The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is notifying the public at large about resource management changes for the waters of Tarpon Bay. The Refuge is establishing a no entry area surrounding the Tarpon Bay Keys, the small islands approximately in the center of the bay.

The waters, submerged lands, and the Tarpon Bay Keys are owned by the state of Florida but are managed by the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge through a cooperative lease agreement that was finalized in September 1995. As a condition of this agreement it was identified as a management priority to establish a “No Entry Zone” perimeter for the Tarpon Bay Keys. This action is intended to protect and preserve these islands for use as roosting and rookery sites for colonial water birds. Monitoring of these islands by station biologists has revealed a significant reduction in usage of these sites by these birds over the last 2 decades.

To accomplish this management objective the refuge will be installing a total of 12
regulatory buoys to create a continuous and enforceable 150-foot buffer surrounding
these important rookery islands. Installation is scheduled to begin during the 3rd week of
December and should be completed within 3-4 days of commencement. Enforcement of
this closed area will be accomplished by United States Fish and Wildlife Service Law
Enforcement personnel and cooperating agencies. The J.N. “Ding” Darling National
Wildlife Refuge is asking the public to please respect these boundaries and for their
cooperation in assisting the refuge in preserving and protecting these important and
unique habitats.
For questions and more information please call 239/ 472-1100 or check the refuge’s
official Facebook page for information: