Florida is now the third most populated state in the union, and Southwest Florida is experiencing much of that growth directly. Development has led to isolated and reduced wildlife populations in Florida.
These limited and fragmented populations may lead to inbreeding which can make for less healthy individuals, disease, and further impacted populations. This may also keep wildlife from performing their natural and necessary behaviors, such as feeding or reproduction.
To avoid losing the diversity and species that make our part of the world so unique, the Conservancy diligently works with decisionmakers, and directly with developers if possible, to eliminate and minimize the negative impacts of land use changes on wildlife.
Listed species and their habitats throughout Southwest Florida may be threatened by continued residential and commercial development, particularly in our eastern lands.
Major development in eastern Collier County – a core panther habitat area - is particularly concerning, as there is a proposal to allow 45,000 acres of intense development (including a large new town) and mining, in addition to oil and gas exploration.
Additionally, limestone and sand mining propose to eliminate hundreds, and sometimes thousands of acres of habitats. Oil and gas exploration and drilling also pose a risk to wildlife. Aquatic species or wildlife that depends on wetlands for part of their life cycle may be harmed by poor water quality , pollutants, or changes in the amount of available water.
Habitat impacts can also have severe indirect effects; lighting, noise, vibration, or other disturbance factors can cause wildlife to avoid otherwise good habitat areas.
Increasing development, mining, and other intensive uses necessitate the protection of adequate amounts of good quality habitats.
Wildlife has an opportunity to flourish on lands that are no longer available for future development or are in public ownership. As such, the Conservancy has been supportive of local and state land acquisition programs, and was a champion of the Amendment 1 Land and Water Legacy Initiative.
Roadways not only have a direct impact on wildlife through loss of habitat, but can also result in wildlife being killed or in fragmenting habitat. Widened roads and increased traffic exacerbate these issues. Roadkill mortalities, particularly for those species with large home ranges such as the Florida panther, may be a significant threat.
In planning for future development and transportation systems, the Conservancy advocates for important habitat areas to be avoided and habitat corridors, which provide connection across the landscape and encourage safe movement of wildlife from one area to another, to be retained or restored.
In order to help wildlife cross roads that dissect wildlife habitat, the Conservancy also seeks properly sized and located wildlife crossings to be included in transportation and development plans.
The Conservancy advocates for species protection laws and management plans to be based on the best available science and to ensure continued viability of the species. We oppose premature proposals to weaken or remove state and federal protections for listed species.
The Conservancy meets regularly with wildlife agency officials to share thoughts and concerns about dozens of issues facing southwest Florida’s protected species.
Many citizens enjoy knowing we share our planet with unique wildlife species that are a part of our natural environment. Each species has an irreplaceable role in its ecosystem.
In Florida, wildlife tourism generates over $8 billion in spending, provides over 280,000 jobs, and produces $1 billion in tax revenue every year.
Florida’s expanding population and increased development into wildlife habitat have left wildlife populations with limited space to live in and forced them into closer quarters with humans. In addition to protecting adequate amounts of habitat where wildlife can live a natural life, we also work to reduce human-wildlife conflicts.
Loss of habitat, combined with unsecured trash or an easy meal, can attract wildlife into neighborhoods.
The Conservancy is working to improve coexistence with citizen education and reduction of wildlife attractants. Learn more about the Conservancy’s Florida Panther Compensation Program.
See Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Living with Wildlife tips at: http://myfwc.com/conservation/you-conserve/wildlife/
The Conservancy works on issues regarding any number of Southwest Florida species from red-cockaded woodpeckers to smalltooth sawfish, burrowing owls to eastern indigo snakes, and beyond.
Click on the pictures below to learn more about these species and what the Conservancy is doing to protect them.
Fertilizers placed on your lawn to make the grasses grow can have the same effect on algae species in our waterways – help them grow. The resulting blooms can kill fish and other aquatic organisms.
With only about 100-180 Florida panthers remaining, the Conservancy advocates that development projects avoid impacting any panther habitat, or that officials take steps to minimize any impact.
The Conservancy hopes to achieve continued viability of our natural environment and quality of life through growth management and land use planning.
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida urges decisionmakers to increase the habitat available for bear subpopulations, especially habitat that connects subpopulations to each other.
To promote better water management, the Conservancy works with stakeholders and decision-makers to ensure that stringent water management tools and best practices are in place and utilized.
The manatee population in Southwest Florida is very vulnerable. The Conservancy advocates against attempts to downlist the Florida manatee under the Endangered Species Act.
1495 Smith Preserve Way Naples, Florida 34102
Monday - Sunday 9:30 am - 4:30 pm (ET)
239-262-0304 phone 239-262-0672 fax
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