The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is considering the designation of Critical Wildlife Areas (CWAs) in sensitive habitats throughout the state. Locally, these opportunities for conservation include small islands within Pine Island Sound, Estero Bay, and Rookery Bay.

CWAs create an enforceable buffer zone around essential wildlife habitats. The areas proposed as CWAs are used by nesting, roosting, and foraging wading birds, some of which are considered at-risk for extinction by the state of Florida.

Our wildlife faces a myriad of threats from polluted water to habitat loss. The CWAs are meant to provide a refuge from human disturbance and in the very places that these species rely on the most. As coastal wildlife are struggling from a number of pressures, limiting human disturbance by putting in CWAs in place is one thing we can do now to help preserve our wildlife well into the future.

The local areas that have been proposed as CWAs have been identified as some of the most important lands in our region based on scientific monitoring studies, and are used by a multitude of species, including brown pelicans, double-crested cormorants, herons and egrets.

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