Egret Rescue at Bird Rookery Swamp

On Friday, visitor and photographer Bill Grabinski noticed an egret that was entangled in fishing line.

Fortunately, Kathleen Smith, FWC biologist for the CREW Project, was on site at Bird Rookery Swamp and was able to assist. She noted that someone had cut their fising line and the hook was on the bird’s leg, and the line was entangled on the shore. When the bird would attempt to fly away, it would be yanked back. She was able to untangle the bird from the line and release it.

Mr. Grabinski captured the rescue in the photos below.

If you see wildlife that needs assistance while hiking the CREW Trails, contact the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-3922 to speak directly to an FWC representative.

CREW FWC Biologist Kathleen Smith honored as Resource Manager of the Year

From FWC Press Release 8/15/2018

photo from FWC flickr account


Kathleen Smith, a biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), has been honored with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Resource Manager of the Year award for her work at the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed Wildlife and Environmental Area in southwest Florida over the past six years.

The award, presented to her at the Governor and Cabinet’s Aug. 14 meeting in Tallahassee, recognizes outstanding resource management achievements by the hundreds of resource managers who protect state properties.

Smith was recognized for her passion and commitment to conserving wildlife while working in partnership with the South Florida Water Management District that co-manages this WEA, which is in Lee and Collier counties. One focus has been work on the federally endangered Florida bonneted bat. Smith has shared 240,000 acoustic bat call signatures she collected, and then analyzed the data used to develop monitoring and permitting protocols for this rare native species.

She also recognizes the CREW WEA is not just important for listed species but is a popular recreational destination. She has worked hard to maintain public access when hydrological restoration projects caused closures to roads and areas within the WEA.

“It is abundantly clear that Kathleen accepted the position of the CREW WEA area biologist with the aim to expand its duties, and to greatly enhance the research, monitoring and restoration of the species and habitats that make CREW WEA such a unique treasure to the region,” said her supervisor Daniel Mitchell, who nominated her for the award. “Kathleen’s impact on conservation goes beyond the footprint of CREW, as she has assisted with conflict wildlife issues in the area involving bears and panthers. She has a great ability to communicate with the public and goes the extra mile – like translating information into both Spanish and Creole languages to communicate better with Farm Workers Village residents in Immokalee on wildlife issues such as beingBearWise.”

“Kathleen possesses all the traits of an exemplary resource manager, including a strong work ethic, leadership ability, tremendous organizational and interpersonal skills, and dedication to going above and beyond her regular job duties,” said Kipp Frohlich, Director of the FWC’s Division of Habitat and Species Management. “We are so proud that she is being recognized for her great work and we are truly fortunate to have her on our FWC team.”

Smith’s work ethic and dedication might have been best exemplified last year when her housing was significantly damaged by Hurricane Irma.

“The hurricane didn’t slow her down one bit,” said her supervisor. “Despite personal hardship, she worked tirelessly on clearing trails, preventing further damage and coordinating repairs at CREW WEA.”

Visit and click on “Wildlife Management Areas” to learn more about the FWC’s WMAs and WEAs throughout the state.

2018-2019 Hunting Season starts Saturday

Cypress Dome Trails – hunters should expect wet trail conditions with mud in many areas.


The 2018-2019 hunting season begins Saturday, August 4 with archery season, which ends August 14.

The Cypress Dome Trails and Caracara Prairie Reserve are locations where hunting takes place during hunting season. Signs will be posted at the trailheads to inform other user groups about the current hunting dates. Hunting also takes place within the Flint Pen Strand unit but the trails are not yet complete and the parking lot is not open at this time. Hunting season does not take place on the CREW Marsh Trails or in Bird Rookery Swamp.

There are several quota hunts within the CREW WEA each year :

Archery – August 4-12, 2018

Muzzleloading Gun – September 1-3, 2018

General Gun – November 17-25, 2018 

Small Game Season – December 1-30, 2018

Spring Turkey – March 2-5 and 6-10, 2019

Please check for updated information during the 2018-2019 season.

Hunting on the CREW Wildlife and Environmental Area (WEA) is regulated by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Hunting is an important management tool, helping to control potentially devastating wild hog populations and maintaining healthy populations of other game species.

For more information about current hunting regulations for CREW, getting quota permits, and season dates, check the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website. To learn more about and sign up for FWC Hunter Safety Courses, visit

Trail Conditions 

Information and directions to the CREW Trails

2018-2019 CREW Wildlife and Environmental Area Hunting Brochure





CREW Deer Monitoring Reveals Unexpected Wildlife Encounter

Monitoring wildlife populations helps us understand the health and status of various species and provides essential information when making land and wildlife management decisions at CREW.

Kathleen Smith, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission biologist assigned to CREW, conducts  deer surveys in portions of CREW using remote sensing cameras. In addition to providing information on the deer populations, these surveys help test specific methods for estimating deer populations. Using baited stations with remote sensing cameras set up nearby, the bait stations and cameras are deployed for about two weeks. Then the photos are analyzed and deer numbers, gender, ages, and activity recorded.

Anytime remote cameras are set up in the woods, it is expected that a variety of wildlife will appear and be captured as they enter the viewfinder of the camera. But you don’t always expect “action shots” of animals doing crazy things in the wild. This year, however, was an exception. As the photos got downloaded to the computers, and Kathleen and her team were quickly flipping through them, one particular action shot caught their attention. Take a look at the following sequence of photos to see what caught their eye… (click on each photo for a larger image)

Raccoon visits bait station (Photo by FFWCC)
Raccoon visits bait station (Photo by FFWCC)
Alligator attacks raccoon (Photo by FFWCC)
Alligator attacks raccoon (Photo by FFWCC)
Alligator after attack on raccoon (Photo by FFWCC)
Alligator after attack on raccoon (Photo by FFWCC)

How’s that for a surprise? Pretty amazing timing for a remote camera shot! And so much for the bait station! What do you think…did the raccoon get away?

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