visit the learning center

event list

kayak and boat tours

Prospective tenants must complete the online reservation form below in order to reserve space in one of our dormitories.

Facilities Description

The Shell Island Road Dormitory is located at the Rookery Bay Field Station on 10 Shell Island Road, which is off Collier Boulevard (CR 951) a few miles south of the reserve's headquarters and Environmental Learning Center. The Rookery Bay Field Station includes a classroom, office, bathroom and primitive laboratory and a wet lab, docks with slips for approximately 8 boats, small storage area, and the dormitory. The dormitory has a capacity for 10 visitors: 4 bedrooms with bunk beds and one full bathroom. It has a common area and a kitchen equipped with a refrigerator/freezer, stove, oven, microwave, sink, coffeemaker and kitchenware. Be aware that, while WiFi is available, there is no landline telephone. Instructions for WiFi access are located on a laminated sheet on the refrigerator.

The Ten Thousand Islands Field Station dormitory is located at 2561 San Marco Road (State Road 92) at the corner of County Road 892 on the way to Goodland. It is about 10 miles away from the Reserve headquarters and due east of Marco Island. It is currently a small dormitory field station, which can accommodate up to 4 people in two rooms: it has a full bathroom, a small kitchen equipped with refrigerator/freezer, stove, oven, microwave, sink, coffeemaker and kitchenware, an adjacent small storage building, a dock for 3 boats and a mobile fueling station. It has WiFi and a landline phone. Plans to build a new, larger dormitory facility at this location are in the works. Construction is expected to get underway in 2018.

Reservations

Tenants will be assigned a Reserve staff member as their host throughout their stay. The host will be the immediate contact for any needs and emergencies.

To reserve space in one of our dormitories, prospective tenants must complete the online reservation form (below). Check the box to confirm agreement to the Rookery Bay Reserve Dormitory Policy before submitting the reservation request. Keep in mind that most tenants share dorm space with other individuals. Once a reservation is received it will be routed to the appropriate staff member for approval. Following approval, the designated host will send a reservation confirmation within 3-5 business days via email.  Additional considerations:

  • Reservations should be made at least a month in advance.
  • The maximum length of stay is limited to two weeks, unless an extension is granted.
  • If cancellation is necessary, please do so as far in advance as possible (minimally two days notice) so that we may accommodate other requests.
  • The host will provide notice if there are any changes to the original reservation.

Eligible Guests Include:

  • A student or visiting investigator doing work within Reserve boundaries
  • A natural resource management support partner
  • A guest/attendee participating in a Reserve-hosted workshop or training 

Fee Schedule
The Friends of Rookery Bay, the Reserve's citizen support organization, facilitates the operation of the dormitories and reservations. In order to defray the costs associated with the maintenance and operation of the facilities, the Friends requests a tax-deductible contribution for all tenants. Nightly fees range from $20 (student) to $40 (scientists, educators).

A few days prior to arrival the primary tenant will receive an email with payment instructions and a link to PayPal where credit card payments can be processed. Alternatively, credit card payment may be made in person at the front desk of the Environmental Learning Center during business hours. Any check payments must be made payable to Friends of Rookery Bay and provided to the designated host for processing.

Arrival and Departure
Tenants must coordinate arrival with their designated host, who will provide an overview briefing, including a tour of the facility, additional contact information, visitor guidelines and safety and security operations.
Please keep in mind that the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is closed on weekends and on official State holidays.
Tenants must schedule a departure time with the host, who will be responsible for conducting a quick inspection of the facility prior to check-out.

Vessels and Docking
Scientists conducting field work are required to complete a Visiting Scientist application form. Field researchers are permitted to bring their own vessel and trailer. Recommended vessel size is 17' – 20' with a shallow draft. Users are responsible for fueling and any other cost involved. Tenants may request logistic support or the use of a Reserve vessel and equipment via the application form. Management approval for logistic assistance must be provided in advance. Use of a Reserve vessel is available and may be reserved for $90/day without an operator, $140/day if operator assistance is required.

Housekeeping Rules
• Tenants are responsible for their own bedding and towels (pillows are provided).
• All dishes and cookware should be washed and stored appropriately, rooms should be swept clean, garbage placed in the dumpsters, and food and beverages need to be removed from the premises upon departure.
• Do not remove books, maps, and posters (but feel free to add to the book collection.)
• No unregistered visitors are allowed overnight.
• Alcohol consumption is not permitted in the field station buildings or on the premises.
• Smoking is not allowed inside the buildings or within 25 feet of the property.
• No sunbathing or fishing are allowed on the dock or on shore.
• Do not store flammable liquids inside the buildings.
• Dock or shed use must be approved prior to arrival.
• No long-term storage is allowed on the premises.
• No pets allowed.

