Rocky Bayou State Park Aquatic Preserve is recognized as an exceptional water resource of the state. The aquatic preserve is the smallest of the 41 aquatic preserves in Florida, encompassing 367 acres. The aquatic preserve was designated in 1970 for the primary purpose of preserving the biological resources in the area and maintaining these resources in an essentially natural condition.
Rocky Bayou is a fresh to brackish water system supporting a large variety of fish and shellfish, including the federally endangered Okaloosa darter.
Rocky Bayou receives freshwater input from two creeks - Rocky Creek and Turkey Creek - and several smaller steephead streams.
Steepheads are seasonally influenced streams that occur only in locations with specific underground conditions.
Several designated species such as osprey and bald eagles are known to nest within the aquatic preserve. Osprey in particular are often sighted by campers, kayakers and locals.
Residents and visitors have access to a host of water-related activities, including boating, water skiing, jet skiing, fishing and swimming in the bayou. A boat ramp and full camping facilities can be accessed within Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park.
The Rocky Bayou shoreline was a highly active site for gunnery and bombing practice during World War II.
Wildlife Habitat Description:
This aquatic preserve provides food and habitat for numerous fish, reptiles, birds, and benthic invertebrates. Several designated species are known to occur in the preserve, particularly birds of prey.
February 27, 2019 - 8:50am
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.