Alafia Bank Bird Sanctuary, 20 ha;
Islands 2D and 3D, 445 ha;

In Hillsborough Bay in southern Hillsborough County, between the city of Tampa and the Alafia River

Four artificial (spoil) islands created in Hillsborough Bay during the dredging of the Alafia River channel (Alafia Bank) or the main shipping channel to the Port of Tampa (Islands 2D and 3D), and nearby coastal estuaries north of the Alafia River. Alafia Bank is designated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as a Critical Wildlife Area. The islands are posted against human intrusion year-round, but boaters trespass frequently, especially during spring and summer.

Ornithological Summary

Despite their artificial nature, Alafia Bank and Islands 2D and 3D are critical breeding sites for several species of wading birds, shorebirds, and larids. Alafia Bank ranks with Washburn Sanctuary (Lower Tampa Bay IBA) as the most diverse colonial waterbird rookery site in Florida. This IBA also supports large numbers of migrant and wintering shorebirds. Only a rudimentary bird list is available.

Conservation Issues

*offsite development, *human disturbance, *exotic plants, *erosion, *raccoons, *discarded monofilament fishing line

Alafia Bank: The islands are posted and patrolled to control human access. ? Bird populations are monitored annually ? Raccoons are removed to prevent disruption or abandonment of the nesting colony ? Removal of monofilament fishing line is conducted seasonally. ? Erosion is controlled by occasional plantings of shoreline vegetation. ? The size of the islands are increased periodically from dredging projects. ? Exotic plants e.g., Brazilian pepper, ?white leadtree (Leucaena leucocephala) and ?carrotwood (Cupaniopsis anacardioides) are controlled as needed. ? Formerly posted seasonally, Islands 2D and 3D now will be permanently closed to public use for security reasons. ? A ?Migratory Bird Protection Committee? meets twice a year to anticipate dredging needs and to avoid nesting birds ? Long-term management and reconstruction of the islands remains an issue ? The upland portions of the islands are infested with exotic plants, especially lead tree and Brazilian pepper. ? Other coastal sites north to McKay Bay, including Delany Creek, should be considered as suitable additions to this IBA during later rounds of site selection.

Ownership

private (Alafia Bank is managed by Audubon of Florida)

Habitat

*artificial (dredged material islands), *mangrove forest, *estuarine, tidal marsh, coastal strand

Land Use

*conservation, *dredge-material spoil area

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