Audubon Florida News

Topic: Corkscrew Swamp,Media

Crayfish Thrive at Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

posted on October 27, 2010 in Corkscrew Swamp,Media


In an article in the Naples News, Shawn Liston at Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary writes about the importance of Crayfish in measuring success of Everglades restoration:

South Florida wetlands are home to two different crayfish species that look remarkably similar, and their presence or absence provides information about wetland types. “Everglades crayfish” are found primarily in short-hydroperiod wetlands (wetlands that dry for several months each year) while “slough crayfish” are found primarily in long hydroperiod wetlands (wetlands that remain wet for most of the year). Biologists can learn a lot about wetland hydrology from crayfish, and they serve as important indicators of wetland health and the success of Everglades restoration projects.

Governor Charlie Crist Endorses Audubon of Florida Chair’s Appointment to Gulf Restoration Task Force

posted on October 26, 2010 in Media

In a statement released yesterday afternoon, Governor Charlie Crist endorsed the selection of Audubon of Florida Chair John Hankinson to lead the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force.

Statement by Governor Charlie Crist:

“I am pleased to see the selection of John H. Hankinson Jr. as the executive director of the task force focused on restoring the Gulf after the oil spill. As a Floridian with many years of experience working on environmental issues, John understands the strong link between Florida’s economy and the Gulf, especially for our tourism and seafood industries. Nothing is more important to Florida’s future than cleaning up any oil that remains in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Audubon of Florida Chair Appointed to Lead Federal Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force

posted on October 25, 2010 in Gulf Oil Spill,Media

John HankinsonAudubon of Florida commended the appointment today of John H. Hankinson, Jr. as Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force.

Hankinson is currently the Chairman of the Audubon of Florida Board of Directors and has served on the board for the past five years. He is a veteran problem solver who has the skills to bring people together and a strong commitment to coastal conservation. Through Audubon, he provided important leadership on the organization’s effective response to the Gulf Oil Spill.

“John has worked with us through the spill and before to make a healthy and resilient Gulf Coast a priority,” Audubon’s Florida State Director Eric Draper said.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made the announcement today.

Orlando Sentinel: Two Views on Everglades Cleanup

posted on October 1, 2010 in Everglades,Media

Audubon of Florida Director of Advocacy Charles Lee was published as a guest columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, where he writes about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recent steps to push Everglades restoration forward.  Follow the link to the Orlando Sentinel to read the full article.

From the Orlando Sentinel:

EPA has clarified the need for construction of treatment areas necessary to meet the standard — an additional 42,000 acres — and has identified the most easily utilized lands for these facilities: property the state already owns, or has already committed to buy. Also, EPA has wisely offered Florida the opportunity to submit an alternative plan in which the state could reduce the number of acres of treatment area that would have to be constructed at public expense — by ordering the polluting sugar industry to spend its own money to clean up phosphorus on its own land.

POLL: Gulf Region Voters Far More Likely to Vote for Legislators Who Support Gulf Restoration Funding

posted on September 29, 2010 in Gulf Oil Spill,Media

Today, a coalition of major environmental, business, fishing, and anti-poverty groups dedicated to restoring the Gulf coast has published the results of a poll that measured voters in the region’s likeliness to elect legislators who support Gulf restoration funding.

In their press release, the coalition noted:

The poll by Democratic polling firm Lake Research Partners and GOP polling firm Bellwether Research and Consulting found that–regardless of political affiliation–voters across the Gulf region have a deep commitment to restoration and see it as key to the economic health of the region. In fact, majorities of Independents (67%), Democrats (82%) and Republicans (67%) said they are more likely to support federal legislators who will make new investments in restoration.

Additional key findings of the survey include:

  • More than three out of five voters (62%) in Gulf Coast states say they are less likely to vote for federal legislators who do not support funding Gulf restoration
  • Nearly nine out of 10 poll respondents (87%) across the five Gulf states agree that the environmental health of the Gulf Coast region affects their state’s economy very much or somewhat.
  • Nearly eight out of 10 poll respondents (78%) favor creation of a separate fund for the Gulf region and the Mississippi River Delta that includes penalty payments from BP for violating the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act.

Not surprisingly, over 80% of respondents in Florida said that their economic well being is directly linked to a healthy environment.  For more Florida specific results, click here.

