Located at the northern end of the Ten Thousand Islands on the Gulf coast of Florida, Rookery Bay National
Estuarine Research Reserve (RBNERR) represents one of the few remaining undisturbed mangrove estuaries in North
America. An amazing world exists within the 110,000 acres of nearly pristine mangrove forest, uplands and protected
waters of Rookery Bay. A myriad of wildlife, including 150 species of birds and many threatened and endangered animals,
thrive in the estuarine environment and surrounding upland hammocks and scrub found within RBNERR.
The mission of RBNERR is to provide a basis for informed coastal decisions through land management, restoration, research
and education. RBNERR works in partnership with local communities to promote coastal stewardship. Located adjacent to one
of the fastest developing coastal areas in the United States, RBNERR is ideally suited as a regional hub for education
and research on estuaries.
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Environmental Learning Center
300 Tower Road
Naples, FL 34113
(239) 530-5983 FAX
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve comprises the western extent of the Everglades ecosystem, an
ecological region of international significance due to its high level of biodiversity, contiguous freshwater and marine
wetlands and abundance of coastal and marine wildlife. The natural and aesthetic values of the landscapes and wildlife
within RBNERR represent a significant economic contribution to southwest Florida. In 2008, over 1.3 million tourists
visited Collier County and the tourism industry is expected to yield over $1.06 billion per year to the local economy.
Annual visitation of RBNERR is nearly 750,000 people.
The estuarine environment of RBNERR provides an ideal setting for a variety of recreational activities, including
sportfishing, boating, hiking, sailing, bird watching or simply enjoying the aesthetics of the area. Recreational
fishing represents a primary public use of RBNERR resources and provides significant contributions to the economy of
local communities, including charter/guide services, sales of boats and fishing tackle and fuel. Major recreational
species include snook, mangrove snapper, sheepshead, redfish, tarpon and spotted sea trout. Commercially valuable
fishes and shellfish total 16 species, with mullet the principal finfish, and blue crabs and stone crabs the major
Collier County is currently ranked among the highest metropolitan growth rates and is considered one of the
fastest growing areas in the nation. The population has nearly quadrupled since 1980 to more than 330,000 estimated
residents. Current estimates predict an additional population increase of 64 percent through 2030. Projections by the
Collier County government anticipate continued growth in the next five to ten years along the
State Road 951 corridor (Collier Boulevard) and south of U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail). These areas are designated as urban
and directly adjoin the eastern and northern boundaries of RBNERR.
Rookery Bay Reserve to Host National Estuaries Day
On the last Saturday of September, there is an annual celebration of the 28 national estuarine research reserves.
The celebration aims to recognize the importance of the habitat where rivers meet the sea. Rookery Bay's event
will include staff-narrated boat tours, introductory 30-minute kayaking trips, free paddle boarding on Henderson
Creek, marine critter touch tank and other live animal presentations. Additionally, there will be games and crafts
for children, behind-the-scenes tours of the science labs, films, food and more. A special art exhibition by marine
life artist Guy Harvey will be on display in the gallery and merchandise will be available for purchase in the nature
The program will take place:
Saturday, September 27, 2014
10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Bay Environmental Learning Center
300 Tower Road