SS U C C E S S E S
On behalf of Audubon of Southwest Florida, the Board thanks all our members and friends who in the past year have voted, emailed, attended hearings, and very loudly and clearly supported the creation of good conservation policy and actions by our local and state governments! Your dedication, efforts, and the work of ASWF volunteers like our Shorebird Stewards and colleagues have brought home three important conservation wins this past year.
CREW Headwaters, a proposed new Florida Forever Project, was approved by the Florida Acquisition and Restoration Council (ARC) on October 21 in Tallahassee. Audubon of the Western Everglades staff, in collaboration with CREW Trust, Audubon's Corkscrew Sanctuary, Audubon of Southwest Florida, and many supporters were successful in adding the 2,800 acre project to the the larger CREW Project in order to restore wetlands and water quality on thousands of acres in Corkscrew Swamp's watershed.
Lee County’s Conservation 20/20 Program was voted to continue by almost 84% of Lee voters on November 8. That is the highest margin of victory nationwide among over 90 such conservation land referenda this year. If you voted in favor, thank you for sending the ultimate and loudest message possible about how important conservation is in Lee County. ASWF members also funded and worked hard on this campaign. In a fitting start, 20/20 staff are now negotiating to buy a 578 acre farm to restore within the new CREW Headwaters Florida Forever Project!
18 New and Revised Critical Wildlife Areas (CWAs) were approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on November 16! ASWF members, Shorebird Stewards, and many friends acted to support the six new CWAs in Pine Island Sound and Estero Bay when Lee County was on the verge of objecting. Your passionate and quick emails to both Lee County Board of Commissioners and the FWC Commissioners, as well as testimony at four public hearings, rescued these CWAs. Lee County did not object, and FWC voted unanimously to approve these 18 CWAs! Roosting and nesting coastal wading birds, such as highly imperiled wood storks, roseate spoonbills, and reddish egrets, will benefit from these new closed buffers around their rookery islands.
The dice don’t often roll this way for conservation, but certainly not because most people don’t support it. What’s the secret this time? Public involvement and support! Your clear voice, membership in a conservation organizations like Audubon of Southwest Florida, and financial support brought the victories. Let’s move on to our next wins, like funding Florida Forever, buying 20/20 lands like the farm in the CREW Project, and restoring the greater Everglades!
A D V O C A C Y
Below are links to governmental bodies and agencies and conservation advocacy groups so that you may have easy access to stay informed and to voice your concerns regarding local conservation issues.