Hurricane Irma Recovery Partners

It takes a village!  This is certainly true of our recovery efforts with so much impacted.  There is only one visitor services ranger, one biologist, two Federal wildlife officers, and two maintenance people on staff for all four national wildlife refuges in the Florida Keys, which encompasses approximately 417,550 acres (a little over half the size of Rhode Island). We have over 30 endangered or threatened species we manage for as well as the last remaining large intact pine rocklands habitat left in Florida. We also welcome over 100,000 visitors annually. 

This is why we are so grateful for the many partners who continue to support the important work being done on all four refuges who asked immediately how they could help.  

Learn about them and the important work they are doing to help conserve these unique habitats, wildlife, and plants for the benefit of the American people.

  • Friends and Volunteers of the Refuges, Florida Keys is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support the National Wildlife Refuges of the Florida Keys through education, advocacy, volunteerism, and fundraising. They are a critical partner assisting us with Irma recovery needs.
  • Avian Research and Conservation Institute has already been taking aerial imagery to determine hurricane impacts to many important keys that provide nesting and roosting habitats for migratory birds.
  • Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden has been a key partner in the post-Irma work done on the endangered Key tree cactus.
  • Florida Atlantic University (Dale Gawlik) is assisting with migratory bird projects.
  • Florida International University (Mike Ross) will be assisting with post-storm habitat assessments in the pine rocklands. Even before Irma, only 2% remains of the pine rocklands, a globally endangered habitat only found in south Florida and the Bahamas.  Of all refuge plant communities, saltwater storm surge events from hurricanes and sea-level rise now pose the greatest risks for the pine rocklands. Pine rocklands provide important habitat for a diverse plant and animal community including 18 plants found nowhere else and 8 federally listed animal species. Some of these species include the Key deer, Bartram’s scrub-hairstreak butterfly, Big Pine partridge pea, wedge spurge, and sand flax.
  • The Institute for Regional Conservation is assessing our Croton restoration project that is important in preventing extinction of Bartram's scrub-hairstreak butterfly.
  • Texas A&M University has been assisting with assessing Key deer populations post Irma.
  • University of Florida (Jared Daniels) has been helping our refuges with important endangered butterfly work.