The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) installed signs around two new Critical Wildlife Areas in Franklin County. Both CWAs support significant numbers of nesting seabirds and shorebirds, including state-threatened black skimmers, American oystercatchers, least terns and snowy plovers. The locations of these CWAs are:
- Lanark Reef CWA – A barrier island about 0.7 miles south of Lanark Village.
- Flag Island CWA – Two small barrier islands less than 1 mile south of St. Vincent Island National Wildlife Refuge.
Establishing a buffer around these CWAs is the continuation of an unprecedented conservation effort by the FWC to protect vulnerable wildlife species in the state. In November 2016, the Commission approved a proposal to designate 13 new CWAs and improve five existing CWAs. Prior to the approval, FWC staff held public workshops around the state to gather feedback and improve proposals. CWAs play an integral part in the protection of sensitive wildlife by minimizing human disturbance that can disrupt critical life activities such as breeding, feeding and migration.
Signs are positioned around Lanark Reef CWA at distances ranging from 75 to 300 feet from shore. Flag Island CWA signs are at distances ranging from 50 to 300 feet from shore. Both CWAs are closed to public access throughout the year. Vessels and fishing are prohibited within posted areas. Signs were installed at both locations in time for peak breeding season for the birds nesting on these islands.
To learn more about Florida’s CWAs, visit MyFWC.com/CWA.