| Collier County Proposal to Expand Mosquito Spraying Threatens Western Everglades and its Food Web|
| This summer, the Collier County Mosquito Control District moved forward with a proposal to expand the boundary of their operations into new areas. This expansion would include vast areas of conservation lands, including aspects of Rookery Bay National Estuarine Reserve, Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Collier Seminole State Park, and all of Picayune Strand State Forest – a high profile Everglades Restoration project.|
Mosquito control methods rely heavily on pesticides, which can have cascading ecological impacts. Mosquito larvae are ecologically important on conservation lands, acting as a food source for fish, amphibians, and reptiles. Unfortunately, spraying would not only impact mosquitos, but would likely also impact other insects which serve as the base of the food web for wading birds, bats, fish, reptiles, and other important species. In fact, research from Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary has shown that moths in the area are the primary pollinators of the endangered ghost orchid.
Audubon Florida is collaborating with the Florida Wildlife Federation, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the South Florida Water Management District to reach a solution that would address protecting public health from mosquito borne illness while also protecting public conservation lands and the species that rely on these wild places.