News Releases

Posting of Little Estero Critical Wildlife Area starts this week

News Release

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 conflict.

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.



FWC Facts:
Groupers are very slow-growing fish, taking anywhere from 4-8 years to reach sexual maturity.

Learn More at AskFWC