As part of its long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship, the Tampa Port Authority is pleased to announce its participation in a collaborative effort to protect nesting migratory birds at the beginning of the annual migratory bird nesting season for Tampa Bay.  The official bird nesting season is April 1 through August 31, each year. The port authority works very closely with its key partner, Audubon of Florida, as well as state and federal regulatory conservation agencies in Florida, to provide protection annually for nesting birds and their young in the Hillsborough Bay area.

The port authority owns and operates two spoil disposal islands in Hillsborough Bay—islands 2D and 3D.  Both islands and the Richard T. Paul Alafia Bank Bird Sanctuary, in Hillsborough Bay, have been recognized by BirdLife International for their global significance and importance as bird-nesting areas.  Protection of the nesting birds that use these islands has evolved into a shared project.

“The Tampa Port Authority has a lead role in the management of one of Florida’s most important sites for beach-nesting birds”, Ann Paul, Audubon of Florida’s regional coordinator, said.  “We are impressed with the port authority’s commitment to protect birds that nest on the spoil islands and 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 and the Alafia Bank Bird Sanctuary are designated as “no trespassing” areas year round, and birds in these areas are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, as well as the Florida Threatened and Endangered Species Act of 1977.  Penalties for criminal and civil acts have been established for disturbing or harming migratory birds.  The Tampa Port Authority and Audubon of Florida urge cooperation from the boating public in complying with the law and obeying these “no trespassing” designations, thus allowing nesting migratory bird populations in Tampa Bay to raise their chicks without disturbance.

“The Tampa Port Authority is proud of its long-standing commitment to the health and integrity of natural life in Tampa Bay. We are proud to be involved in partnerships that ensure the quality of local waters for future generations,” Richard Wainio, Tampa’s port director and CEO, said.