MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida’s relentless summer rain is taking its toll in the Everglades with large parts of the River of Grass now closed to the public because of high water levels.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have temporarily closed portions of the Everglades and Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area.

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“As water levels in the wildlife management area rise, wildlife such as deer, raccoons, and rabbits tend to seek higher ground, such as tree islands and levees,” said Dr. Tom Reinert, FWC regional director. “To protect them and help reduce stress, temporary public closures are necessary. Area canals remain open to boat access, though, for fishing, frogging, and other recreational access.”

Closures include the L4 and L5 south levee roads that run along the Palm Beach County-Broward County border west of U.S. 27.

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(Courtesy: FWC)

However, water conservation areas 2A and 2B, which are east of U.S. 27 from I-75 in Broward, and a portion of the 3A South located east of the Miami Canal between I-75 and L-67A levee will remain to open to public access.

The closures do not apply to licensed and permitted individuals using boats — excluding airboats — on established canals to participate in the state’s alligator harvest program or in-season waterfowl hunting, fishing, frogging and non-native reptile removal. However, they have to stay at least 100 yards away from any tree island to avoid disturbing wildlife.

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Permitted python removal contractors from the South Florida Water Management District or the FWC may use vehicles on levee roads, other than the L4 south and L5 south levee roads.