Fact and Figures
110,000 acres of nearly pristine, subtropical mangrove-forested estuary
The Rookery Bay and Ten Thousand Islands ecosystem is a prime example of a nearly pristine subtropical mangrove forested estuary. RBNERR is located in the West Florida subregion of the West Indian Biogeographic Region. The total estimated surface area of open waters encompassed within proposed boundaries is 70,000 acres, 64 percent of RBNERR. The remaining 40,000 acres are composed primarily of mangroves, fresh to brackish water marshes, and upland habitats.
Rookery Bay has a surface area of 1,034 acres and a mean depth of about 1 m. Salinities range from 18.5 to 39.4 parts per thousand with lower values occurring during the wet season from May through October. Highest values occur during the dry seasons (winter and spring) and can exceed those of the open Gulf of Mexico (35-36 parts per thousand).
Land and Title
Outstanding Florida Waters Designation
Approximately 3,772 acres within the RBNERR boundaries are leased to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) by NAS, The Nature Conservancy, and CSF. State-owned lands, including 70,000 acres of submerged lands and approximately 22,928 acres of acquired lands, are held in fee simple title by the Board of Trustees. Approximately 13,300 additional acres within the boundaries were acquired by the state as part of a settlement agreement with the Deltona Corporation. Parcels totaling approximately 500 acres represent privately-owned in holdings within RBNERR.
DEP has proposed for NOAA consideration that the boundaries of the RBNERR be expanded to incorporate adjacent state-owned coastal and submerged lands. DEP has designated all tidally connected waters within the boundaries of RBNERR and Cape Romano/Ten Thousand Islands Aquatic Preserves as Class II and Outstanding Florida Waters (OFW). OFW designation implements the state's highest standards for proposed developments, and does not allow for direct discharges that would lower ambient water quality, or indirect discharges that would significantly degrade water quality.