Volunteers ‘Give a Day’ for Rock Ponds

Forty-four volunteers recently combed the Tampa Bay shoreline and adjacent upland habitats associated with the Rock Ponds Ecosystem Restoration Project to pick up trash. 

The volunteers came together for “Give a Day for the Bay” one of several volunteer events held each year by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program. It also was coordinated by the District’s Surface Water Improvement and Management Program and the Conservation and Environmental Lands Management Department of Hillsborough County.

The Rock Ponds Ecosystem Restoration Project near Ruskin is the largest habitat restoration project completed in the history of Tampa Bay. 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.

In addition to canvasing the upland area, volunteers used canoes to reach remote portions of the shoreline. Much of the trash has been deposited by high tides of the bay. Dozens of trash bags were filled, and large pieces of debris were loaded into the canoes and brought back to trailers where the trash was hauled away for proper disposal. 

“Because of the remote location, accessing and removing debris was a challenge, but our volunteers worked incredibly hard,” said Brandt Henningsen, the District’s chief advisory environmental scientist.

To learn more about Rock Ponds, visit WaterMatters.org/RockPonds