South Florida Water Management District Opens Additional Stormwater Treatment Area to Recreational Duck Hunting
Duck hunting opportunities are expanding in constructed wetlands that are part of major Everglades Restoration work undertaken by the South Florida Water Management District.
Stormwater Treatment Area 2 (STA-2) in Palm Beach County is being established as a public small game hunting area as part of the District's continuing commitment to broaden land access for public recreation. South Florida Water Management District Governing Board recently approved expanding hunting opportunities on District lands.
Beginning in September, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will manage hunts in STA-2, as it does for the hunts already allowed in STA-1W, STA-3/4 and STA-5. The FWC begins issuing permits for waterfowl hunting in stormwater treatment areas at 10 a.m., August. 28, on a first-come, first-served basis.
Stormwater treatment areas are constructed wetlands designed to reduce levels of the nutrient phosphorus in surface water flowing into the Southern Everglades. High levels of phosphorus encourage the overgrowth of non-native species, altering habitat for Florida's native plant and animal life. In an STA, water is channeled through large treatment cells filled with plants that naturally take up phosphorus before the water is released. The cells are relatively shallow, making them prime locations for native wildlife including waterfowl, fish, turtles and alligators.
More than 40,000 acres of treatment areas are in operation in South Florida, and another 18,000 acres of these created wetlands are under construction.
The District also expanded alligator hunting opportunities in April, opening STA-1W in Palm Beach County to harvests managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The decision came after last year's successful alligator hunting in STA-5 in Hendry County. Weekend hunts at both locations begin August 15 and continue through the end of October. Note that motorized boats are not allowed. The boating restriction is designed to prevent motors from stirring up plants and sediments in the stormwater treatment area.
Throughout the District, there are about 633,000 acres of land where bird hunting, game hunting, boating, fishing and other recreational opportunities are available. A partial list includes the Kissimmee River Valley Public Use Area in Osceola, Okeechobee, Polk, Highlands and Glades counties, Dupuis Management Area in Palm Beach and Martin counties, Stormwater Treatment Area 5 in Hendry County and Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed (CREW) Wildlife and Environmental Area in Lee County.
For additional information about duck and alligator hunting, and to apply for permits and hunting licenses, contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at (850) 488-4676, or visit the agency's website at www.myfwc.com and click the hunting link.
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