Excellent news - several of us drove to St. Pete yesterday to provide public input on the final vote for the new and reauthorized Critical Wildlife Areas proposed in Florida, including the 6 in Lee County. After 37 speakers over 2 hours, with 32 in favor, the FWC Commission voted unanimously in favor of all the CWA’s! The changes made in recent weeks better accommodated anglers and boaters, but maintained the closed protection buffers around the rookery islands. There were five angler/boater groups which supported the CWA proposals, including Snook and Gamefish Foundation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and Bonefish and Tarpon Trust - hard to imagine a couple weeks ago!
This is a huge win for these birds, and means we need to assure FWC provides adequate monitoring, law enforcement and public education to make these work. This is the kind of proactive conservation measure we will increasingly have to employ for our coastal species as Florida’s population continues rapid growth concurrent with sea level rise, erosion, and storms. As you all know better anyone, these coastal birds and other species will have a dim future without such actions.
Thank you all for your support! The FWC press release is below.
Southwest Florida Policy Associate
Audubon of the Western Everglades/Audubon Florida
1020 8th Avenue, South, Suite 2
Naples, FL 34102