Posting of Little Estero Critical Wildlife Area starts this week
Monday, March 29, 2010
Media contact: Gary Morse, 863-648-3200
Shorebird nesting season is fast approaching and
that means biologists and volunteers once again will be posting
Little Estero Critical Wildlife Area (CWA) on Fort Myers Beach.
Starting Tuesday, March 30, staff from the Florida
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the town of Fort
Myers Beach and a cadre of volunteers will be installing markers
around nesting sites on the CWA to help ensure that people and
shorebirds have an opportunity to share the beach without serious
Nesting shorebirds depend on the narrow stretches
of sand along coastal barrier islands to survive, not only in the
short term, but to survive as a species. Without proper nesting
sites and feeding habitat, the number of shorebird species is
likely to decline.
The FWC and the town of Fort Myers Beach urge all
beachgoers to be on the lookout for nesting shorebirds and give
them plenty of space and a chance at life.
"Signs will be posted and temporary fencing erected
on the CWA to help protect nesting shorebirds," said Nancy
Douglass, FWC species conservation biologist. "Beachgoers can do
their part by staying out of the posted areas and leaving their
dogs at home."
Dogs are prohibited within the Critical Wildlife
Area, even outside the areas closed to pedestrians.
Any disturbance by people, pets or vehicles can result in
shorebirds abandoning their nests, resulting in the death of young
birds. Because many of Florida's shorebirds are listed as
threatened or endangered, it is a violation of state and federal
laws to harass or take any endangered or threatened birds, their
eggs or young.
With the help of the town of Fort Myers Beach and
local volunteers, FWC biologists manage the CWA to maximize nesting
success for species that include the least tern, snowy plover and
Wilson's plover. These species nest in the open and lay their
well-camouflaged eggs directly on the sand, making them nearly
invisible to predators and to the untrained human eye.
Nesting areas will be closed off with "symbolic
fencing," which consists of signs connected by twine, marked with
flagging tape. Closed beach areas may shift during the
nesting season, depending on where the birds have chosen to lay
eggs at any given time.
If you would like more information about Florida's
shorebirds, go to the "Living with Wildlife" area under
MyFWC.com/Wildlife, and download the "Co-existing with Florida's
beach-nesting birds" brochure.