Critical Wildlife Areas (CWAs) are established by the FWC under a Florida Administration Code rule to protect important wildlife concentrations from human disturbance during critical periods of their life cycles, such as nesting. For each CWA, the boundaries and periods of time when portions of the area may be posted and closed to entry by people are defined in the CWA establishment order.
The five regional biologists in the Species Conservation Planning Section are responsible for evaluating the need for potential CWAs, developing or revising establishment orders, managing the posting of appropriate signage, and coordinating the monitoring of the wildlife populations using those areas each year. CWAs are monitored by biologists and protection efforts are coordinated with local government, other agencies, organizations, and FWC law enforcement personnel, as appropriate.
Almost all the active CWAs support listed species, the most notable of which included: Alafia Banks (wading birds, oystercatchers and pelican rookeries); ABC Islands (wading birds and pelican rookeries); Fort George Inlet (terns and black skimmers); St. George Causeway (least terns); and Big Marco Pass (least terns, black skimmers, plovers and wintering shorebirds).
For additional information regarding Critical Wildlife Areas, please contact the CWA coordinator.