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Our fellow Longboat dwellers

SHELDON AND JOYCE PALEY
Contributing Columnists
paley@lbknews.com

Visitors and homeowners can all agree that the beaches and surrounding waterways are critical assets to Longboat Key. As an amenity they provide countless opportunities to boat, fish, swim, sunbath and stroll. Living in and around all this activity is an exciting ecosystem that is central to scientific research and anyone interested in sustaining the mesmerizing beauty of our delicate island life.

More than 1,400 native species of plants and animals inhabit the Bay area.  Sarasota Bay, including Longboat Pass, is designated as a Class II water body, which allows for shellfish propagation or harvesting.

Longboat Key is a member of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) whose mission is to improve water quality, increase habitat and enhance the natural resources of the bay.  The health of Sarasota Bay has improved in the recent past, mainly because of programs and efforts to restore our delicate ecosystem.  Our bay is only one of 28 estuaries in the country receiving the U.S Congressional designation as an estuary of national significance.

Our beach offers many recreational opportunities, but it serves a greater purpose than that.   It is a main protector of the uplands and provides a delicate environment for waterfowl, reptiles and other animals that feed, nest and breed on the beach.

Several species of endangered wildlife utilize Longboat’s beach for nesting and feeding.  The Town coordinates efforts of The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC), Mote Marine Laboratory, and shorebird and turtle volunteers to protect the animals.

Loggerhead turtles are the most common species of sea turtle that utilizes LBK’s beaches for nesting; there are others as well.   Mote Marine Laboratory and local volunteer groups watch the beach during nesting season to mark and certify turtle nests.  Nesting season for Sea Turtles is March to September.  There are lighting restrictions during nesting season to inhibit hatchlings from becoming disoriented when they make their way to the water.

Nesting season for shorebirds is February to August.  Four species inhabit the beaches of Longboat Key:  the Snowy Plover, Wilson’s Plover, Least Tern and Black Skimmer.  They lay eggs directly onto the sand in shallow depressions.  Because the eggs and young chicks are fragile, it is crucial to circumvent active nesting areas.

Our ability to protect our fellow land and sea dwellers is one of the gifts of living on Longboat Key.

Sheldon Paley, a resident of Longboat Key for 20 years and a realtor for 13 years, is affiliated with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty. Prior to moving to Longboat Key, Paley attended Ohio State University; U of Pennsylvania School of Dentistry and Harvard Medical School for 18 months for a degree in Implantation.

Joyce Paley attended Miami University, Ohio State University and Capital University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Major in Professional Writing.

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