Welcome to Estero Bay Aquatic
Preserve, Florida’s first aquatic preserve, designated 1966. From vast
seagrass beds and mangrove islands to tidal flats and oyster bars, Estero
Bay is home to diverse ecosystems in this shallow estuarine system. Each of
these natural communities support wildlife, including wading birds, marine
mammals, sea turtles and numerous fish species. Department of Environmental
Protection staff managed these submerged lands and
monitor the health of Estero Bay’s ecosystems through several monitoring
programs throughout the year. Oysters help filter the waters of the estuary
and the oyster bars create valuable habitat used by birds for resting and
foraging. DEP staff monitor the growth of the oyster beds to ensure healthy water.
Seagrass also contributes to the overall health of the estuary, so staff
monitor the seagrass beds throughout the bay to check abundance and health of the
grasses. Wading and diving birds that nest in
the bay are a great way of showing DEP staff the overall health of the
ecosystem. Each month staff record the number of nests of these colonial wading
and diving birds. It is important for visitors to understand the intricate
systems that influence the health of the bay, so staff conduct wading trips where
visitors can explore the mudflats and see the complex web of life.
Paddleboarding is a great way for visitors to connect with Estero Bay.
Find your balance with paddleboard yoga in the peaceful waters of the bay. Visitors to Estero Bay can take to
the waters in boats and kayaks on an eco tour to learn about the connections
between the bay’s ecosystems. An eco tour is a great way to relax and enjoy the
beautiful sunsets on the water. Come and see all these shallow estuarine waters for
yourself. Visit Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve today. For more information
visit Florida DEP gov /ap.