Cape Romano - Ten Thousand Islands Aquatic Preserve Segment - Transcript
Clyde Butcher and Elam Stoltzfus stop to experience Cape Romano – Ten Thousand Islands Aquatic Preserve.
This subtropical gem is located at the northern end of the Ten Thousand Islands on the Gulf coast of
Florida. The Cape Romano – Ten Thousand Islands Aquatic Preserve represents one of the few remaining
undisturbed mangrove estuaries in North America. An amazing wilderness habitat world exists in the
network of pristine mangrove forests, coastal shorelines, rivers and lagoons.
Ten Thousand Islands is one of Florida's undiscovered wild places. Only a few people are adventurous
enough to explore the rugged, subtropical landscape - one of the last natural landscapes in this country
to be inhabited by humans. Gary Lytton oversees the management of Cape Romano – Ten Thousand Islands and
fosters partnerships for stewardship of the area with the local community for his role as the manager of
the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.
And our mission is to provide a basis for informed decisions through research and education. What we're
really doing is promoting informed stewardship. Science and education are very, very powerful tools. And
we can help the community in southwest Florida prepare for the challenges ahead by using education and
science to help them really focus on the need to be good stewards in the future. So while we've got
pristine, functioning, healthy estuaries in the Ten Thousand Islands, the real challenge ahead of us is
how are we going to sustain these coastal systems in the face of that kind of unprecedented growth.
There is a huge economic value associated with these estuaries. If you look at what's happening in the
state of Florida, for example in 2001, there was over $4 billion generated in fishing expenses. And you
begin to connect what’s happening in aquatic preserves like Ten Thousand Islands serving as a nursery for
recreationally valuable finfish and shellfish. And you tie that to aquatic preserves statewide and you
begin to look at the $4 billion dollars being spent every year in fishing. Then you can appreciate,
there's great value there.