The refuge was established by President Woodrow Wilson on July 1, 1920, through Executive Order 3299 as a ". . . preserve and breeding ground for native birds" upon the recommendation of Thomas and Mina Edison. Originally, the Caloosahatchee NWR consisted of several mangrove islands. However, shoreline development, dredging of the river, and construction of the I-75 bridge has changed the physical arrangement and appearance of these islands. Today, the refuge still remains approximately 40 acres of mangrove shorelines and upland island habitats. The refuge is located adjacent to the Florida Power and Light Company's Orange River Power Plant and the Orange River's outflow. The warm water outflow from the power plant is a major wintering area for the endangered West Indian manatee.
Other Facilities in this Complex
The Caloosahatchee National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The majority of the lands in these refuges are nesting and roosting islands. The entire complex is approximately 8,000 acres. The Refuge Complex headquarters is located at 1 Wildlife Drive, Sanibel, FL 33957.