Staff members conduct eco-venture trips in Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves (CHAP). These interactive trips inform visitors about the importance of aquatic preserves and the ecological and economic benefits of different estuarine habitats, as well as identify local estuarine animals. Among those observed on eco-tours are 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. These habitats support numerous species, including important recreational and commercial fishery species. CHAP offers two types of trips depending on the time of year:
During fall and winter, CHAP Nature Boat Tours offer visitors the opportunity to view this aquatic preserve from a boat.
During spring and summer, participants snorkel to see firsthand the species diversity that 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.