The Tampa Port Authority is pleased to announce that, together with Hillsborough County and the Southwest Florida Water Management District, a major environmental restoration project at Cockroach Bay has been completed and was dedicated on April 20 with a ceremony attended by about 100 stakeholders and environmental supporters.

The Cockroach Bay Restoration Project represents one of the largest, most complex coastal ecosystem restorations ever developed for Tampa Bay—and more than 20 years of dedicated, collaborative restoration work.

Before the restoration, the area suffered from a number of environmental problems, including habitat degradation, invasive plant infestation and poor water quality. Since the property was purchased by Hillsborough County in 1991, 500 acres of wetlands, uplands and coastal habitats have been restored.

Dedication speakers included U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor; Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra L. Murman; Blake Guillory, executive director, Southwest Florida Water Management District; Hug Gramling, governing board vice chairman, Southwest Florida Water Management District; and Richard Wainio, Tampa’s port director and CEO. As the finale to the outdoor ceremony, two rehabilitated pelicans were released into the restored ecosystem, and a tour of the restoration site provided.

Other interesting facts about the project:

176 tons of garbage removed from the site during the course of the project

500,000 cubic yards of recycled dredged material were used to restore the site

More than 2,500 volunteers helped plant trees and grasses as part of the restoration

Used as an example of a successful ecosystem restoration on a state, national and international level

Groups from China, England, Korea, Morocco, Canada and Japan have toured and studied the project