Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (RBNERR) 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.
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is situated at the northern end of the Ten Thousand Islands on the Gulf shore of Florida, speaks to one of only a handful few staying undisturbed mangrove estuaries in North America. An astounding world exists inside the 110,000 acres of land of about unblemished mangrove woodland, uplands and protected waters of Rookery Bay. A horde of natural life, including 150 types of avian species and many debilitated and jeopardized creatures, flourish in the estuarine condition encompassing upland lofts and lands found inside RBNERR.
The estuarine environment of RBNERR provides an ideal setting for a variety of recreational activities, including sport fishing, boating, hiking, sailing, and 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 shellfish.
The goal of RBNERR is to give a proper education to lots people about the waterfront through land administration, rebuilding, research, and training. RBNERR works as an organization with local groups to advance waterfront stewardship. As one of the fastest developing seaside regions in the United States, RBNERR is in a perfect location as a local center point for instruction and research on estuaries.
The Coastal Training Program teaches working experts to discover ecologically amicable answers for natural issues. Fertilizer spillover is a repeating concern in Southwest Florida and this current program’s goal is to deflect any action that will hurt the nearby protected areas. Intensive preparations, field instruction, and systems administration are efficient approaches that the working experts will learn through Coastal Training in organization between Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Collier County, University of Florida/IFAS Collier County Extension Office, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the City of Naples.
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve offers guided watercraft and kayak exploration. The little watercraft tours with a limit of six travelers for every vessel offer a firsthand and close experience with nature. These visits are driven by the Rookery Bay Reserve staff and each are monitored closely. The vessel visits are offered occasionally: November through April. The kayak visits offer a more autonomous experience; guests can paddle as quick or moderate as they might want while being driven by the visit direct. These visits are offered from November through May.