Among the National Audubon Society, members of the coalition include, The Walton Family Foundation; Oxfam; Alabama Coastal Foundation; America’s WETLAND Foundation; Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana; Environmental Defense Fund; The Fishermen’s Alliance; Florida Wildlife Federation; Franklin County Seafood Dealers Association; Galveston Bay Foundation; Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholder’s Alliance; The Gulf Restoration Network; Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation; Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Foundation; Mobile Baykeeper; National Wildlife Federation; The Nature Conservancy; The Ocean Conservancy; Organized Fishermen of Florida; Reef Relief; Save our Gulf; and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

Herald: Foot-dragging over the Everglades

posted on September 27, 2010 in Everglades,Media,Water Issues

A federal judge has ordered Environmental Protection Agency coordinator Lisa Jackson to appear in a Miami courtroom regarding the lack of enforcement of water quality standards in the Everglades.  The federal government’s slow, or non-existent response to the judicial process has prompted Judge Alan Gold to threaten holding EPA officials in contempt of the court.

From The Herald:

Frustrated with the persistent delays, the judge on April 14 ordered the officials to appear in his courtroom to explain why the legally mandated standard on water quality of the Everglades has not been met.

That was more than five months ago, yet last week Ms. Jackson said she couldn’t be present because she’s on a very important mission to Asia that starts on Oct. 8 and just can’t make the time. The court was not impressed. Neither are we.

Federal Everglades Report should be Stronger on Water Quality

posted on September 24, 2010 in Everglades,Media

Florida Audubon and Everglades advocates analyzed the National Academy of Sciences report, Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades: The Third Biennial Review–2010, released this week and believe it should have made a stronger call for pollution controls to improve water quality in the system.  The report also acknowledged the progress of Audubon endorsed projects such as bridging Tamiami Trail and the urgency of the state purchase of U.S. Sugar lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area, south of Lake Okeechobee.

Executive Director Eric Draper in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

Eric Draper, of Audubon of Florida, credited the report for giving an “endorsement” to the U.S. Sugar deal.

But Draper said it was “disappointing” that the report didn’t make a stronger call for imposing more water pollution prevention requirements on the agricultural operations that pass along much of the phosphorus that is washing off farmland and overloading the Everglades.

“We’re not requiring sugar cane farmers to do everything they can … to control pollution that is coming off their land,” Draper said.

You can find further coverage, including additional responses from Audubon of Florida staff, at the Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald and the New York Times.

Download the report briefing or read the document online.

Rare Cuban pewee sighted at Everglades National Park

posted on September 12, 2010 in Birding,Birds in the News,Everglades,Media,Wildlife

A rare Cuban peewee was sighted near the Long Pine Key picnic area in Everglades National Park this week. Photos and recordings of the peewee’s distinctive song are  being reviewed by the Florida Ornithological Society to confirm that this tiny member of the flycatcher family is a Cuban peewee.  If so, it is the first confirmed sighting of this bird in the Park and the third in the country.

Read about it and see the picture taken by Larry Manfredi in the Naples Daily News and the Miami Herald.

Experience the Everglades at the American Museum of Natural History!

posted on June 10, 2010 in Everglades,Media,Wildlife

Audubon of Florida to Bring the Everglades to the American Museum of Natural History

For Immediate Release

Contacts: Dr. Shawn Liston,, 239-354-4469

Megan Tinsley,, 786-295-4954

June 10, 2010, New York, NY—Audubon of Florida experts will bring the Everglades alive for children and families at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City on Sunday June 13 with interactive presentations about one of America’s most unique ecosystems.

Shawn Liston, Ph.D., Florida Audubon’s Research Manager for the Southwest Region, and Megan Tinsley, Audubon’s Everglades Policy Associate, will be featured in the Museum’s Milstein Science Sundays: Restoring the Everglades.  The program will be held between 12 noon and 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 13th in the Museum’s Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, NY 10024. (Visit for directions and additional information). Shawn and Megan will be accompanied by Dr. William Loftus, an ecologist who has worked in the Everglades for more than 30 years, and Jarod Miller, a zoologist and television personality.

