Waterways and Wetlands

Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park occupies a mile of relatively undisturbed barrier island, one of a few such undeveloped gulf sites in this region preserved for public use. To the west is the Gulf of Mexico, Wiggins Pass and the Cocohatchee River Estuary are to the north and to the east is the Vanderbilt Channel and Water Turkey Bay. The park is 199 acres, with 80% being submerged and mangrove swamp. These areas are home to many different species of birds as well as dolphins, manatees, sea turtles and other marine life.

Wiggins Pass is a natural inlet named after Joe Wiggins who settled into the area in the late 1860’s. Prior to 1952 the pass experienced frequent closures and was not navigable throughout most of the year.

The Cocohatchee River is part of a brackish, tidal influenced estuary that flows into the Gulf of Mexico through Wiggins Pass. In 1996 this estuary, which includes Water Turkey Bay, was declared an Outstanding Florida Water due to it being of exceptional recreational and ecological significance.

The Vanderbilt Channel was dredged between 1950 and 1952 to provide access to the Gulf of Mexico. Prior to the dredging this was a habitat of mangroves and lagoons, which included Water Turkey Bay.