Author: Andrea Stetson [News-Press.com]
Sea Oat Island has no sea oats. Keewaydin Island is full of them, yet the islands are separated by a space less than the length of a football field.
Boaters heading out into the Gulf through Hurricane Bay in Collier County pass between two islands with such different terrain that they feel like two different habitats. Guests who take the time to get off their boats and explore find out how unique each island really is.
Sea Oat Island has been taken over by exotic Australian pine trees. Little seeds that drop from the trees spread, creating even more trees that block sunlight from native vegetation. Below the trees, a carpet of pine needles six to eight inches deep prevents new native trees and plants from taking root. Without sea oats to grab the sand and hold it on shore, the beach is only a narrow strip shaded by the towering trees.
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