PALMETTO BAY, FL — Today, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced a $2 million commitment to restoring Cape Sable, a vast wilderness area west of Flamingo bordering Florida Bay in Everglades National Park. The funding is being awarded in response to a proposal spearheaded by the Everglades Foundation and in recognition of critical environmental restoration efforts around the Gulf of Mexico.
Known for its pristine beaches and world-class fishing, Cape Sable is also one of the most important wintering shorebird refuges in North America, and it provides essential nesting habitat for sea turtles and the American crocodile. The interior wetlands of Cape Sable nurture small fish that are vital to numerous wading bird species, including the Roseate spoonbill and gamefish species like snook, tarpon and redfish.
Since the 1920s, Cape Sable has been threatened by man-made canals that have drained interior marshes. Today, these canals are eroding with storm surge and sea level rise, leading to enhanced saltwater intrusion and the collapse of freshwater marshes.
Repairing or replacing dams in these canals is necessary to ensure Everglades National Park’s resilience against sea level rise; and the project is critical to safeguarding water quality and Gulf fisheries that are important to Monroe County’s tourism-based economy.
“Cape Sable has suffered enormously, and the damage threatens the health of Florida Bay. We are delighted NFWF has made restoring this vital part of America’s Everglades a priority,” said Dr. Thomas Van Lent, Everglades Foundation’s Director of Science and Policy.