Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve provides important habitat for beach-nesting birds including least terns, black skimmers and Wilson's plover. Below is the list of areas that are closed this year in cooperation with Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. All are considered "partial" closings with exception to Second Chance Critical Wildlife Area, which is completely closed to all landings. A "partial" closing involves shorebird signs tied together with string and flagging around an active nesting area. People may stand or walk outside of the signs but may not cross the string to prevent accidentally stepping on eggs or chicks. Even the experienced eye can miss hidden nests.
Second Chance Critical Wildlife Area: complete closure until August 31, or if there is no nesting activity, two weeks after last bird has fledged, as outlined in the ordinance of the CWA, and enforced by FWC.
Morgan Beach: Partial closure until late July or August, depending on plover activity
New Beach: Partial closure until July or August
South Keewaydin: Partial closures around central lagoon and area south of the last trail to the Gulf side until late August.
Caxambas bar closest to Gulf: Partial closure until late August
B Key: Partial closure until late August
Least terns and skimmers will dictate additional closures. We cannot predict where they will nest this year, but we will follow their lead with signs.