Steel Creek Bay
The Steel Creek Bay Set-Aside is a 81.6-acre (33 ha) Area comprised of a semi-permanent, open-water/herbaceous pond surrounded by a partial buffer area of various pine and hardwood plant communities. This Area is one of the original ten SREL habitat reserves and was selected in the mid 1960ís to represent a Carolina bay wetland habitat on the SRS. Steel Creek Bay is an historically man-altered wetland with an irregular shape, approximately 21.8 acres (8.8 ha) in size. It can be described as a shallow water pond whose interior is dominated by the aquatic macrophyte water lily (Nymphaea odorata). This wetland Set-Aside represents a relatively undisturbed, semi-natural, bay-like pond. While this Area originally was selected to represent Carolina bay wetland habitats, it is not a true Carolina bay because Steel Creek Bay is not an isolated wetland and its geomorphology is not indicative of a true Carolina bay. Historically, Steel Creek Bay was selected for aquatic ecology research because it is bay-like in hydrology and function and it represented a wetland in the reserve habitat program which was unlike the abandoned Risher farm pond (Area #10) and Ellenton Bay (Area #1).