Thursday, December 9, 2021

Beach News and Shorebird Update

Photos by Maria Lamb
| Thanks to all our volunteers for the March 13 Love Your Beach Clean-Up. Thanks to America’s Boating Club (Power Squadron), Wesley United Methodist Church and its youth group and all the amazing residents, their friends and family members.


Thanks to Marco Island America’s Boating Club (also known as Marco Island Sail and Power Squadron) and their members for sponsoring Saturday’s Beach Clean-up at South Beach. This is an educational and social organization promoting watercraft skills and safety. Also, a big thanks to Wesley United Methodist Church members and their youth group, and all the volunteers who collected about 60 pounds of trash in two hours.

Photos by Maria Lamb
| Marco Island’s America’s Boating Club – thanks for “Loving your Beach”.

A big thanks to John Lafakis from Public Works who happened to have a shovel handy and filled in a very deep hole.

Blue plastic straws were found on the beach and it was a concern as single use plastic straws are not allowed on Marco’s Beaches. Bob Eastman of the Beach Advisory Committee took them home and conducted a hot water test. The straws were made from naturally biodegradable polymers and are the newer compostable model. 

Multi-story garage on South Beach? Residents are concerned with the news of a proposed multi-story garage being contemplated for the County’s South Beach parking lot. That would mean more trash and its negative impact on wildlife.

Shorebird Update: According to Brittany Piersma, a shorebird biologist from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), many of the birds in our migratory flocks on the beach are beginning to exhibit breeding plumage. They are fueling up and resting before the nesting season. It is a critical time to avoid causing excess disturbance to these birds since some must migrate all the way back to the Arctic! Wilson’s Plovers are already breeding and will begin nesting soon on Sand Dollar. The Least Terns will soon return, and the Black Skimmers typically nest last of the three species on Sand Dollar Island.

Remember the summer of 2018 when dying and sick Terns began falling from the sky? Tissue samples were sent off for analysis. According to Dr. Marianne Korosy, of Audubon, Florida, the test confirmed that Red Tide weakened the immune system of the terns creating an opportunity for additional infection by BISGAARD-40 Bacteria. She cautioned that we have not seen any evidence of that bacteria since 2018.



There were massive die offs of Black Skimmer chicks on Sand Dollar Island last summer. Mystery illness was identified by FWC as bacterial dermatitis, tendinitis and osteomyelitis caused by five bacteria: Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus, Serratia marcescens, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Lead biologist called for more testing on the surrounding water bodies to determine the source.

Photos by Maria Lamb
| Thanks to John Lafakis from Marco Island Public Works for filling a very deep hole.

According to Dr. Korosy, “we need to make sure it is clear that the bacteria BISGAARD 40 that was found in the Common and Least Terns in the fall of 2018 is a different pathogen than the one that affected the Black Skimmer chicks last summer.”

Will it happen again? According to Korosy, it is very difficult to link pathogens with bird die-off events unless the water and the birds are tested simultaneously. According to FWC staff, this test can cost upwards of $5,000 per sample.

Good News for Tigertail Lagoon. The County has awarded a three-year contract to SSG Recreation from Orlando. It was reported that a Golf Cart Shuttle Service will be offered from the concession hut to the beach and back. Reaching out to Barry Williams, Director of Parks and Recreation of Collier County, he confirmed that concessionaire had discussed the idea of a Golf Cart Shuttle Service. 

Also, City of Marco Island Growth Management staff confirmed that a Vehicle on the Beach permit will be needed for the proposed activity. They are also concerned with traffic on the beach and its impact during sea turtle season.

According to FWC Regional Biologist, Ricardo Zambrano, “if the golf cart shuttle plans to go onto Sand Dollar Island’s Critical Wildlife Area then FWC will want to comment.”

Oh my – a multi-story garage on South Beach and golf cart shuttle service from Tigertail Lagoon to the Gulf using Marco’s beach – is the County going to pick up all that trash on the beach left behind by the day trippers?

Please Save the Date: Saturday, March 27th at 8 AM to 10 AM at South Beach. Sponsored by Marco Island Water Sports.



One response to “Beach News and Shorebird Update”

  1. David noland says:

    While a beach shuttle for Tigertail beach is a good idea and necessary for the over 1 mile walk to the shoreline, what’s really needed is a footbridge to be built across the lagoon. It’s not safe to be wading through the murky waters and a bridge like has been build from the parking lot to the lagoon would create a world class destination that all could use.

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