New Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Marine Lab Construction to Begin Soon
A working partnership with J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge has afforded SCCF with the opportunity to build a state-of-the-art marine laboratory on Sanibel. The ground breaking for the facility has tentatively been set within the next two weeks when the pilings for the base structure begin.
Florida Fish and Wildlife is working directly with the contractor, Hollon Contracting, from Alabama, for SCCF's marine lab.
"The refuge has provided this space at no cost," Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Marine Laboratory Director Eric Milbrandt said of the Tarpon Bay Road building they currently occupy. "We share the parking lot with Tarpon Bay Explorers that has allowed us to launch boats. With grant money we have had the opportunity to do a lot of sampling in the refuge for water quality, habitat quality, over the years."
One of the special projects SCCF has conducted at the refuge is placing high frequency sampling instruments on Wildlife Drive, so they can understand water levels, salinities and how it is affected by the discharges and runoff from the Caloosahatchee River.
"Out of that sprung this wonderful offer from the federal government to help us with a new facility. They were the primary funding partner. They are contributing about a million dollars to build the base building. They offered it to us as a marine lab if we would supply enough money to make it a lab," Milbrandt said. "We agreed and raised $400,000 and gave it to the federal government."