Pinellas National Wildlife Refuge


Brown pelican in flight at Pinellas National Wildlife Refuge
Brown pelican in flight at Pinellas National Wildlife Refuge

Pinellas National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1951 to preserve 394 acres of prime breeding habitat for herons, egrets, cormorants, brown pelicans and other colonial bird species. The largest brown pelican rookery in Florida is located on Tarpon Key, one of several islands that make up the NWR.

Pinellas National Wildlife Refuge is located in Tampa Bay, between the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and the Pinellas Bayway. The entire National Wildlife Refuge is located within the city limits of St. Petersburg. The area around the islands is filled with submerged seagrass beds that are off-limits to motorized boats. Because the islands here are so small and so important to the wildlife, the refuge is closed to all public use.