Discover the Island celebrating October 23-24!

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Come out to the Egmont Key to discover the island! For details see link.


Dedicated Volunteers: 2021 Kiosk Renovations

Maximo Park Kiosk Updates

Our team of Friend Volunteer completed updates to the Kiosks at Maximo Park in September.

Patrick and Dave refurbishing the kiosk.

Rick, Dave K and Patrick replace plexiglass.

Finished!

Thanks Dave H, Dave K, Edie, Rick  and Patrick for your dedication!

Guardhouse Kiosk Update

Volunteers and staff are busy renovating the six Tampa Bay National Wildlife Refuges interpretive kiosks this summer and fall.

First up was the kiosk at the Egmont Key Guardhouse.

Minor repairs, a coat of stain and new plexiglass are giving these kiosks a fresh look.

Fort De Soto Interpretive Kiosks

Next on the list was the Ft. DeSoto kiosks. In late July, Friends volunteers and USFWS staff finished up renovating the two interpretive kiosks at Fort DeSoto  (FDS) – one at the FDS boat ramp and the other at the Bay Pier. They are looking good! These kiosks are important, as they are two of the most accessible places visitors can get information regarding Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge. Upcoming kiosk renovation work will be at Maximo Park boat ramp and Anna Maria Island.

Thank you, Friends volunteers, and USFWS staff for your efforts!


Good News

The Little Bird Key (part of the Pinellas National Wildlife Refuge) shoreline stabilization project was awarded

the 2018/19 Golden Mangrove Award from the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.

The project was completed in 2019 and was a partnership with US Fish and Wildlife, Friends of the Tampa Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Tampa Bay Watch, and the Tampa Bay Estuary Program. The award is presented to the most outstanding Bay Mini-Grant Project for each grant cycle. The Little Bird Key Shoreline Stabilization Project was selected as the winner from all the completed Bay Mini-Grant projects for the 2018/2019. The selection was delayed due to the pandemic, but the results were worth waiting for!

The project included the installation of 500 concrete oyster reef balls to stem the erosion of the Little Bird Key shoreline and loss of mangroves from recreational boat waking. The design and installation of the project was led by Tampa Bay Watch staff and volunteers. We are proud to be a part of protecting our Tampa Bay natural resources.


Status of Egmont Key Refuge Update After Tropical Storm Elsa

Overall Egmont Key fared well through Tropical Storm Elsa. There was minor flooding. State and Federal staff worked together to get vehicles to higher ground prior to the storm. The golf carts and ATV’s are brought up on the porch of the Guardhouse for that few extra feet of elevation.

There were 108 sea turtle nests prior to the storm. State Park staff has completed a survey since the storm. The stakes and signs are down in all eight zones for the nesting so the survey may have some surprises later from nests not found.

There were 39 nests that washed out and there were 14 nests that were washed over with salt water. Sometimes the eggs survive and go on to hatch depending on the length of time they were submerged.

One nest has hatched prior to the storm and more nests are being laid each day.

The Black Skimmer colony picked a great spot on the NW corner of Egmont. They were able to get up higher with their chicks during the storm. Some smaller chicks are still up top but the older chicks are back on the beach again enjoying the water’s edge.

Three baby pelicans were born right before the storm and also survived. They hung on tight to make it through the wind!

Terns and gulls on the south tip of the island had some higher ground and did well. The terns tend to nest in higher grasses than the beach so they had some room to spare.

(Thanks Nancy Whitford for the report!)

Stan Garner, Refuge manager, let us know that Pinellas Refuges look good and that Passage Key did ok with only a few of the signs down.


Check out the 2021 Spring Issue of the Friends Newsletter.

Stories featured:

  • Volunteering in a Covid-19 Year
  • Egmont Key Bird Sanctuary Boat Tour
  • Notes from Egmont Key
  • Adopt a Nest: Egmont Key Sea Turtle Survival Program