Assessing ecosystem health in Rookery Bay Reserve, Florida

Mangroves and oyster reefsCaroline Wicks, Alex Fries, and Brianne Walsh from IAN traveled to Naples, Florida, to conduct a two-day workshop on the development of a local report card. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection works with the reserve and volunteers to monitor water quality and biotic conditions in Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve to assess ecological health. The reserve is in South Florida and flows into the Gulf of Mexico. IAN is helping to develop a report card for the reserve which includes a wide area from Naples in the north, around Marco Island, to the Ten Thousand Islands in the south. The reserve is a unique area that includes 110,000 acres of mangrove forest, uplands, and protected waters of Rookery Bay, providing habitat for wildlife including 150 species of birds and many threatened and endangered animals such as sea turtles, fish, manatees, and panthers.