News Releases

FWC using public input to improve Critical Wildlife Area proposals

News Release

Monday, September 12, 2016

Media contact: Carli Segelson, 772-215-9459

Photos available on the FWC’s Flickr site:

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) continues to move forward with an unprecedented initiative to conserve some of Florida’s most vulnerable wildlife by designating and modifying Critical Wildlife Areas throughout Florida. Overall, the public has been largely supportive of this effort. However, FWC staff continues to solicit public feedback and has modified some CWA proposals in order to address concerns.

“The proposed CWAs constitute high-octane, quiet conservation. They are patches of protection in a sea of opportunity,” said FWC Commission Chairman Brian Yablonski.  “The narrowly tailored and discreet designations will help with reproduction and recruitment for significant bird species on our threatened list.”

This summer, staff completed a comprehensive statewide effort to obtain public input on proposals to establish new or improve existing CWAs. More than 400 people attended 14 workshops held throughout the state. The workshops were designed to explain how CWAs work and why they are needed, address questions from attendees, and gather public feedback about each proposal.

Moving forward, the FWC will continue to work with citizens and stakeholders to better understand concerns from the public and reduce or eliminate negative impacts where possible.

“Often our enthusiasm to see these birds in large concentration is the very thing that causes the disturbance,” said Yablonski. “These are Florida’s signature bird species. They are the great wildlife ambassadors of Florida and we owe them this small measure of protection.”

CWAs are established by the FWC under a Florida Administrative Code rule to protect important wildlife concentrations from human disturbance during critical periods of their life cycles, such as breeding, feeding or migration.

“The FWC is committed to doing what is best for wildlife while balancing the needs of the people who recreate or do business in these areas,” said Kipp Frohlich, Deputy Division Director for the FWC’s Division of Habitat and Species Conservation. “If you have questions or concerns, we want to hear them.”  

The FWC will continue to engage stakeholders living near these areas, conduct additional site visits and accept comments throughout this process.

If you would like to provide feedback, send it to The specific CWA name should be included in the subject line of the email.

The final decision regarding the CWAs will be made at the November Commission meeting in St. Petersburg.

For more information on CWAs visit

FWC Facts:
Ridge Rangers are a group of dedicated volunteers helping to preserve the last remaining fragments of the Lake Wales Ridge.

Learn More at AskFWC