FWC requests public input at Critical Wildlife Area workshops
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is holding public workshops to share information about and solicit comments on the proposal to designate new Critical Wildlife Areas and modify five existing CWAs throughout the state. The proposed designations are part of a statewide initiative to conserve some of Florida’s most vulnerable wildlife.
CWAs are established by the FWC under a Florida Administrative Code rule to protect important wildlife concentrations from human disturbance during critical periods of their life cycles, such as breeding, feeding or migration.
“This initiative to create more CWAs throughout the state is not just for bird watchers and wildlife aficionados,” said FWC Commission Chairman Brian Yablonski. “This is something for everyone, and we want everyone to have an opportunity to be a part of the process.”
In Nassau and Duval counties, the FWC is considering modifications to the existing Nassau Sound Bird Islands CWA.
The workshop for Nassau Sound Bird Islands will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 14 at the Peck Center Auditorium, 516 S. 10th St., Fernandina Beach.
The FWC will use the feedback received at the public workshops to help develop the recommendations for each of the CWA designations and modifications. These recommendations will be presented at the FWC’s September meeting.
“The shoals and islands of inlet systems like Nassau Sound are important habitats for these rare and declining species,” said Chris Farrell, Audubon Florida’s Northeast Policy Associate. “FWC protecting these islands from disturbance is essential to the survival of many resident and migratory birds.”
Nassau Sound Bird Islands CWA was established in 1977 with seasonal closure. Part of the CWA known as “Big Bird Island” eventually attached to the mainland at Little Talbot Island State Park. The part of the CWA known as “Little Bird Island” occurs within the Nassau River-St. Johns River Marshes and Fort Clinch Aquatic Preserves. This dynamic area is important to threatened and endangered nesting and wintering shorebirds. FWC staff are seeking a re-establishment of the CWA that will allow for improved protection of the birds.
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