Conservation: Tampa

Port Tampa Bay and Audubon Florida partner to protect nesting birds in Hillsborough Bay

As part of its long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship, Port Tampa Bay has again partnered with Audubon Florida, as well as state and federal agencies, to provide protection for nesting birds and their young in the Hillsborough Bay area. The 2016 migratory bird nesting season began in Tampa Bay on April 1.

Port Tampa Bay owns and operates two dredge disposal islands in Hillsborough Bay known as 2D and 3D. Due to the lack of natural beach habitat in the region, these islands have become favored nesting sites for coastal birds. Both islands, along with other habitats in Hillsborough Bay, have been recognized collectively by BirdLife International and the National Audubon Society for their significance as bird nesting areas. Protection of the nesting birds that use these islands has evolved into a shared project.

"The port has made a commitment to protect birds that nest on the dredge disposal islands," said Mark Rachal, Audubon’s sanctuary manager. "We appreciate the opportunity to work with their staff and contractors to achieve better nesting success for some of Florida’s rarest species."

Islands 2D and 3D are designated "no trespassing" areas year round. Birds nesting in these areas are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, as well as the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973. Penalties for criminal and civil acts have been established for disturbing or harming migratory birds. This allows nesting migratory birds in Tampa Bay to raise their chicks without disturbance.

"I am proud to say that Port Tampa Bay continues to fulfill its commitment to the health and integrity of natural life in Tampa Bay, which includes the vibrant populations of some truly beautiful bird species. We recognize the ongoing need to be engaged in critical partnerships to ensure the quality of our local waters and our unique ecosystem," said Paul Anderson, Port Tampa Bay president and CEO.