and volunteers with the Conservancy of ... Read More »

Chasin’ Tail Florida-Style


PROTECTING &PRESERVING Nancy Richie In my household, sometimes I wonder if the refrigerator calendar of the Julian twelve months is really necessary as we mark our year by seasons – not fall, winter, spring and summer – but by stone crab, sailfish, mahi, grouper, scallops and lobster seasons. That’s just the oceanic seasons for my daughters and me; my husband adds in the hunting seasons as well for his year! It is definitely unanimous that we all love Lobster Season when late July and August roll around. Most Floridians know (and plan for) the “mini season” – two days ... Read More »

Jellyfish 101


By Natalie Strom In the last few months, a new and unpleasant trend has developed along Marco beaches. Innocent vacationers and locals slip into the warm, bath-like water of the Gulf and suddenly it hits them. A sharp, stinging sensation arises and it’s clear; they’ve been stung by a jellyfish. The question that begs to be asked is why does it seem like so many more stings are being reported? A quick sit down with Marco Island’s Environmental Specialist, Nancy Richie, provided Coastal Breeze News with answers to this and other burning questions.   CBN: Why so many jellies ... Read More »

Whale Tales (Tails?)


PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie   “It is not down on any map; true places never are.” - Herman Melville, Moby- The unexpected experiences are always the most memorable and perhaps the most real. While fishing offshore Miami a few weekends ago nothing much was happening; no fish were biting, no birds were flying. It was hard to complain about not catching anything, though. The day was beautiful on the Atlantic Ocean about 6 miles offshore Biscayne Bay. The water was clear deep blue, the seas were calm and air warm. Watching the occasional man-of-war jellyfish float by with its ... Read More »

The Reddish (or is it Whitish) Egret?


PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie One of the most entertaining and beautiful wading birds to watch along the Marco Island beach, especially in the Tigertail Lagoon area, is the medium sized egret named appropriately the Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens). Once, nearly completely annihilated from the state of Florida, the Federal 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act was passed, protecting the Reddish Egret and all other herons and egrets from plume hunters. Today, there is a population estimated between 1,500 and 2,000 in the United States – mostly found along the Texas coast, a few in Louisiana and southern Florida. We ... Read More »

Knock, Knock! Who’s There? It’s the Pileated Woodpecker!


PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie The magnificent Pileated Woodpecker…Can anyone say Woody Woodpecker? Okay, the Pileated Woodpecker (Dyrocopus pileatus) does not wear a cute blue suit like Woody Woodpecker (Animated cartoon character), but they do share that snazzy red mohawk atop their heads and a big, noisy personality! Pileated Woodpeckers are the third largest woodpecker species in North America – only smaller than the extinct Imperial and Ivory Billed woodpecker species. So, okay, they are the largest living woodpecker in the woods of North America today! They are startling to see clinging to the side of a tree due ... Read More »

Storm Season and Trees


PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie As of June 1st, hurricane season officially began and by midweek, the first named storm, Tropical Storm Andrea, was blowing by our island. Luckily, Marco Island just received lots of rain but not much wind from Andrea. As the season progresses, it’s important to know ahead of time what to do when a storm strikes to protect trees to prevent or minimize financial and aesthetic losses. In the past couple of years, most of the trees on the island have been impacted by spiraling white fly and the ones which have had treatment are ... Read More »

Dolphins: Wild and Free

PHOTO BY Kirk Gardner

PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie With smile-like expressions on their faces, serious agility that translates to playfulness to human observers and a curiosity that may equal ours, dolphins are WILD animals – marine mammals that need to be treated as such to keep them that way. “Flipper” is the iconic dolphin whose story created the myth that a wild dolphin is naturally friendly and never a menace. In fact, “Flipper” was a trained, captive dolphin (actually several dolphins) who did tricks on command for food, happily accepting the food and did not bite the hand that fed him. In ... Read More »

Python Found at Mainsail


By Coastal Breeze News Staff At around the same time as an endangered leatherback sea turtle was being rescued, a heavily invasive species – the Burmese python – was just being discovered under a valve cover box on Mainsail Drive. Lawn care workers opened the valve cover to find a large, shiny snake coiled up at the bottom of the box. Mike Gee, an employee at the Marco Shores Wastewater Treatment Plant quickly identified it as a Burmese python. According to the city, Gee is a collector of snakes and well-versed in species of reptiles and exotic pets who identified ... Read More »

Rare Turtle Rescue


By Coastal Breeze News Staff On May 9th, a surprise visitor to our waters was thankfully rescued by Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve staff and Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). A boater approximately three miles west of Caxambas Pass on Marco Island called the FWC to report that a turtle was apparently entangled in a crab trap. RBNERR staff member Greg Curry was contacted and set out to find the turtle. To the surprise of many, it was actually a leatherback turtle, one not commonly found along the Gulf shore. As seen in the photos, Curry was ... Read More »



By Nancy Richie Dozens of donated plants were replanted in the City of Marco Island’s Calusa Park Butterfly Garden by the city’s Beautification Advisory Committee members: Susan LaGrotta, Linda Colombo and Bob Kennedy. Joining them in their labor of love were Alex Dubicki, Paul Crain, and, loyal supporter and favorite dog, Barron. The Waterway Cove complex in “Old Marco” is currently giving its landscape a facelift. Via homeowner association president, Marianne Maniace, lirope and bromeliads were donated to the City’s promising Butterfly Garden. A generous gesture that was very appropriate for Earth Day. Tom Trombly of EarthCare removed the plants ... Read More »