The Boca Ciega Bay and Pinellas County aquatic preserves (referred to collectively as the Pinellas County Aquatic Preserves) were designated in 1968 and 1972, respectively. Boca Ciega Bay was designated as an aquatic preserve to aid in halting the wholesale dredging and filling of the bay that occurred with the finger fill developments of the 1950s. Pinellas County Aquatic Preserve was designated to help prevent the events in Boca Ciega Bay from being repeated elsewhere.
"Although located in an urban area, the Banana River Aquatic Preserve offers many opportunities to view and experience the estuarine resources of the Indian River Lagoon system. Paddling the mangrove-lined backwaters of the Thousand Islands in Cocoa Beach or walking the trails along the marsh at Ulumay Wildlife Sanctuary adjacent to Sykes Creek are just a few of the opportunities available to visit this natural treasure."
- Bob Day, Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program
"The Wekiva's place in Central Florida's past and future is truly remarkable. Where else in the nation can you find a spring-fed river beginning in the midst of a rapidly urbanizing area that leads like an ever expanding path out of the city and into a hundred miles of wilderness?
"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
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.