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Collier County beach areas to close temporarily for nesting shorebirds


Gabriella B. Ferraro (FWC), 772-215-9459;
Sue Leitholf (Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve), 239-417-6310, ext. 232;
Nancy Richie (city of Marco Island), 239-389-5003

Collier County beach areas to close temporarily for nesting shorebirdshttps://i1.wp.com/myfwc.com/media/1284561/News_09_X_SnwyPlover.jpg

Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will post signs and temporarily close some Collier County beach areas to help protect nesting shorebirds. Portions of Big Marco Pass Critical Wildlife Area, known locally as Sand Dollar Island will be closed as of April 1. Caxambas Pass Critical Wildlife Area will be closed as of April 8.

Areas of Keewaydin Island and Cape Romano Shoals (aka Second Chance) will be posted by April 21. Portions of Marco Island city beach (just south of Tigertail Beach) will be closed in mid-April.

Areas will remain closed until the end of nesting season in mid-August or until nesting is complete, whichever comes first.

The four species that nest in these protected areas are the least tern, black skimmer, snowy plover and Wilson’s plover.

The FWC is joined in this effort by the city of Marco Island and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Rookery Bay Research Reserve staff will post signs and close approximately five acres on the southern tip of Keewaydin Island. They will close approximately three acres on Cape Romano Shoals.

FWC biologists, with the help of volunteers, manage these areas to maximize nesting success for these species.  Nesting areas will be closed off with “symbolic fencing,” which consists of signs connected by twine and marked with flagging.  These closed areas protect the nesting birds from unnecessary disturbances and protect their nests from being accidentally stepped on.

All of 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.

The closed areas on the beaches may change or shift throughout the nesting season, depending on where the birds have chosen to nest at any given time.

If you would like more information about living with beach-nesting shorebirds, go to MyFWC.com/Wildlife, and download the “Co-existing with Florida’s beach-nesting birds” brochure.