Hat Day was the theme of a recent luncheon meeting held by the Newcomers Club of Marco Island. Members donned their finest, prettiest and/or silliest hats.
Guest speaker was Nancy Richie, City of Marco Island Environmental Specialist. She gave a very informative presentation regarding the environmental services provided by the City of Marco Island. She described how Marco Island monitors the water quality of the beaches and canals, as well as the monitoring of Red Tide. She explained that city does surface Water Quality monitoring by testing twelve canals six times a year, as well as testing 3 park lakes. The Florida Department of Health tests 3 beach locations weekly for bacteria levels as part of the “Florida Healthy Beaches” program. Mote Marine monitors surrounding waters for Red Tide every week.
Ms. Richie reviewed the city’s responsibility to manage Nativeand Exotic Vegetation and implement Florida Friendly Landscaping, which is a set of guiding principles which help protect the natural resources and preserve Florida’s natural beauty. She explained the difference between plants which are beneficial and those that are harmful to our environment.
The audience learned that lawn and landscape professionals register to take a one day training course to show Best Management Practices. To date, 157 contractors have registered for education about Green Industries designed to protect water quality. This course promotes Florida Friendly Landscaping, which recommends native plants for use in our cul- de-sacs.
There was a discussion about various protected species such as Sea Turtles, Burrowing Owls, Gopher Tortoises, Bobcats, Panthers, Eagles, shore birds and more. There are, currently, 86 burrowing owl locations identified on Marco Island with 56 to 58 nests sheltering pairs of the tiny owls. The public isurged to volunteer to help maintain these precious nests.
Marco Island is also home to exotic species such as Iguanas, Muscovy Ducks and pythons. In the last few years, the city has removed over five Hundred Iguanas from the island.
The Newcomers learned about Loggerhead Sea Turtles which are also managed by Collier County and the City of Marco. They learned that turtle nesting season is May 1 to October 31. During this time period, female turtles come to the beach to lay up to one hundred eggs. Most nests have from one to one hundred twenty eggs but only one in 1,000 will survive. Nancy Richie also discussed current and upcoming Beach Projects on Hideaway Beach and Sand Dollar Island, as well as Rookery Bay projects.
For further information on any of the City of Marco Environment Services or, to volunteer to assist, contact Nancy Richie at 389-5003.