Matlacha Pass National Wildlife Refuge Authorizing Legislation: Executive Order 943 Signed by President Theodore Roosevelt on September 26, 1908, Executive Order 943 ordered that three small islands located in Matlacha Pass, Florida, be reserved and set aside for the use as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds.
Date of Designation: 1908
Management Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Management Goals: (1) To protect and provide suitable habitat for endangered and threatened species, including the West Indian manatee, eastern indigo snake, American crocodile, wood stork, and bald eagle; (2) to implement sound wildlife management techniques to provide feeding, nesting, and roosting habitat for shore birds, wading birds, waterfowl, raptors, and neo-tropical migratory species; and (3) to provide wildlife-oriented recreation compatible with the purposes for which the refuge was established.
Site Description: Located within the Matlacha Pass estuary northwest of the city of Fort Myers in Lee County, Florida, Matlacha Pass NWR covers approximately 512 acres that include twenty-three islands, mangrove forests, and tidally-influenced wetlands with low sand and shell ridges. It is administered as a satellite refuge of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Matlacha Pass NWR is almost exclusively red mangrove habitat, but in interior wetland areas on some of the islands black mangroves dominate and are often mixed with white mangroves and buttonwood. Upland and wetland areas are maintained in their natural condition so that they may provide undisturbed habitat for birds, fish, invertebrates, and other animals. Colonial birds utilize the refuge as nesting and roosting habitats. As part of its management program, Matlacha Pass NWR uses chemical and mechanical controls against invasive species.
Regulation: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the primary agency that regulates Matlacha Pass NWR. The Refuge Recreation Act, 16 U.S.C. 460k-460k-4, restricts public recreation use of fish and wildlife conservation areas, including National Wildlife Refuges. Section 460k lays out public uses that are allowed in the refuge, such as wildlife observation, sport fishing, commercial fishing and crabbing, nature photography, motorized and non-motorized boating, and waterfowl hunting. Pursuant to 50 C.F.R. 27.11-17.97, ATVs, camping, littering, fires, collecting, horses, and firearms/ weapons are prohibited. However, motorized vehicles are allowed on designated roads.
Primary Information Source: Matlacha Pass NWR website - http://southeast.fws.gov/MatlachaPass/