Coastal Wildlife Conservation Initiative
Vision Statement: Ensure the long-term conservation of native wildlife in coastal ecosystems throughout Florida in balance with human activities
Coastal areas play an important role in both Florida's socio-economic well-being and that of its wildlife. Tourists and resident Floridians enjoy the coasts as recreational areas for swimming, surfing, bird watching, shell collecting, fishing and a variety of other uses. Hotels, restaurants and beach vendors require an active tourist industry, which in turn fuels the local economy. Development along the coast has been profitable for individuals, companies and local and state governments. Protecting these economic interests has led to public works projects such as beach nourishment, inlet dredging and shoreline hardening.
Many species are dependent upon coastal areas for all or part of their life cycle. Habitat loss and degradation due to recreational and commercial activities have led to declining wildlife populations and few remaining healthy natural areas. These natural areas are also sites that many coastal visitors enjoy for recreation. Pressures on coastal resources have led to the declining populations of many species such as shorebirds, sea turtles, and beach mice. An integrated approach that focuses on wildlife and habitat needs as well as socio-economic issues, and includes participation by partners and input from stakeholders is needed to address in a balanced manner the range of activities that impact coastal wildlife.? The CWCI is an FWC-led effort to develop this type of integrated approach.