High water prompts restrictions at wildlife management areas in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties

hunting hunt wma

FWC photo from Joe Budd

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has issued Executive Order 20-26 temporarily restricting public access to Everglades and Francis S. Taylor, Holey Land, and Rotenberger Wildlife Management Areas. This action is needed to reduce stress to area wildlife caused by high water levels that force them to take refuge on tree islands and levees.

Effective Friday, Aug. 14 at 10 p.m. ET, Executive Order 20-26 prohibits public access, including vehicles, airboats, ATVs and all other public access, to Holey Land and Rotenberger WMAs. Public access to Everglades and Francis S. Taylor WMA also is prohibited, including vehicles, airboats, ATVs and all other public access, except:

  • Water Conservation Area 2 (2A and 2B) and that portion of Water Conservation Area 3A South east of the Miami Canal between Interstate 75 and the L-67A levee remain open to public access.
  • Boat ramps remain open. Vessels, other than airboats, may be operated in established canals.
  • Licensed and permitted individuals may participate in the Statewide Alligator Harvest Program, waterfowl hunting, fishing, frogging, recreational boating and nonnative reptile removal. Access for these activities is limited to vessels, other than airboats, and participants must maintain a minimum distance of 100 yards from any tree island to minimize disturbances to wildlife.
  • Contracted members of the FWC’s Python Action Team and the South Florida Water Management District’s Python Elimination Program may use vehicles on levee roads other than the L4 and L5 levee roads.

Access to Harold A. Campbell Public Use Area and the A1-FEB are not affected by this closure. For a list of WMA closures, visit MyFWC.com/Recreation and click “WMA Open/Closed Status.” To review the executive order, visit MyFWC.com/About, click “Inside the FWC” and then “Executive Orders.

To report a violation of this executive order or any fish and wildlife law violation, call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.

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