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New Protected Areas Would Be Aimed At Nesting Florida Birds

Brown pelican. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Brown pelican. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Florida wildlife authorities may expand protected areas for some of the state's most iconic and imperiled bird species like roseate spoonbills and brown pelicans.

Some of these areas would be in Brevard and Volusia counties.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is considering adding 10 new Critical Wildlife Areas across the state, protecting primarily beaches and islands.

Julie Wraithmell of Audubon of Florida says the designations are aimed at nesting birds as the state’s population continues to soar.

"If people get too close to birds that are nesting it can interrupt their courtship even if parents flush off of eggs and chicks it leaves those eggs and chicks vulnerable to cooking in the sun, to being predated by crows or gulls."

The new Critical Wildlife Areas would be the first established since the early 1990s.

Trip Aukeman of the Coastal Conservation Association says many of the designations include islands where anglers like to fish. He says fishermen are worried about losing access.

"Whether it be snook, red fish or trout in these areas. But we still enjoy the wildlife when we go out to fish, and you don't want to keep your eyes on the water the whole time. You want to enjoy the wildlife around you."

Florida Fish and Wildlife is expected to issue a decision during its November meeting.

Amy Green covered the environment for WMFE until 2023. Her work included the 2020 podcast DRAINED.