Mangrove systems are often called “nature’s nurseries” because they provide habitat and shelter for a variety of animals. They also serve as an indicator of the health of our coastal waterways.
Mangroves live life on the edge and provide a variety of natural “services” to wildlife and people. In addition to sheltering us from storms, mangroves provide valuable nutrients to support local food webs and provide habitat and shelter for a variety of life.
In Florida, almost 200 species of birds, along with numerous species of reptiles, amphibians, mammals and insects rely on mangrove habitat. Approximately 75 percent of commercially caught local fish and prawns, at some point in their lives, utilize mangrove systems.
In 1982, following negotiations between WCI and Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Pelican Bay gave Collier County 570 acres of beaches, mangroves and open water.
That area now includes the Clam Bay Natural Resources Protection Area and Clam Pass Park, which the public now enjoys. Conservancy volunteers conduct free nature walks for thousands of residents and visitors each year at Clam Pass Park – exploring some of the most diverse flora and fauna in Southwest Florida!
While care was taken to protect the mangrove-rich area, by 1991, approximately 14 acres of black mangroves died.
By 1995, a massive die-off of black mangroves (49 acres adjacent to the original 1991 dieback), had extended along the western shore of Upper Clam Bay. Pelican Bay residents, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Collier County and WCI Communities banded together to find a solution and ultimately helped restore the forest.
To this day, Conservancy of Southwest Florida continues to work with Pelican Bay residents and Collier County to advise on mangrove protection and restoration, as well as providing guidance on dredging in Clam Pass.
While natural changes to Clam Pass from shifting currents, wind, waves and storms contribute to the Pass filling in, the Conservancy advises utilizing the “Three L’s:” dredge the least amount of sand, the least number of times, for the least cost, and only when the water exchange between the Gulf and the Clam Bay system is reduced to the point where the health of Clam Bay waterways and the mangrove forest are at risk.
1495 Smith Preserve Way Naples, Florida 34102
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239-262-0304 phone 239-262-0672 fax
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