Helping protect the Indian River Lagoon through ecosystem science, resource management, education and outreach and sustainable public use
Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves (IRLAP), managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection (RCP), is comprised of seven aquatic preserves (AP) totaling more than 97,000 acres. These seven APs are among the 42 aquatic preserves dotted across the state that RCP manages in coordination with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In addition to the seven APs, IRLAP also manages spoil islands within the aquatic preserve boundaries. IRLAP's field staff protect the ecological integrity of the Indian River Lagoon through volunteer-based ecosystem restoration, community outreach and science-based management. IRLAP also oversees the Indian River Lagoon Shoreline Restoration Project, the Spoil Island Enhancement Project, IRL's Leave No Trace program, and a variety of estuarine monitoring.
The Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves include:
The IRL Aquatic Preserves are a unique and complex aquatic preserve system, spanning the temperate-tropical ecotone. IRL aquatic preserves include riverine and estuarine systems stretching from the cypress floodplains in the far reaches of the St. Sebastian, North Fork, St. Lucie and Loxahatchee Rivers to the mangrove-lined shores of the Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River and IRL estuaries.
The IRLAP field office collaborates on a variety of projects and provides valuable data on communities in the IRL. One such collaboration is the monitoring of bird communities and several Florida listed species. IRLAP also maintains and improves vital nesting habitats on the spoil islands for listed species such as the least tern. As one of the most biodiverse estuaries in American, the Indian River Lagoon is designated as an Estuary of National Significance by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). IRLAP fosters collaboration and plays a key role in the network of agencies, institutions, universities, committees, nonprofits and other stakeholders that work to protect the IRL and engage the community.
Other programs/projects IRLAP participates in:
BARK Ranger program
Florida diamondback terrapin research
Florida Horseshoe Crab Watch-Linked with Limulus
Leave No Trace Hot Spots
Riverine submerged resource mapping
Invasive species management
Oyster reef monitoring & mapping
IRL Otter Spotter Program
Counties: Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Volusia
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.