The islands contain two basic vegetative zones, upland sand ridges and mangroves. Several islands of the Matlacha Pass NWR are used as roosting and nesting sites for a variety of colonial water birds including the brown pelican, great egret, snowy egret, reddish egret, great blue heron, little blue heron, tricolored heron, double crested cormorant and anhinga. The beaches and shores provide loafing, feeding, and nesting areas for migratory ducks, shorebirds, gulls, and terns.
Ospreys and bald eagles can be observed nesting and feeding in Matlacha Pass NWR. Several endangered and threatened species benefit from the habitats described including: wood storks, sea turtles, and manatees.
Other Facilities in this Complex
The Matlacha Pass 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.