"No wetlands, no seafood. ... Cooperative efforts among all levels of government are critical to restore coastal wetlands. These efforts are called for in the National Estuary Program's Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for the Lagoon."
Ron Brockmeyer, St. Johns River Water Management District
Mosquito Lagoon Aquatic Preserve is located in east-central Florida, in southern Volusia County south of Ponce de Leon Inlet. It is adjacent to two incorporated municipalities - New Smyrna Beach and Edgewater - and 50 miles northeast of Orlando. Mosquito Lagoon Aquatic Preserve is part of the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) system, a long, wide, shallow estuarine lagoon bounded on the west by the Florida mainland and on the east by a chain of barrier islands.
Mosquito Lagoon Aquatic Preserve is in the northernmost sub-basin of the IRL system and is a bar-built type of estuary. The IRL system stretches 156 miles from Ponce de Leon Inlet at the northern end to Jupiter Inlet at the southern end and covers a full 40 percent of the length of Florida's Atlantic Coast. Despite its name, the Indian River is not a river but is a lagoon or a shallow estuarine water body. Lagoons are estuaries characterized by restricted outlets to the sea, limiting the mixing of oceanic saltwater with terrestrially derived freshwater from rivers, streams and rainwater runoff. Three distinct bodies of water comprise the IRL system: the Indian River Lagoon, the Banana River Lagoon and Mosquito Lagoon.
Mosquito Lagoon Aquatic Preserve is unique among the inland waters of the Atlantic Coast of Florida, and a feeling of relative isolation is attainable just a short distance from boat ramps. Once outside the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, a boater's knowledge of local water depths and channels of the lagoon system is essential. Elevated landmarks are difficult to see at times, and it is easy to become disoriented among the winding turns and dead-end waterways.
Mosquito Lagoon is one of the least developed regions on the east coast of Florida.
Nearly two-thirds of the original aquatic preserve boundary is now a part of Canaveral National Seashore or Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
Mosquito Lagoon has a resident population of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.
Salinity levels in the Mosquito Lagoon are comparable to ocean levels (32-34 ppt) allowing several fish species to spawn in the lagoon that would normally spawn in the ocean.
Mosquito Lagoon supports the northernmost extent of red and black mangrove habitat, low marsh and high marsh habitats, extensive oyster bars, and tidal flats.
The Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves are a proud partner of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and were selected as a 2017 & 2018 Leave No Trace Hot Spot. To learn more about Leave No Trace in the Indian River Lagoon contact Emily Dark at Emily.Dark@dep.state.fl.us or 772-429-2995.
Volunteering at the Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves
The Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves provide a variety of volunteer opportunities from projects in ecosystem science, restoration and spoil island activities. Volunteers help with activities such as wildlife monitoring, annual seagrass monitoring or microplastic sampling. The Shoreline Restoration Project enables volunteers to get involved in shoreline stabilization through native plantings. On spoil islands, volunteers take a hand in improving visitor access through activities such as invasive plant removal or installing picnic tables, fire rings or human waste bag dispensers. For more information, please contact our office at IRLAP@dep.state.fl.us or call 772-429-2995.
For other opportunities to help preserve the Indian River Lagoon and surrounding Aquatic Preserves, consider joining the Friends of the Spoil Islands.
Recreation in Mosquito Lagoon includes fishing, canoeing, kayaking, motorboating, sailing, water skiing and nature viewing. The lagoon, particularly the southern portion, is one of the least developed regions on the east coast. Fishing is especially popular in Mosquito Lagoon with the majority of anglers targeting redfish and spotted sea trout.
Three public waterfront parks are located east of U.S. Highway 1 along Riverside Drive, in the city of Edgewater, adjacent to Mosquito Lagoon Aquatic Preserve:
Kennedy Point Memorial Park.
Kennedy Point Memorial Park and Menard-May Park both have boat ramps. Menard-May Park also offers a riverfront playground, pavilion, restrooms, sandy beach, native plants, mangrove habitat and two fishing/observation piers. Veterans Park has a parking area and a fishing and observation pier that juts directly into Mosquito Lagoon. Additional public boat and kayak launches are available around Mosquito Lagoon, outside aquatic preserve boundaries.
The adjacent barrier island and uplands are rich with pre-Columbian archaeological sites. The most well-known historical site near the Mosquito Lagoon Aquatic Preserve is Turtle Mound, which is the largest shell midden on the east coast of Florida.
December 29, 2020 - 10:47am
Interested in subscribing to DEP newsletters or receiving DEP updates through email?
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.