King Islands Management Area
At A Glance…
- 25 Acres
- Located in the St. Joseph Sound off Dunedin
- Supports seagrass beds and tidal swamps
The King Islands Management Area is located in the St. Joseph Sound off Dunedin. The two islands supported by this management area were created from the spoils of dredging operations. This part of the county has experienced dramatic changes over the years, largely because of urbanization.
The County, in connection with residential and commercial development, has improved roads, altered the natural coastline and filled mangrove-dominated tidal swamps. The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners acquired the property in 1994. This natural area, which is closed to the public, is managed by Parks & Conservation Resources.
Located in the Gulf of Mexico, the natural water system and flow in this management area are controlled by tidal action. Large storms regularly overwash parts of the islands and erode loose dirt and soil. Elevation ranges up to several feet above sea level. The soils represent a complex mix of poorly-drained dredge material. Areas containing weedy plants are extensive on both islands. They are the result of human disturbance that happened when spoils from dredging were dumped on the land.
Disturbance has encouraged the extensive spread of invasive, non-native species, especially Brazilian pepper. The spread of other exotics, such as carrotwood and camphor tree, has been promoted by the landscaping of nearby residential areas. The islands are known to support a wide diversity of birds including herons, egrets and shorebirds. The management area also encompasses the surrounding waters with extensive seagrass beds and associated marine life.
Since assuming management of this area, the County has focused on controlling non-native species and conducting biological assessments. To date, exotic control has involved only small-scale efforts, but eventually could include more extensive clearing of the heavily disturbed parts of the islands. As with all small, natural areas surrounded by development, exotics will be an ongoing challenge.
Periodic assessments of the biodiversity of this area, especially of nesting and resting birds, are planned. Additional efforts to enhance the King Islands Management Area may include improvements to the natural water system, such as the creation of small tidal ponds and planting native vegetation.
While The King Islands Management Area has special significance to local residents and provides economic and environmental benefits to its neighbors, this natural space provides valuable services to all residents and visitors to the region.
By enhancing native biodiversity, it supports countless organisms ranging from microbes to mammals. For example, a wide variety of birds feed and loaf in the area. This management area also makes important contributions to the coastal environment by protecting areas of relatively undisturbed seagrass beds that provide essential habitat to many marine organisms.
For additional information:
Parks & Conservation Resources
12520 Ulmerton Road
Largo, FL 33774
Phone: (727) 582-2100
Fax: (727) 582-2550