Friends of the Tampa Bay Aquatic Preserves

Main Menu
Friends of Tampa Bay Aquatic Preserves, Inc.
Celebrating 50 Years
50 years ago, we went to the moon! That same year, and much closer to home, the Florida Legislature established the Boca Ciega Bay Aquatic Preserve and launched our community into a new generation of environmental advocacy.

Sponsored by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, the Boca Ciega Bay 50th Anniversary Celebration was attended by State Officials, County Commissioners, Mayors, Municipal Elected Officials, County and City Staff. This citizen-driven and science-based program featured educational kiosks, interactive activities, a virtual reality (VR) headset experience, and special prizes. The event was held at St Petersburg College Seminole Campus and spearheaded by Friends’ life member Terry Fortner.

The honorable Roger H. Wilson was recognized for his life-long service and commitment to Tampa Bay’s natural resources. Roger served in the Florida State of House Representatives from 1968-1976, where he authored the 1969 Bill that established Boca Ciega Bay Aquatic Preserve and the 1972 Bill that established Pinellas County as an Aquatic Preserve. Due in large part to Roger’s service, there are now 42 aquatic preserves in Florida.

The Friends of the Tampa Bay Aquatic Preserves, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and was founded in 2019. This citizens support group supports the efforts of the Tampa Bay Aquatic Preserves.

Pinellas County Aquatic Preserve
was designated to help prevent the historically negative events in Boca Ciega Bay from being repeated elsewhere.

The Boca Ciega Bay and Pinellas County Aquatic Preserves (referred to collectively as the Pinellas County Aquatic Preserves) were designated in 1968 and 1972, respectively. Boca Ciega Bay was designated as an aquatic preserve to aid in halting the wholesale dredging and filling of the bay that occurred with the finger fill developments of the 1950s.

Tampa Bay's Aquatic Preserves

Boca Ciega Aquatic Preserve and Pinellas County Aquatic Preserve are collectively known as the "Pinellas County Aquatic Preserves".
There are Four
Aquatic Preserves in
the Tampa Bay Area
Boca Pinellas Cockroach Tierra Ceia
Tampa Bay Aquatic Preserves Map

Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve
Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve
In the News

2021 Friends of Tampa Bay Aquatic Preserves

Student Photo Contest
Our new photo contest is here!
Click here for information
Simply submit photos via email to:

Boca Ciega Bay Aquatic
Preserve Turns 50

Gus Muench Waged a
Campaign to Protect
Cockroach Bay and
the Little Manatee River

TAMPA BAY TIMES - Read Article


Off the Beaten Path – Florida DEP Tampa Bay Aquatic Preserve Restoration – Alternative Spring Break
Click to view article and video

Boca Ciega Bay Aquatic Preserve:
A Conversation with Roger H. Wilson

Roger Wilson, who was a member of the Florida House of Reps. discusses the history of the Bay and how he was instrumental in making the Bay an Aquatic Preserve.

Click to View Video "Off the Beaten Path"

Off the Beaten Path

Florida DEP Tampa Bay Aquatic Preserve Restoration
Alternative Spring Break

Every year, out-of-state students and community groups come to the Tampa Bay area through programs such as “Buck-I-Serv” to learn about and help restore Aquatic Preserves, managed by Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection.

Positively Impacting
Our Preserves

As citizens who support the management and conservation of our Tampa Bay aquatic preserves, our non profit group is capable of enhancing the efforts of our governing agencies, scientists, and employees who study, administer, and care for these extensive aquatic preserves in the Tampa Bay area.

Positive impacts we provide, include:
  • Funding projects
  • Providing volunteer support
  • Advocating for preservation and restoration efforts
  • Enhancing educational curriculum in our schools
  • Providing community outreach and education