Help Stop Seagrass Scarring

Seagrasses are extremely important habitat for the fish, scallops, manatees, turtles, birds and other species that support the coastal tourism economy in Florida’s Nature Coast. Seagrass scarring by propellers, anchors, and vessel groundings is 100% preventable but is a growing problem in Florida.

The University of Florida has started a campaign to raise awareness about seagrass scarring caused by boating. They are calling this campaign “Be Seagrass Safe”.

To learn more visit the “Be Seagrass Safe” web site:

Marine Animal Rescue

The University of Florida Marine Animal Rescue is a a non-profit organization funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through the College of Veterinary Medicine Aquatic Animal Health Program, UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station, and the Cedar Key Dolphin Project.

The Rescue Program responds to sick, injured, and deceased marine mammals in Levy, Dixie, and Taylor counties of the Big Bend. They coordinate rescues of live animals and, if possible, transport them to rehabilitation facilities. They also perform necropsies (animal autopsies) on deceased marine animals to determine their cause of death and learn more about their anatomy, physiology, and the health of their ecosystem.

To report a sick, injured, or deceased marine animal, call or text the 24-hour UF Marine Animal Rescue Hotline at 352-477-0344 or the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-407-3922. Be prepared to give your location (address, GPS, or waterway marker), animal involved (dolphin, whale, manatee, sea turtle), number of animals and their condition (alive, dead, injured or distressed).

If you are interested in volunteer opportunities contact Mackenzie Russell, at

Back to Africa

We had a small but enthusiastic crowd come out on Earth Day to hear a presentation by Libby Cagle and Roger McDaniels about their most recent trip to Africa. Libby showed slides of the species they encountered and recounted details of their 50 day trip to Kenya, Madagascar, and Tanzania. This included how Libby broke her leg while being chased by a lion… not really. But you’ll have to ask her how she really did it.​

The View is Back


As visitors will tell you one of the most striking features of the Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve are its views. Whether you are on top of the observation tower, out at the dock, or on the bridge at the salt pond the views are stunning. The one exception was the view from the Education Center conference room. The reason for this was that the picture window looking west toward the Gulf was damaged.

The Friends started raising funds to replace the window in 2016. Thanks mostly to a single, very generous donation the window has been replaced. This time-lapse video shows the installation. The view is back!

Thanks to everyone who made a contribution and helped us meet our goal. Special thanks to the anonymous donor whose single contribution allowed us to make repairs much sooner then we thought possible.



Audubon Bird Guide App

The Audubon Society has a free, award-winning field guide app. Versions are available for Apple iOS, Android, and Amazon Kindle. To learn more visit:

As you visit the Preserve checkout the Nearby Observations feature of the app. To access this feature select Find Birds with eBird from the app Home menu. Select Yankeetown as your location and then Nearby Observations for a list of recent sightings.

Colonial Nesting Birds of the Nature Coast

We had a great turnout at the Preserve on January 21, 2017 for Ann Paul’s talk on Colonial Nesting Birds. Thanks Ann!

Ann, a native Floridian, has worked for Audubon’s Florida Coastal Islands Sanctuaries (FCIS) since 1991 and is the Tampa Bay Regional Coordinator. Ann is an expert in waterbird populations and management of coastal habitats for wildlife. She currently serves on the board of the Tampa Bay Conservancy and is past president of the Tampa Audubon Society.

New Year’s Day Picnic 2017

Each year the Friends have an annual New Year’s Day picnic at the Preserve. It is a time to find out what is happening at the Preserve, meet new people, and catch-up with friends. We had a nice gathering on Sunday, January 1, 2017. Come join us next year!

Inglis Christmas Parade

The Friends of the Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve joined the Inglis Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 10th, 2016. The theme was “The Night Before Christmas.” We put our best elf attire on to create “Elf Town.” We all had a great time wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, especially the children of all ages. And we won 2nd place!

Parade video can be viewed here.

8th Annual Rubber Duck Race

duck2016_1dusk2016_2The 8th Annual Rubber Duck Race took place on Sunday, November 20, on the Withlacoochee River. The enthusiastic 399 ducks were delighted to be on the river once again. They thank all their sponsors for supporting the Friends of the Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve. The race is a principle fundraiser for the Friends. All proceeds of the race go towards supporting the maintenance and improvement of the Preserve. Duck #204 charged ahead of the group to take first place. The proud sponsors were the Runnels family of Gulf Hammock. They won $200. The lazy duck this year was Duck #80 sponsored by Heidi & Mark Osborne of Yankeetown. They received $50. Both parties donated their winnings back to the Friends. We sincerely thank them for their generosity.