Description - Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge is an important rookery recognized 100 years ago by President Theodore Roosevelt. President Roosevelt saw man's detrimental intrusion and the exploitation of the long-legged waders. Plume hunters ravaged the resident pelicans, herons, egrets, cranes, ibises, spoonbills, and flamingos until federal intervention. Today, the refuge is abounding with resident and migratory birds in addition to nesting sea turtles, dolphins and manatees.
Copyright: - US Fish and Wildlife Service
Public Domain: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
- On March 14, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt designated Pelican Island the nation's first national wildlife refuge. This six-acre island is protective ground for pelicans, herons and egrets nesting on the island. The refuge currently consists of mangrove islands and 4,700 acres of submerged lands surrounding Pelican Island, which are leased from the State of Florida to provide a buffer zone and help protect the island. In 1963, Pelican Island was designated a National Historic Landmark.
Plans are underway to construct hiking trails and an observation deck that will allow visitors to view Pelican Island from the nearby land.
Recreation - The six-acre island wetland is accessible only by boat. The island is closed to the public. Visitors to the surrounding waters are invited to boat, fish and observe the profusion of birds courting, building nests or carrying for their offspring.
Climate - Winters in west central Florida are normally mild with occasional temperatures dipping into the 30's and 40's Fahrenheit. However, averages range between 52 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit (11 - 18 Celsius). Summers are normally hot and muggy with temperatures and humidity usually exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Averages range between 81 and 83 degrees (27 - 29 Celsius). Precipitation for the central west area ranges between 52 and 56 inches per year.
Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge is located within the Indian River immediately east of the town of Sebastian.