Issues & AWE-inspiring
Audubon success with new Critical Wildlife Areas: At the FL Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) meeting
in St. Petersburg on November 17, the Commission voted unanimously to create
13 new and 5 expanded Critical Wildlife Areas for coastal birds!
Based in many cases on Audubon data, these protections
will allow the posting of in-water buffers around nesting and roosting islands
to protect rare and declining coastal birds from devastating disturbance.
This vote was the culmination of more than a year of work
for Audubon staff, chapters and partners who advocated at public meetings
around the state during the summer and at full Commission meetings in Apalachicola,
St. Augustine and St. Petersburg.
At the meeting, more than 28 supporters spoke including
representatives from ten Audubon chapters. Despite objections from anglers
and boaters opposed to these common sense protections, the FWC supported
Audubon's position to establish more CWAs in one year than were created
in the last 30 years combined! Read more HERE.
Florida Panther Protection Program: In cooperation with 8 major landowners and three other conservation
groups, Audubon of the Western Everglades (AWE) works to incentivize ranchers
and farmers to protect and restore huge acreages of connected Florida panther
habitat. Additional sustainable development rights are granted in impacted
areas for stewardship actions in core habitat. Read more HERE.
Everglades Restoration: AWE,
in collaboration with many allies, is advocating essential ways to move
more water south to the Everglades and Florida Bay, while restoring estuarine,
wetland and upland habitats along the way. That currently involves building
the C-43 Reservoir, the Central Everglades Planning Project, Picayune Strand
(South Golden Gate), and overdue federal authorization via Water Resource
Development Act (WRDA). It also could involve RESTORE Act funds from the
BP oil spill penalties. See more Everglades Restoration information HERE.
Wetland Rules and Restoration:
The nation and the Everglades have continued to lose wetlands despite the
"No Net Loss" policy since 1989. AWE and Audubon Florida are advocating
better rules in current state rulemaking to be mirrored in federal procedures,
in addition to expanding wetland restoration. This is what is needed to
bring Wood Stork back to Corkscrew Swamp and the Everglades. Read the AWE/Audubon Florida letter.
Ways to Help
Collier Shorebird Stewards: Every
April August, thousands of imperiled beach nesting birds arrive on
Marco Island's Sand Dollar spit to raise their young. Audubon of the Western
Everglades (AWE), in partnership with other groups/agencies, trains volunteers
each spring to "steward" these large colonies, taking data and
sharing quick messages with the public. Please consider joining us. It is
hard work but very rewarding. Email Brad
Volunteer: Staffing exhibition
tables at events, leading field trips, participating in bird counts/monitoring
and other citizen science work, assisting education and Young Birders' Club,
plus technical advocacy help all require staffing well beyond our three
professional positions. Please call the office for more information: (239)
Audubon Florida Conservation Network: Audubon Florida has developed an online advocacy center that is
effective at targeting messages from citizens to decision makers on important
environmental issues. It also shares fact sheets, topic-specific brief newsletters,
and tools to be a great Florida and Western Everglades conservation advocate.
Sign up by clicking HERE.
JOIN US! Our voice for conservation
is amplified tremendously when you join us. Please consider becoming a member
of AWE today by clicking HERE.