Access to Everglades complex of wildlife management areas temporarily restricted due to high water

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has issued Executive Order 20-26 Amendment 2, temporarily restricting public access to the Everglades and Francis S. Taylor and Holey Land wildlife management areas (WMAs). Rotenberger WMA remains closed to public access per Executive Order 20-26. These restrictions are needed to reduce stress to area wildlife caused by high water levels that force them to take refuge on tree islands and levees.

Effective Friday, Oct. 2, at 7:15 p.m. EDT, Executive Order 20-26 Amendment 2 prohibits most public access, including vehicles, airboats and ATVs, to portions of the Everglades and Francis S. Taylor WMA and Holey Land WMA. The Oct. 3-18 General Gun-Walk season at all three WMAs — Everglades, Holey Land and Rotenberger — is canceled. The following restrictions and exceptions apply:

• The L4 and L5 levee roads are closed to all public access.

• Accessible boat ramps remain open for vessels, other than airboats.

• Licensed and permitted individuals may participate in the Statewide Alligator Harvest Program, waterfowl hunting, fishing, frogging, recreational boating and nonnative reptile removal. Access for these activities is limited to vessels, other than airboats, and participants must maintain a minimum distance of 100 yards from any tree island to minimize disturbances to wildlife.

• Contracted members of the FWC’s Python Action Team and the South Florida Water Management District’s Python Elimination Program may use vehicles on levee roads other than the L4 and L5 levee roads.

Water Conservation Area 2 (2A and 2B) and that portion of Water Conservation Area 3A South, east of the Miami Canal between 1nterstate 75 and the L-67A levee, are not included in the closure order and public access and use is allowed, subject to established area rules.

Access to the Harold A. Campbell Public Use Area and the A1-FEB are not affected by this closure. For a list of WMA closures, visit MyFWC.com/Recreation and click “WMA Open/Closed Status.” To review the executive order, visit MyFWC.com/About, click “Inside the FWC” and then “Executive Orders.”

To report a violation of this executive order or any fish and wildlife law violation, call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.

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