Wildlife Management Areas
Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) are intended to minimize disturbance to sensitive or endangered wildlife and their habitats, such as bird nesting, resting or feeding areas, and turtle nesting beaches. Regulations governing WMAs are designed to provide opportunities for public use while protecting wildlife. These areas often include no-motor zones, idle speed only/no wake zones, and buffer and closed zones.
There are currently 27 WMAs in the sanctuary. Twenty of these areas are co-managed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of their plan for managing backcountry portions of the national wildlife refuges in the Florida Keys. The remaining seven WMAs are under sanctuary management.
Public-access restrictions in WMAs include idle speed only/no wake, no access buffer, no motor, and limited closures, and are marked as such on white and orange information/regulatory cylindrical spar buoys.