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Everglades High Water Causing Animals Stress, Public Restrictions

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Heavy rain created high-water conditions in portions of the Everglades. (Source: CBS4)

Heavy rain created high-water conditions in portions of the Everglades. (Source: CBS4)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida’s relentless rain is causing the water to rise in the Florida Everglades and the water has risen so high, restrictions are being put in place at three Everglades Wildlife Management Areas.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) issued an executive order Thursday to temporarily restrict public access to Everglades and Francis S. Taylor, Holey Land, and Rotenberger Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).

According to the FWC, the restrictions are necessary “because the high water is forcing wildlife to take refuge on tree islands and levees, resulting in high levels of stress for the animals.”

Effective at midnight on July 19, the order prohibits vehicle, airboat, all-terrain vehicle and other public access to the Everglades and Francis S. Taylor, Holey Land, and Rotenberger WMAs.

These three areas are in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

Access to Conservation Area 2A from the L-35B levee north to the east-west airboat trail is still permitted.

The order also prohibits the taking of game. This order, however, does not apply to people permitted to participate in the statewide alligator and migratory bird hunts, to frogging, or to people operating boats while fishing within the established canal systems. A minimum distance of 100 yards from any tree island or levee must be maintained to minimize disturbance to upland wildlife.

The restrictions will remain in place until the FWC removes them.

For updated closure and reopening information, visit www.MyFWC.com/DisasterPlan and click on “Open/Closed Status of FWC Offices and FWC-managed Areas.”

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