Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Florida’s Rookery Bay reserve encompasses one of the few pristine, mangrove-forested estuaries in the United States. The reserve is a critical breeding ground for important fisheries like blue crab, stone crab, snook, tarpon, and snapper. Its 110,000 acres of open water, mangroves, marshes, and upland habitat are home to manatees, dolphins, and 150 species of birds, as well as threatened and endangered animals, such as the Florida panther. Rookery Bay staff work to promote the informed stewardship of estuaries in Southwest Florida through research and education.

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Vital Stats

  • State: Florida
  • State Partner:

    Florida Department of Environmental Protection

  • Acreage: 110,000
  • Habitats: 70,000 acres of open waters and 40,000 acres of mangroves, fresh to brackish water marshes, and upland habitats
  • Designated: 1978
  • Site Profile: View
The Rookery Bay reserve participates in the System-Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP), which collects, analyzes, and makes available weather, water quality, and nutrient data from all National Estuarine Research Reserves. Learn more


Explore the Rookery Bay reserve on a guided nature tour, paddle through the mangrove tunnels on a kayak, display your artistic talent at a local artist-led workshop, or enjoy the daily programs about slithering snakes, native orchids, or sharks at the Environmental Learning Center.


Become an interpretive guide or an Estuary Explorers assistant, help at the touch tank and feed the fish, or call on your maintenance and gardening skills to help with the preservation and restoration of the reserve. There are many opportunities to become part of the Rookery Bay team.

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Become a Friend

Friends of Rookery Bay connect people with the reserve’s dynamic coastal environment and generate community involvement through volunteer programs, outreach, and fundraising.

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Did you know?

The Rookery Bay reserve contains the largest remaining intact mangrove estuaries in the United States.


Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
300 Tower Road, Naples, FL 34113
T: 239-530-5940