Little Gasparilla Island Community Plan
Natural Resources and Coastal Planning Element
Current Conditions Summary
Little Gasparilla Island is located along the southern end of the Lemon Bay Aquatic Preserve. The coastal and marine environment around the island includes sensitive elements, such as seagrass beds on Placida Sound, mangrove areas, manatee habitat, nesting areas for sea turtles, and available habitat for bivalves and other marine and wetland species (Figure 10). Beach erosion is evident on the ocean side of the island, particularly on
t h e n o r t h e r n s h o r e , w h e r e t h e s u r f F i g u r e 1 0 . F r o m t h e F D E P E n v i r o n m e n t a l S e n s i t i v i t y M a p . nearly reaches residences (Photo 6). The FDEP Strategic Beach Management Plan (FDEP, 2000) recognizes a 0.4 mile segment of "critically eroded beach" on Little Gasparilla Island, just south of the former Little Gasparilla Pass. The plan calls only for monitoring this segment. The island is also within Charlotte County’s Coastal High Hazard Area, requiring evacuation in the event of a Category One hurricane.
Native vegetation on the island has been severely impacted. A mangrove fringe occurs along the bayside shore (Photo 7). Inland, the vegetation canopy is dominated by the exotic species Australian pine (Casuarina equistifolia). Brazilian pepper (Shinus terebinthifolius), another exotic invasive species, occurs throughout the island. Among the most common native species, cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto), cocoplum (Chrysobelanus icaco), and sea grape (Coccoloba uvifera) occur in patches throughout the island. Coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) and a variety of ornamental species are also common on the island.
Photo 6. Beach Erosion
County staff indicated that gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) occur on the island, but no population census or mapping has been conducted.
Photo 7. Typical vegetation: Mangrove along the bayside shore and Australian pine dominating the island canopy.
Citizens of Little Gasparilla Island
LGI Advisory Committee