Cockroach Bay ELAPP site, 350 ha;
Cockroach Bay State Buffer Preserve, 144 ha;
Dot-Dash Colony, <2 ha;
E.G. Simmons Park, 187 ha;
Emerson Point, 101 ha;
Piney Point, 4 ha;
Tampa Bay Estuarine Ecosystem SOR Project, ? ha;
Terra Ceia State Buffer Preserve, 576 ha;
Washburn Sanctuary, 6.8 ha;
Wolf Branch ELAPP Site, 509 ha;

Located in southwestern Hillsborough County and northwestern Manatee County, along the eastern shorelines of Hillsborough Bay and Tampa Bay (south of Apollo Beach), and including the Manatee River eastward to the mouth of the Braden River. Near the Hillsborough Bay IBA to the north, and the Lower Tampa Bay IBA to the west.

Several coastal areas and mangrove keys that contain wading bird colonies. Many of the wetland sites are currently under restoration. Access is primarily by boat, but access to some uplands is planned. Much of the estuarine habitats of this IBA are part of the Cockroach Bay and Terra Ceia aquatic preserves. ELAPP sites are owned and managed by Hillsborough County?s Environmental lands Acquisition and Protection Program.

Indian shell mounds occur on some of the uplands. ? Part of this IBA has been designated by +Cox et al. (1994) as a Strategic Habitat Conservation Area.

Ornithological Summary

The islands support significant colonial waterbird rookeries, and Washburn Sanctuary contains one of the two most diverse rookeries in Florida. Mangrove forests support some Mangrove Cuckoos, which approach their northern range limits within this IBA. Only a rudimentary bird list is available.

Conservation Issues

Uplands at Emerson Point, Cockroach Bay ELAPP site, and Wolf Branch ELAPP site are being restored to native communities. At the Wolf Branch site, which was first a citrus grove and then tomato farms, shallow wetlands are being excavated for wetlands mitigation. ? Eradication of exotic plants (mainly Australian-pine and Brazilian pepper) are underway at most upland sites. ? Colony islands are posted and monitored during the nesting season to reduce human intrusion, and raccoons are removed seasonally. ? Cordgrass and mangroves have been planted to stabilize the shorelines of Washburn Sanctuary, but erosion continues to be a problem.

Ownership

Florida Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas (Cockroach Bay and Terra Ceia state buffer preserves), State of Florida and Carlton Arms development (Dot-Dash colony); Hillsborough County (Cockroach Bay and Wolf Branch ELAPP sites, and E.G. Simmons Park); Audubon of Florida (Washburn Sanctuary), and private owners (Piney Point).

Habitat

*mangrove forest, *estuarine, tidal marsh, salt barrens, uplands under restoration

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