 

Make Reservations

GIS-Banner-915

Reserve staff use GIS (Geographic Information System) technology to map the locations of natural resources, plan for public access (camp sites, trails, protected areas), and educate the community about coastal processes and change events. 

1940 2016 storymap rookery bay 2018

Post-Irma Storymap

Changing Shorelines

Story-mapping is a cool new way of using technology to see geographical changes over time. Follow the links below to see story maps depicting shoreline changes in the reserve. The images tell a powerful story.

Seventy Years of Island Dynamics

Access the 1940-2018 map here.

Access the Post-Irma map here (map credit: SERT).

 

Interactive Map

Research Projects and Public Access Sites

The research department has developed an interactive, web-based map application that shows the large number of science projects taking place within its boundaries. Dots on the map reference more than 570 study sites for research and monitoring programs that have been, or are currently being conducted by visiting scientists and reserve staff. Search criteria on the app include project type (staff or visiting scientist), research and monitoring categories ranging from bats to weather, as well as the project status. When a point is clicked a pop-up window explains the goals of the project, names the principal investigator and their affiliation, and shows photos if available. Dots also represent the public access sites including boat launches, walking trails and paddle trail.

 

Access the map here.

 

Habitat Story Map

Habitat Map

The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is 110,000 acres. Mapping all of the upland and benthic habitats presents many challenges due to the remoteness of these areas and the turbid water conditions. The habitat map is not perfect and is a work in progress! The interactive map allows users to view and search the various habitats in the Rookery Bay Reserve area. Users can also print and share maps of their areas of interest.

 

 

Access the map here.

 

Shape Files

Below please find links to some of our shape files available for you to download:

thumbnail RBNERR Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve boundary
 Download Shapefile 

thumbnail - RBAP Rookery Bay Aquatic Preserve boundary
 Download Shapefile

thumbnail CR TT AP Cape Romano – Ten Thousand Islands Aquatic Preserve boundary
 Download Shapefile

 

Additional Spatial Data and Tools

Helpful links for additional shapefile downloads can be found here:

Final Reports

Four-page Project Overview (13 MB)
NEW! Final Project Report (8 MB)

Fact Sheets

Identifying freshwater flows (3 MB)
Understanding fishery trends (1.9 MB)
Identifying changes in aquatic habitats (3 MB)
Understanding local attitudes about water (4 MB)

Technical Reports: Hydrology

Existing Conditions and Natural Systems Rookery Bay Watershed Model including the Identification of Estuarine Inflow Goals (18.7 MB)
Henderson Creek Weir/Gate Operation Scenario (4.1 MB)
Belle Meade Agricultural Area Conversion Scenarios (5.4 MB)
Rookery Bay/Fakahatchee Bay Watershed Comparison (5.7 MB)
Compilation of Proposed Watershed Improvement Projects within the Rookery Bay Watershed (3.3 MB)

Technical Reports: Ecology

Literature Review of Existing Biological Data to Identify Potential Biological Indicators for the Rookery Bay Estuary (2.1 MB)
Benthic Habitat Maps for the Rookery Bay Reserve from Aerial Photo Interpretation (6.6 MB)
Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) Trend Analysis for the Rookery Bay Estuary (2.5 MB)
Historical Fisheries Data Analyses in Rookery Bay (1 MB)
Vegetation Mapping and Trend Analyses at the Rookery Bay Watershed Discharge Locations (2.9 MB)

Technical Reports: Social Science

Literature review of attitudes, beliefs and behaviors related to water and water-related decision-making (2.1 MB)
Qualitative Case Study Research on Attitudes and Perceptions of Stakeholders in the Rookery Bay Reserve Watershed (1.1 MB)
Research on Water Councils, Watershed Groups, and Watershed Management (0.5 MB)
Getting the Water Right poster (JPEG - 3 MB)
Four-page Project Summary handout (14 MB)

Return to project main page

The value of water differs among user groupsTo better understand water resources decision-making and to include stakeholders in the design and delivery of research and educational products, and to educate diverse stakeholders about water resources management, a range of activities were included in the project. Two social science research projects were conducted to identify the attitudes, beliefs and behaviors held locally about water resources in both personal and professional situations. This was the first social science research conducted in Collier County on watershed management.

The Project Advisory Group provided insights on the design and analysis of all major research efforts and assisted in sharing the information with others through supporting RBNERR staff in setting up meetings and presentations. A series of presentations were also given throughout the region, and information was shared through the creation of handouts for decision-makers, a poster for students and teachers, and an exhibit on land-use in the Rookery Bay watershed that was installed in the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center.

