F47. Stormwater Treatment Area 5
Nearest City: Clewiston
Phone Number: 863-674-0695 (reservations); 866-433-6312; www.hendrygladesaudubon.org
Website: F47. Stormwater Treatment Area 5
Amenities: Some viewing is barrier free, Restrooms, Seasonal hunting, Birding by car, Birding by foot/hiking, Birding by bicycle, Best time of day: All day, Recommended length of visit: all day br>
Stormwater Treatment Area 5 is one of the best birding and wildlife viewing locations in Florida. Constructed to filter agricultural runoff from water destined for the Everglades, this complex of four water impoundment cells is an impressive refuge for birds and a mecca for birders and photographers all year long. Look for ducks such as American Wigeon, Lesser Scaup and Fulvous Whistling-Duck, shorebirds like Long-billed Dowitcher, Stilt Sandpiper and both yellowlegs, waders such as Roseate Spoonbill and Glossy Ibis, and raptors such as Snail Kite, Peregrine Falcon (winter) and Crested Caracara (occasional, but reliable in the surrounding area). Flocks of Bobolink pass through in migration, and small groups of Western Kingbird and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher roost near the western end of Deer Fence Canal Rd. in winter. The Florida Panther has been seen here, so keep your eyes open. A new access point on Deer Fence Canal Rd., and a parking area, kiosk and vault toilet at the new entrance, have been added. As of January 2013, entry is no longer restricted to guided tours, through Hendry-Glades Audubon will contnue to offer car caravan tours at various times throughout the year (highly recommended). Hiking and biking is now permitted four days per week; consider biking to cover more ground. As each of the four water cells is 2 miles long by 1 mile wide, a trip around one cell is 6 miles, so plan your time and route accordingly. There is little shade here except for the new picnic shelter in the center of the STA. A 240-foot boardwalk and observation deck are located on the south side of the STA's northeastern cell; from the picnic shelter go due east on the central levee road for 1.4 miles. Bring a spotting scope and plenty of food, water and sun protection.
Directions: From downtown Clewiston, head east on US 27/SR 80 to CR 835/Evercane Rd. Turn right (south) and travel 26.7 miles to Deer Fence Canal Rd. Turn left (east) and drive 2.1 miles to the new entrance at the STA's southwestern corner. The parking lot, check station and trailhead are just ahead. You may also call (863) 674-0695 for guided tour reservations.
Open Friday through Monday except for special tours.