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Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve Quick Topics

"Because of its pristine condition, Cockroach Bay has become established as Tampa Bay's premier estuarine outdoor classroom for generations of students of all ages."

Randy Runnels, Aquatic Preserve Manager


Hillsborough County


4,800 acres of sovereign submerged lands


Randy Runnels, Manager
Tampa Bay Aquatic Preserves
130 77th Street East
Terra Ceia, FL 34250

Download a fact sheet.

Mangrove islands
  • The name "Cockroach Bay" may have originated with early explorers who observed numerous horseshoe crabs in the area.
  • This is the only aquatic preserve in Florida in which the submerged land of the preserve is not state-owned. The submerged lands are owned by Hillsborough Port Authority.
  • The aquatic preserve includes two paddling trails that wind through mangrove labyrinths.
  • Numerous mangrove islands provide nursery areas for snook, red drum, and other gamefish.
  • Submerged habitats include seagrass beds, hardbottom, and oyster reefs.
  • Archaeological sites indicate the importance of this area to pre-Columbian Native Americans.

Management Plan Update

The Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve Management Plan has just been updated. A draft plan was produced and made available to the public for review and comment, and has subsequently been revised. The management plan was presented to the Acquisition and Restoration Council, for review, and approved on February 17, 2017. Then, the management plan was approved by the Board of Trustees on April 11, 2017.

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Last updated: May 30, 2017

  3900 Commonwealth Boulevard M.S. 235 Tallahassee, Florida 32399 850-245-2094
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