Thought I would reply(at risk of a serious taunting) to the assertion that
Eagle Lakes Park of Collier County is a dying wetland. These "natural" ponds
were created in 1998 for use as a treated effluent storage site. The South
County Water Treatment Plant pumps excess treated water to the ponds to
percolate back into the aquifer at a rate of over 1 million gallons per day.
Collier County stops pumping water into the site each spring to simulate a
"natural" dry season before arrival of the summer rains.
There is no denying that primary successional processes are taking place.
The water pumped into the site is extremely nutrient rich and the vegetation
has expanded very rapidly. As has been documented in similar wetland habitat
creation and restoration projects, species usage does change to favor a
swamp/marsh community away from the initial open water lake community.
Species usage, habitat diversity, and water levels are monitored twice per
month as part of the permit requirements for the storage ponds. This winter
there were no less than 4 American bitterns, many soras, wood ducks,
shovelers, gadwall, BWT teal, AM Widgeon, Ruddy, ring-necked, L Scaup, and
mottled duck and 11 species of raptors counting the vultures. I look
forward to years of birding opportunities at these ponds. Additionally, I
would be interested to know the dates anyone had seen bufflehead,
canvasback, or redhead at the site.
p.s. If you ever see dogs in the park please notify a park ranger as they
are prohibited in the County Parks.
Fort Myers Beach, FL
[log in to unmask]
From: Florida Birds [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
Sent: Friday, March 16, 2001 12:18 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [FLORIDABIRDS-L] Birding 3/15/01 & A Dirge for a Dying Wetland
We next stopped at the mitigation ponds at Eagle Lakes Park in Naples (1
mile north on US Rte. 41 from the intersection of C.R. 951 & US Rte. 41).
The ponds (at least the one that traditionally has held the most wading
birds etc.) are dying. Tragically, this drought has been their demise.
Human neglect and abuse has not helped either. Hundreds of egrets and
herons, Blue-winged Teal, Mottled Ducks, Wood Storks, Common Moorhen,
Purple Gallinules etc. etc. are desperately ekeing out an existence on
what is left of the wetlands. Alligators are all clustered in the
remaining pools. Succession has taken over to the point where there isn't
that much open water to begin with. The adjacent Lely Resort & Golf Club
has basically eradicated all surrounding vegetation (much of which is
exotic anyway). While we were there, a pack of 3 dogs (with collars and
license tags) were playing a "game" of running through the feeding flocks
of waders and ducks trying to catch them. This sent the flocks
scattering. Great "clouds" of birds would take flight with each foray by
the dogs. I guess I could say something about irresponsible pet owners
but that might be "off-topic." The only birds seen which appear to be
thriving were the myriad vultures which circled overhead.
In its heyday, Eagle Lakes Park has seen some uncommon birds for Collier
County like both bitterns, Wood Duck, Bufflehead, Canvasback, Redhead,
Merlin, Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon etc. etc. I for one, shall miss it
deeply. For me, it epitomizes what once was the best in "natural" SW