Florida FWC Temporarily Closes 3 WMAs

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has issued an order closing three wildlife management areas to taking game other than fish and alligators. The closed wildlife management areas are Everglades and Francis S. Taylor, Holey Land and Rotenberger. The areas encompass parts of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

The closing order, which takes effect Saturday, Aug. 30, also prohibits vehicles, airboats, ATVs and other public access. Exceptions are made by special permit. Conservation Area 2A, from the L-35B levee north to the east-west airboat trail, remains open. It is the only area that remains open.

The order is necessary because of high water jeopardizing the area's wildlife. During high-water events, deer and other wildlife congregate on tree islands and area levees for refuge. When forced to higher ground, wildlife have less access to nutritious foods and their stress levels rise. In order to minimize their stress, it is necessary to close these areas.

This order does not apply to people permitted to participate in the statewide alligator-egg collections or alligator hunts or people operating boats (other than airboats) within the established canal systems and within 1 mile of adjacent marshes in the wildlife management areas. However, to minimize disturbance to upland wildlife, participants in the statewide alligator-egg collections or alligator hunts must maintain a minimum distance of 100 yards from any tree island and the L-5 and L-4 levees when operating a vessel or airboat.

To report a violation of this order, any other wildlife-law violations or a boating emergency call the toll free Wildlife Alert number, 1-888-404-3922.