Download printer-friendly fact sheet (4 MB) about social science research on water attitudes

Projects

Literature review of attitudes, beliefs and behaviors related to water and water-related decision-making (2.1 MB)
Qualitative Case Study Research on Attitudes and Perceptions of Stakeholders in the Rookery Bay Reserve Watershed (1.1 MB)
Research on Water Councils, Watershed Groups, and Watershed Management (0.5 MB)
Getting the Water Right poster (JPEG - 3 MB)
Four-page Project Summary handout (14 MB)

Map of submerged habitats in the Ten Thousand IslandsTo better understand how altered freshwater inflows to the Rookery Bay estuary have affected the ecology of the area, a series of research projects were conducted. An additional goal of the ecological research was to identify potential indicator species and research approaches that could be applied over the long-term to monitor estuarine health and the potential impacts of future watershed management projects. The research that was conducted included upland mapping and benthic habitat mapping to identify trends and establish baseline conditions to assess future changes. In addition, previous studies were reviewed. One effort reviewed three fisheries research projects to identify trends, and another looked at published literature on ecological indicators identified by other researchers, which was conducted. This series of projects resulted in identification of data gaps along with recommendations focused on future research and monitoring to capture changes and trends in ecological health of the estuary.

Download printer-friendly fact sheet about Habitats in the estuary (3 MB)

Download printer-friendly fact sheet about Fisheries in the estuary (1.9 MB)

Projects

Literature Review of Existing Biological Data to Identify Potential Biological Indicators for the Rookery Bay Estuary (2.1 MB)
Benthic Habitat Maps for the Rookery Bay Reserve from Aerial Photo Interpretation (6.6 MB)
Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) Trend Analysis for the Rookery Bay Estuary (6.5 MB)
Historical Fisheries Data Analyses in Rookery Bay (1 MB)
Vegetation Mapping and Trend Analyses at the Rookery Bay Watershed Discharge Locations (2.9 MB)

Conceptual diagram illustrating water cycle processes

To better understand altered freshwater inflows to the Rookery Bay estuary, a series of research projects focused on hydraulic and hydrologic modeling. Two models were created, including a current conditions model and a natural systems model that represents pre-development, or historic, conditions in the Rookery Bay watershed. These were used to identify potential freshwater inflow goals for the Rookery Bay estuary and to analyze several scenarios. A hydrologic model is a computer-based representation of the water cycle, which is the movement of water on, above, and under the earth's surface (see figure above). A seventh effort focused on identifying and summarizing watershed management projects that were proposed within the Collier County Watershed Management Plan (WMP). The WMP is the community's guiding document and the research results obtained from the modeling effort have already informed those projects. This series of hydrology-related project elements resulted in a series of recommendations related to the future use of models, the identification of watershed subbasins with water deficits and overages, and increased understanding of the challenges and benefits of proposed watershed projects.

Download printer-friendly fact sheet (4 MB) about hydrologic modeling

Projects

Existing Conditions and Natural Systems Rookery Bay Watershed Model including the Identification of Estuarine Inflow Goals (18.7 MB)
Henderson Creek Weir/Gate Operation Scenario (4.1 MB)
Belle Meade Agricultural Area Conversion Scenarios (5.4 MB)
Rookery Bay/Fakahatchee Bay Watershed Comparison (5.7 MB)
Compilation of Proposed Watershed Improvement Projects within the Rookery Bay Watershed (3.3 MB)

1998 2019 Keewaydin Shoreline 400Mapping the shoreline is one way Reserve staff uses GIS technology to monitor coastal processes and guide management activity. Each year, staff collect GPS locations along the vegetation line to map dynamic coastal areas such as Keewaydin Island.

Although Keewaydin Island has changed significantly over the years, our 2019 data shows little change. The island eroded 450 feet after Hurricane Irma and it hasn’t accreted back yet as shown by the 2019 shoreline. Historically, this map shows some considerable accretion, meaning that the island is growing longer from year to year. 

Learn more about Keewaydin Island.

Visiting Scientists

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve serves as an outdoor classroom and laboratory for students and scientists from around the world. The Visiting Scientist program encourages graduate students and other researchers to conduct their studies in the reserve -- reserve staff can draw on the expertise of these individuals when making management decisions. Current Visiting Scientist research includes studies of Burmese pythons, invasive plants, native box turtles, and nearly 100 others.

Check out our interactive map showing all current and past research projects.

To conduct research within Reserve boundaries, you must register using our Visiting Scientist Form (see link below).

Laboratories

labs

Rookery Bay Reserve has various facilities available for use by Visiting Scientists. The Research wing at Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center (on Tower Road) houses a dry and a wet lab with standard lab supplies and equipment. The Shell Island Road Field Station has a newly renovated lab conveniently located next to Henderson Creek and available for necropsies and processing of field samples. A new facility is currently underway at our Ten Thousand Islands Field Station in Goodland.

Dormitories

dormsDormitory rooms are available at the Shell Island Road Field Station (on lower Henderson Creek) in south Naples and the Ten Thousand Islands Field Station in Goodland.These facilities are operated for the purpose of providing logistic support and overnight accommodatiions for reserve visitors conducting research, education, resource management or other projects consistent with the mission of the reserve and Florida DEP.

