July 18, 2013
High water levels have prompted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to issue an executive order temporarily restricting public access to Everglades and Francis S. Taylor, Holey Land, and Rotenberger Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).
This action is necessary because high water levels force area wildlife to take refuge on tree islands and levees, resulting in high levels of stress for these animals.
Effective at midnight on July 19, the order prohibits vehicle, airboat, all-terrain vehicle and other public access to the Everglades and Francis S. Taylor, Holey Land, and Rotenberger WMAs. These three areas are in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Access to Conservation Area 2A from the L-35B levee north to the east-west airboat trail is still permitted.
The order also prohibits the taking of game. This order, however, does not apply to people permitted to participate in the statewide alligator and migratory bird hunts, to frogging, or to people operating boats while fishing within the established canal systems. A minimum distance of 100 yards from any tree island or levee must be maintained to minimize disturbance to upland wildlife.
These special regulations remain in effect until rescinded by a subsequent executive order.
For updated closure and reopening information, visit MyFWC.com/DisasterPlan and click on “Open/Closed Status of FWC Offices and FWC-managed Areas.” If you have additional questions, please call the FWC's South Regional Office at 561-625-5122.
To see the executive order, go to MyFWC.com/About and select “Inside FWC” then “Learn more about the Executive Director's Office.”
To report a violation of this order, or any fish and wildlife law violation, call the FWC's Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-3922.