Children will learn about the Everglades through the story of two raindrops as they travel southward through the Everglades, along the way learning about this unique natural system and the birds and other wildlife that depend on a healthy ecosystem to survive.  Many important plant and animal species will be introduced throughout this journey, including Everglades Snail Kites in the Lake Okeechobee watershed, wading birds, such as the White Ibis, and alligators in the River of Grass, the Florida panther and Wood Stork in the Big Cypress Swamp, and the charismatic Roseate Spoonbill in Florida Bay.

As the raindrops travel through the Everglades, the audience will see some of the current threats to this fragile ecosystem, including increased development and human demand for water and flood protection, poor water quality, spread of non-native species, and climate change.  They’ll learn about the incredible efforts being made to protect this invaluable environmental resource and how they can help to make a difference.

Hands-on activities will allow children to make frogs from recycled corks, color images of various Everglades animals and habitats, and ‘forage’ like wading birds to learn the importance of concentrated prey.  Young people will also meet several live animals found in the Everglades, including an alligator, a Burmese python and a young Florida panther, and see aquariums of native and non-native Everglades fish.


Oil Spill Alert: Help Protect Florida’s Beaches and Fragile Shorebirds

NOAA Cumulative Oil Trajectory Map

Step Lightly on Florida Beaches

Well-motivated but not well informed volunteers sent out to clean debris from beaches may be disturbing nesting and other shorebirds.  Volunteers eager to move beach litter above the high water line to make it easier to clean up oil that may come ashore are putting beach and marsh nesting birds at risk.

Some people are moving beach debris such as driftwood from the beach onto high-water areas.  This is harmful as beach wildlife use naturally occurring beach debris near the water line and may be harmed when debris is piled in upland areas on or near their well camouflaged nests.  Traffic in dune areas can also harm vegetation.

Safe Tips for Cleaning Litter off Beaches:

For those who want to clean litter from the beaches in anticipation of oil coming ashore, Audubon recommends the following:

  • Use approved access points and avoid walking or hiking through marshes or seagrass beds.
  • Stay below the tidal line.
  • Leave natural debris in place because it provides nesting benefits to shorebirds and other wildlife.
  • Only remove man-made litter.
  • Do not place litter in the dunes or above the high water line.
  • Don’t use equipment such as rakes, shovels or tractors.
  • Do not bring ATVs or other motorized vehicles onto the beach.
  • Do not bring dogs onto the beach (dogs are a primary sources of beach bird disturbance and mortality.)
  • Respect posted areas and leave signs, posts and twine in place to protect beach nesting bird colonies.

You can take action in many ways:

1. Volunteer to rescue injured birds and to clean oil off Florida’s beaches and other coastal areas.
2. Sign the petition opposing state and federal plans to expand oil drilling in Florida’s water.
3. Contribute to our special fund to rescue birds injured by the oil spill and underwrite advocacy so this never happens again.
4. Recruit your friends and family to join Audubon’s response efforts.

Red Knot courtesy of Rod Wiley

Send us your photos and video of local habitats and wildlife

Audubon of Florida is urging everyone to step lightly on our beaches and follow safety tips if you are engaged in beach clean up activities.

You can also help by taking pictures and videos of the habitats and wildlife in your local communities. This local knowledge could become very useful as the oil spill evolves.
Follow these guidelines when documenting your coastal areas and wildlife and to send images to Audubon of Florida:

When photographing or filming

  • Follow all Audubon safe tips for beach cleaning.
  • Keep your distance from nesting grounds, marked areas, and resting birds. Do not flush birds.
  • Use long range zooms to capture close up images.

Send your images, video or a notification of their availability to

  • Identify the time, day, date and location that the image was taken, and use GPS coordinates if possible.
  • Identify and clearly spell the name of the photographer/videographer and provide contact information, email, telephone and address.
  • Clearly state whether Audubon may have the rights to reprint, publish in print and electronic vehicles, and share your images, providing proper credit.
  • For large photo or video files, notify us at that images are available and we will contact you with instructions for uploading them.

Note that Florida Audubon does not have a budget to pay for images but provides photo credit to the photographer/videographer.

Additional Resources

Click Here for Florida updates from the Department of Environmental Protection.

Click Here for the most updated National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration maps on the oil spill’s trajectory.

Click Here to visit the Deepwater Horizon central command.

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