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Rocky Bayou Aquatic Preserve Project Spotlight

Hiking trail along the forested shoreline

 Management activities at Rocky Bayou Aquatic Preserve have resumed through the Ecosystem Restoration Section of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Northwest District.

Stormwater pond

Nonpoint Source Pollution Reduction

A partnership led by the Northwest Florida Coastal Aquatic Managed Area office using Project NEMO (Nonpoint Source Education for Municipal Officials) was providing to stakeholders of Rocky Bayou resources to address water quality. The strategy of Project NEMO was used to focus on the cumulative effects that stormwater, septic tanks, lawn maintenance, recreational motor boat activities and bayou circulation patterns have on the Rocky Bayou Aquatic Preserve. Partners included the City of Niceville, Okaloosa County Health Department, Northwest Florida District DEP watershed office, Jackson Guard of Eglin AFB, Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park, Northwest Florida National Estuarine Research Center, Northwest Florida Water Management District and Florida Sea Grant.

 Quick Facts about Rocky Bayou Aquatic Preserve
Map of Rocky Bayou Aquatic Preserve


Okaloosa County


367 acres of sovereign submerged lands


Beth Fugate, Manager
Florida Coastal Office
160 Government Center
Pensacola, FL 32501-5794
(850) 595-0683

Shoreline of Rocky Bayou

Rocky Bayou shoreline


Osprey along forested shoreline of the preserve

Shoreline of Rocky Bayou

Rocky Bayou State Park abuts the preserve



  • 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 only occur in locations with specific underground conditions.
  • Several designated species such as the osprey and bald eagles are known to nest within the preserve. Osprey in particular are often sighted by campers, kayakers and locals.


Fishing off of a dock in Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park

Fishing in Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park

Last updated: October 20, 2015

  3900 Commonwealth Boulevard M.S. 235 Tallahassee, Florida 32399 850-245-2094
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