Bay and Ten Thousand Islands ecosystem is a prime example of
a nearly pristine subtropical mangrove forested estuary. RBNERR
is located in the West Florida subregion of the West Indian
The total estimated surface area of open waters encompassed
within proposed boundaries is 70,000 acres, 64 percent of RBNERR.
The remaining 40,000 acres are composed primarily of mangroves,
fresh to brackish water marshes, and upland habitats. Rookery
Bay has a surface area of 1,034 acres and a mean depth of about
1 m. Salinities range from 18.5 to 39.4 parts per thousand with
lower values occurring during the wet season from May through
October. Highest values occur during the dry seasons (winter
and spring) and can exceed those of the open Gulf of Mexico
(35-36 parts per thousand).
Approximately 3,772 acres within the RBNERR boundaries are
leased to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
by NAS, The Nature Conservancy, and CSF. State-owned lands,
including 70,000 acres of submerged lands and approximately
22,928 acres of acquired lands, are held in fee simple title
by the Board of Trustees. Approximately 13,300 additional
acres within the boundaries were acquired by the state as
part of a settlement agreement with the Deltona Corporation.
Parcels totaling approximately 500 acres represent privately-owned
inholdings within RBNERR. DEP has proposed for NOAA consideration
that the boundaries
of the RBNERR be expanded to incorporate adjacent state-owned
coastal and submerged lands. DEP has designated all tidally
connected waters within the boundaries of RBNERR and Cape
Romano/Ten Thousand Islands Aquatic Preserves as Class II
and Outstanding Florida Waters (OFW). OFW designation implements
the state's highest standards for proposed developments, and
does not allow for direct discharges that would lower ambient
water quality, or indirect discharges that would significantly
degrade water quality.