The Friends of Rookery Bay, Inc., a non-profit citizen support organization for the reserve, facilitates the operation of the two field stations by accepting tax-deductible fee donations to defray the costs associated with the maintenance and operation of the facilities.

All visitors are required to read and abide by the Dormitory Use Policy. In order to stay in either of our facilities it is necessary to request a reservation by completing our Dormitory Reservation Form.

Reservations

 Visiting Scientist Registration

In order to better and safely accommodate the existing, and growing, population of visiting investigators, the Reserve has developed this mandatory registration form. Failure to provide accurate information or notify the front desk of excursions to remote areas will result in loss of Reserve visiting scientist privileges. 

Register

GIS Mapping

GIS-Banner-915

Reserve staff use GIS (Geographic Information System) technology to map the locations of natural resources, plan for public access (camp sites, trails, protected areas), and educate the community about coastal processes and change events. 

1940 2016 storymap rookery bay 2018

Post-Irma Storymap

Changing Shorelines

Story-mapping is a cool new way of using technology to see geographical changes over time. Follow the links below to see story maps depicting shoreline changes in the reserve. The images tell a powerful story.

Seventy Years of Island Dynamics

Access the 1940-2018 map here.

Access the Post-Irma map here (map credit: SERT).

 

Interactive Map

Research Projects and Public Access Sites

The research department has developed an interactive, web-based map application that shows the large number of science projects taking place within its boundaries. Dots on the map reference more than 570 study sites for research and monitoring programs that have been, or are currently being conducted by visiting scientists and reserve staff. Search criteria on the app include project type (staff or visiting scientist), research and monitoring categories ranging from bats to weather, as well as the project status. When a point is clicked a pop-up window explains the goals of the project, names the principal investigator and their affiliation, and shows photos if available. Dots also represent the public access sites including boat launches, walking trails and paddle trail.

 

Access the map here.

 

Habitat Story Map

Habitat Map

The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is 110,000 acres. Mapping all of the upland and benthic habitats presents many challenges due to the remoteness of these areas and the turbid water conditions. The habitat map is not perfect and is a work in progress! The interactive map allows users to view and search the various habitats in the Rookery Bay Reserve area. Users can also print and share maps of their areas of interest.

 

 

Access the map here.

 

Shape Files

Below please find links to some of our shape files available for you to download:

thumbnail RBNERR Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve boundary
 Download Shapefile 

thumbnail - RBAP Rookery Bay Aquatic Preserve boundary
 Download Shapefile

thumbnail CR TT AP Cape Romano – Ten Thousand Islands Aquatic Preserve boundary
 Download Shapefile

 

Additional Spatial Data and Tools

Helpful links for additional shapefile downloads can be found here:

Monitoring

Reserve staff monitor water, weather and wildlife in effort to inform management decisions by reserve managers and partners.

Learn about all of the different monitoring programs within the Reserve

Restoring the Rookery Bay Estuary

Restoring the Rookery Bay Estuary

The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (RBNERR) managed a grant-funded project called Restoring the Rookery Bay Estuary: Connecting People and Science for Long-term Community Benefit from March 2011 through June 2015. The project was funded by the National Estuarine Research Reserve System’s (NERRS) Science Collaborative which is a cooperative agreement between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of New Hampshire.

Access the project details here.

Sea Turtle Incubation Temperature Study

sea turtle nest temps 250

Temperature data loggers made by Onset (the loggers are called "HOBO") are opportunistically deployed in sea turtle nests on Keewaydin Island by Conservancy interns throughout the turtle nesting season. The study began after the Australian pine project to determine whether removing the pines affected incubation temperatures/sex ratios. 

nest temps w precip 250The study has continued in effort to examine long term temperature trends and the role environmental factors (rain, air temperature, storm events, climate change) play in determining hatchling sex. Reference loggers are also deployed in the sand along Keewaydin to record temperatures throughout the nesting season. For the past several years, loggers have also been deployed on Cape Romano so sand temperatures can be compared to Keewaydin. In 2013, Sea turtle license plate funds made it possible to include Sea Oat Island in the comparative study.

Partnership: Conservancy of Southwest Florida

Why it's Important: Keewaydin appears to be producing male hatchlings regularly which makes it a very important nesting ground. Nests on the east coast of Florida are producing mainly female biased clutches so Keewaydin is supplying the South Florida Nesting Subpopulation with much needed males. This is one of the longest and most intensive incubation temperature studies of its kind and is contributing invaluable data into the professional community. The data are also being used to educate the public on the anthropogenic and environmental factors that influence sea turtle nests. Data were published in 2008 and have been presented at several of the Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation conferences. 

As of July 2018, 1,139 temperature data loggers have been deployed in sea turtle nests with the help of Conservancy interns.

Data Logger Website

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