Managing land and species to keep the islands wild

The Wildlife & Habitat Management Program (WHMP) involves two main areas: habitat management and wildlife biology/ecology. The department consists of both field technicians and biologists who work together to maintain SCCF habitat and research the organisms that live on them. 

Native wildlife habitats on Sanibel and Captiva have been altered or “disturbed” in many ways by the presence of humans. To accommodate human development, canals have been dredged, wetlands have been drained, habitats have been destroyed and fragmented with the development of roads, natural fire regimes have been suppressed, and exotic plants and animals have been introduced to Sanibel and Captiva. These disturbances to the natural system have permanantly changed the complexion and ecological function of our remaining conservation areas. 

The WHMP's restoration activities seek to return as much natural function to the interior freshwater wetland exosystem as possible for the benefit of native wildlife. Our work includes removing Brazillian Pepper and other invasive exotics from our approximately 2,000 acres of land, implementing prescribed fire, educating the community, conducting research, and more. 

Mission and Strategies

  • Enhance the ecological integrity of island habitats and quality of surrounding waters through responsible stewardship.
  • Implement a land-management program on SCCF land that can serve as a model for effective stewardship.
  • Facilitate effective stewardship of private lands to support wildlife habitat.
  • Work with government agencies, businesses, and private individuals to develop an integrated management approach to lands on the islands – both developed and undeveloped.
  • Conduct directed research on resource management issues affecting the integrity and sustainability of the Charlotte Harbor Estuarine System, including coastal habitats.
  • Positively influence public officials, resource managers, and regulatory officials in making decisions affecting the Charlotte Harbor Estuarine System through the collection and dissemination of scientific knowledge and data.