All posts by Friends of Wiggins

Pelican Isle Yacht Club Commodore Letter

Commodore Tom Marmen wrote a letter to Pelican Isle members who do not belong to ECA. The letter is below


Dear Fellow Members,

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Pelican Isle Yacht Club (PIYC), I would like to bring something very important to your attention – particularly to our newer members.   We are so fortunate to be located on the Cocohatchee River, close to Wiggins Pass.  However, as our long time members are aware, clean waters and a navigable pass are not a “given” but something that requires constant attention and significant political involvement by our members. By having navigable water, we ensure our Yacht Club will continue to grow.

The only organization monitoring the health of the Cocohatchee estuary and Wiggins Pass is the Estuary Conservation Association, Inc. (ECA).  The ECA is a state chartered, non-profit organization which monitors water quality, navigation through the pass and the overall health of the flora and fauna in the estuary.  The ECA works closely with Collier County government including the Board of County Commissioners and the Office of Coastal Zone Management and played a key part in the five year process to redesign and enhance the Pass.  Each year, the ECA sponsors a public series of educational “Gulf Forums” on a variety of water related topics.  Having attended some of the forums, I can highly recommend them. Their plans for the future include enhancing the recreational use of the estuary and increasing the fish and shellfish populations by building new oyster reefs.

There’s a financial aspect to these activities as well.  We’re all co-owners of the Club and many of us have slips or own condominiums within or near the estuary.  If this beautiful area isn’t kept pristine and if the Wiggins Pass became un-navigable, the value of all the adjacent property will decline.

The ECA conducts its annual membership drive at this time each year and copy of their membership application is available by downloading:  ECA Membership Application 2015 .  For your convenience, you may drop off your completed form and check with the PIYC receptionist.  Thank you for your support.

I encourage you to join the ECA and participate in and support this organization.   A significant number of our Club members already belong and I would like to see that portion become 100%.  To learn more about the ECA, their website is

Thank you for your consideration.

Tom Marmen

Science and Restoration

Oyster Reef Restoration Project
Oyster Reef Restoration Project

Oyster Reef Restoration Project

Research ECA provided funding to Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) scientists to conduct investigations of environmental conditions within the Cocohatchee estuary, to guide site selection for the restoration of oyster reefs. FGCU has successfully restored living reefs in similar estuaries in Southwest Florida. The benefits of restoring reefs are well documented, including improved water clarity due to filter feeding of living oysters, and providing exceptional refuge for marine animals such as stone crabs, shrimp, and inshore fish.

Restoration ECA is now working with Matt Wright, an Eagle Scout candidate in Naples, and local Troop 2 of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), to support and sponsor a small-scale oyster reef restoration project within the Cocohatchee estuary, utilizing FGCU’s research results obtained from ECA’s sponsored study described above.

The restoration project involves three phases:

  1. Planning and regulatory review: The selected restoration site requires review by the State of Florida. Preliminary review has indicated that the project qualifies for exemption due to the small scale and public benefits associated with the restoration.
  2. Oyster shell bag construction: Working with volunteers from FGCU and BSA, Matt will lead work to fill an estimated 300 mesh bags purchased by ECA, with fossil shell donated by FGCU. The Pelican Isle Yacht Club will serve as the staging area for the restoration.
  3. Reef Construction: Scheduled tentatively for Saturday, May 31, Matt and volunteers from BSA and ECA will transport the shell bags via the Pelican shuttle (donated by the Pelican Isle Yacht Club) to the restoration site for construction. Volunteers will assemble the reef in an area measuring approximately 500 square feet by placing the bags on a shoaling area in the Cocohatchee estuary.

Partners and Sponsors



Barron Collier Jr. Foundation



Pelican Isle Yacht Club

LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort

Naples Marina and Excursions

Captain Will Geraghty’s Grand Slam Fishing Charters

Up a Creek Kayak Tours


Florida Gulf Coast University

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Collier County Coastal Zone Management Department

Conservancy of SW Florida

Boy Scouts Troop 2 Naples

Vi at Bentley Village

Coastal Angler Magazine


ECA Welcomes Alan Ritchie to Board of Directors

Alan Ritchie
Alan Ritchie

The Estuary Conservation Association proudly announces the welcome addition of Alan Ritchie to the Board of Directors. Alan is a former Vice President of General Mills, Inc. in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is a Director Emeritus of the 170,000 member Experimental Aircraft Association. Alan enjoys boating and fishing, and is a licensed pilot.

He is a past chairman and currently a member of the Pelican Isle Yacht Club’s Marina Committee, and has agreed to serve as chairman of ECA’s Boating and Navigation Committee. Alan has been married to his wife Jane for 46 years, and has two children and three grandchildren.


What Causes Red Tide?

Red Tide algal blooms can pose serious environmental, economic & health risks.

Understanding the causes of red tide blooms is a first and important step towards preventing the effects of these events from causing harm, and possibly someday being able to prevent them altogether.

The phenomenon known locally as “Red Tide” is caused by an overgrowth of microscopic algae called dinoflagellates.

Certain types of these dinoflagellates occur normally in low amounts in local waters. However, during harmful algal blooms such as Red Tide, they grow out of control.

At these high levels, the chemicals produced by these microbes are toxic and even deadly to marine life such as fish, dolphins and manatees, and can cause health problems in humans such as eye and skin irritation and worsening of breathing conditions such as asthma.


Aerial view of red tide affected waters.

Ways to Reduce Your Impact on the Planet

We have all heard of the basic ways to help conserve and protect our local environment. For those of us who want to do more, here are 4 more ways you can help.              

 1.     Buy local, buy organic!  When you buy local, organic produce, not only are you contributing to the local economy, but you are helping to reduce the amount of fuel, pesticides and other chemicals that are involved in getting your food to you!

2.     Don’t just recycle, compost! Believe it or not, composting simple kitchen scraps and leftover food is much easier than it sounds and you will be  astounded how much it will reduce the amount you throw away every week!

3.     Get involved!  Get involved in local beach cleanup and other environmentally friendly events! It’s a great way to meet likeminded people, make friends, and help your local environment at the same time!

4.     Speak up! Tell friends and family about steps you are taking to reduce your impact, and speak up at work and  whenever you see something that could be more environmentally friendly!


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