Walks and Field Trips

September Fieldtrip:

Rock Ponds Ecosystem Restoration Project
Saturday, September 23, 2017
9:00 AM

Rock Ponds Ecosystem Restoration Project
4480 County Line Rd, South Ruskin/Palmetto, FL  34221

Meet at 9 AM at The Rock Ponds East Gate_see instructions below. 

Plan for 3 hours in the field.  Wrapping up by noon, but it may run a little longer  

About Rock Ponds: 

The Southwest Florida Water Management District, in cooperation with Hillsborough County, completed the largest habitat restoration project ever done in the history of Tampa Bay.

Located on three public parcels in the southeastern reaches of Tampa Bay (adjacent to “Cockroach Bay”), the project involves sites that historically were coastal pine flatwoods, scattered hardwood hammocks, and various estuarine and freshwater habitats. Use of the upland areas for agricultural purposes and sand/shell mining removed the majority of the historic plant communities and habitat values from these parcels.

The project involved the restoration of approximately 1,043 acres of various coastal habitats, including 645 acres of uplands, such as pine flatwoods and hardwood hammocks, and 398 acres of various estuarine and freshwater habitats. The estuarine habitats include: 1) open water tidal channels and lagoons, 2) low and high intertidal marshes, 3) islands, 4) sand/mud flats, 5) deeper water “holes,” 6) natural limestone artificial reefs, and 7) more than 16 miles of new Tampa Bay shorelines. Cascading freshwater wetlands include both permanent pools as well as ephemeral freshwater habitats.

Rock Ponds provides habitats for several wildlife species and plant communities. Here is a link to more about the project: https://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/projects/swim/rock_ponds/

This is a driving/walking tour.  We will carpool to various locations within at least two of the three restoration sectors, and then stop and get out and discuss that restoration sector. We will allow members to explore the area's plant populations 

Please dress "field friendly".  Wear clothes that you do not mind getting dirty/wet/destroyed (worst case!).  Everyone needs shoes that tie to their feet (no sandals, flip-flops, etc.) or rubber boots.  If you want to go into the wetlands, you should be prepared to get your feet/legs wet.  Hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, insect repellent, water and snack are recommended.  Mosquitos typically are not a real problem, but come prepared. Binoculars and/or a camera may also be nice. 

There are no restroom facilities on site.  

After the field trip, you may want to go to lunch at "POPI'S", just a few miles away on us 41, or choose another option in Ruskin.  


From Tampa

Take I-75 south

Take Ruskin Exit 240B (SR 674), veer right on exit and merge onto “College Avenue, heading west toward Ruskin 

Drive 3 miles to US 41

Turn left (south) on US 41 (Ruskin Elementary School on your left at intersection)

On US 41 south, drive 7.6 miles to County Line Road

Turn right (west) on County Line Road and drive about 0.1 to 0.2 miles to a gate on the right (north) side of County Line Road (also, will pass over railroad tracks and then watch for project construction sign on right).  Congratulations, you are at Rock Ponds!