The stormwater treatment areas are man-made wetlands designed to clean up nutrients primarily from surrounding agricultural areas before the runoff reaches the Everglades. Levees and canals ring the perimeter of the treatment areas. The treatment areas are divided into several cells. Some have open water with submerged aquatic vegetation, and others have very dense cattail growth. The variety provides for varying degrees of water quality treatment to maximize the cleanup.
Combined with improved farming practices, South Florida's 52,000 acres of STAs have prevented more than 2,600 metric tons of phosphorus from entering the Everglades, reducing phosphorus loads by 70 percent since 1994. The STAs' vast treatment areas of wetland habitat have also encouraged the return of many native animal and bird species, often visible to recreational visitors.
Located in central Palm Beach County, Stormwater Treatment Area 1 West features a paved parking area leading to a 200-foot viewing platform with gazebos overlooking the wetland. A three-mile levee trail on the 6,670-acre stormwater treatment area can be used by hikers, bicyclists and photographers. Bird-watchers may be able to spot great blue herons, mottled ducks and black-bellied whistling ducks, along with roseate spoonbills, white pelicans and wood storks. There is a composting toilet available.
Hunting is managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). FWC managed hunts include alligator and waterfowl.
The area is open from sunrise to sunset on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays except during hunting season (September to November 15) when the area is closed to the public one day per weekend.
For More Information: Contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for details about hunting, (850) 488-4676 or (561) 625-5122, or on the web at www.myfwc.com.
South Florida Water Management District recreation hotline, (866) 433-6312, or FL 1-800-432-2045. Online at: sfwmd.gov/recreation.
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Stormwater Treatment Area 1 West (STA-1W) Photos – view »
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission manages hunting on SFWMD lands. Please visit www.myfwc.com regarding current hunt dates, regulations and directions to check stations to ensure the most accurate and latest information.
From West Palm Beach: Travel about 21 miles west on S.R. 80/U.S. 441 to the intersection of C.R. 880 and S.R. 80. Look for a flashing yellow light and a sign that says Welcome to Western Palm Beach County. Turn south on C.R. 880 and cross a green metal bridge continue south. The public access entrance is on C.R. 880, 2 miles beyond the bridge, look for brown recreation road signs.
From Belle Glade: Travel east on S.R. 80, about 18 miles to the intersection of C.R. 880 and S.R. 80. Look for a flashing yellow light. Turn south on C.R. 880 and cross a green metal bridge, continue south. The public access entrance is on C.R. 880, 2 miles beyond the bridge, look for brown recreation road signs.
The area is open from sunrise to sunset on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays except during hunting season (Last weekend in September to November 15) when the area is closed to the public one day per weekend.