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Wildlife refuges and parks hit by Hurricane Ian


    One in every of Florida’s hottest birding locations faces an “immense” cleanup after Hurricane Ian. J.N. “Ding” Darling Nationwide Wildlife Refuge sits on Sanibel Island, which took a direct hit from the hurricane.

    The refuge says on its Fb web page that state and federal companies are within the midst of “immense rescue and cleanup efforts on Sanibel Island. It’s exhausting to imagine the extent of devastation that we’re seeing out right here.”

    Pictures from the refuge present downed powerlines, a ship tossed onto a dock, and barren timber. The refuge is closed as a result of the storm washed away a part of the causeway that connects Sanibel to the mainland. This Washington Publish story makes it clear that rebuilding the causeway will probably be an infinite job and that the dearth of primary companies on the island have made it principally uninhabitable.

    The “Ding” Darling refuge workplace, customer heart, everlasting quarters, and different buildings suffered in depth harm. The Fish and Wildlife Service is beginning a proper harm evaluation on Tuesday.

    An FWS spokesperson says the company’s “precedence continues to be serving to the group and first responders in addition to safety of refuge amenities. It’s going to take important time to find out habitat damages.” There isn’t a estimate as to when the refuge will reopen.

    Hurricanes Fiona and Ian additionally broken different nationwide wildlife refuges within the Caribbean, Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. Harm assessments at these websites are usually not full.

    Chuck Larsen, half proprietor and photographer for the Santiva Chronicle, informed the Publish: “In the intervening time, it appears to be like like nothing you’ll keep in mind in case you had ever visited Sanibel. It’s devastated.” View Larsen’s pictures right here.

    Reporter Eileen Kelley of public-radio station WGCU informed NPR on Friday: “I don’t know if there’s even a hen that’s going to be alive right here. I’ve been speaking to individuals, and so they’re saying that they’re gone, that there’s — you don’t even hear a hen chirping anymore.” The refuge has not given an replace on the standing of the native birdlife.

    Kelley additionally lamented the devastation in close by Fort Myers Seaside and famous that water within the space is black as a result of it’s polluted with gasoline and oil from boats that “are simply stacked up on high of one another, virtually like throw cube on a desk. They’re on land. They’re the other way up.”

    The employees of a wildlife rehabilitation nonprofit on Sanibel, CROW-Clinic for the Rehabilitation for Wildlife Inc., had evacuated the island earlier than Ian hit. On Sunday, CROW stated aerial photographs confirmed that its buildings stay standing, however employees members haven’t been capable of return to evaluate damages. They’re requesting donations as they make alternate plans for wildlife care.

    A number of different parks and refuges, together with many nice birdwatching websites, sustained harm that required momentary or partial closures. Right here’s what we all know to date. We might replace this story as issues change.

    The hurricane hit Dry Tortugas Nationwide Park, positioned on islands west of the Florida Keys, on the night time of September 27. The park partially reopened to the general public on Sunday, October 2. Sea aircraft excursions have resumed. Nonetheless, the docks on Loggerhead and Backyard Keys are broken, so the ferry and personal vessels will be unable to entry the docks till important repairs are made.

    A park ranger drives by a waterlogged street to evaluate flooding close to Flamingo in Everglades Nationwide Park. NPS Picture

    Everglades Nationwide Park closed earlier than the storm hit, however it’s now principally reopened. These Everglades areas stay closed:

    • Gulf Coast Customer Middle and Everglades Metropolis entrance
    • Flamingo campground
    • Lengthy Pine Key campground (closed seasonally)
    • Wilderness tenting

    The Nationwide Park Service gave this recommendation, which appears relevant to guests not solely to nationwide parks however different properties as properly: “Guests ought to train warning due to the potential for unidentified hazards on land and in park waters.”

    Large Cypress Nationwide Protect stays closed to the general public at the moment whereas harm assessments are underway. Biscayne Nationwide Park reopened to the general public on September 30 and stays open.

    Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, within the hard-hit Naples space, reported on social media that its boardwalk and nature heart “didn’t endure catastrophic harm.” The ability was closed whereas employees targeted on cleanup, and on Monday, October 3, the sanctuary introduced that it’ll reopen on Saturday, October 8. Reservations have to be made on-line.

    Greater than 40 Florida state parks have been affected by the storm. Examine the web sites for particular person parks for the newest updates.

    For instance, three areas inside Fakahatchee Strand Protect State Park, the state’s largest state park, are closed: Large Cypress Bend Board, East River, and Janes Scenic Drive. The Jones Grade lakes space is open.

    Different closed parks embrace Myakka River State Park and Charlotte Harbor Protect State Park.

    Story up to date Tuesday, October 4, at 5:45 Japanese time to mirror extra particulars from the Darling refuge and FWS. 

    When you have updates on refuges or park closures or impacts to hen species from Hurricane Ian, please tell us at [email protected].

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