Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves staff conduct Eco-venture trips in Gasparilla Sound-Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve. These interactive trips inform the public about aquatic preserves and their importance, the ecological and economic benefits of the different estuarine habitats as well as identification of the local estuarine animals. Among those observed includes dolphins, manatees, wading birds, migratory birds such as white pelicans, shorebirds, fish, crabs and other invertebrates. Habitats include seagrass beds, oyster reefs, tidal flats, mangrove forests, and rookery islands. They support numerous species, including important recreational and commercial fishery species. CHAP offers two types of trips depending on the time of year. During the fall and winter months, patrons participate in the CHAP Nature Boat Tours where the opportunity to view this aquatic preserve from the boat is offered. During the spring and summer months, participants snorkel to see firsthand the species diversity that the seagrass beds support. These two-hour cruises are led by a licensed captain and environmental specialists from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection/Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves aboard a 25-foot Windsorcraft vessel.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.