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Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection

Video Transcript

Narrator: Coral Reefs are alive! They contain millions of tiny animals that form a spectacular and complex community. Reefs provide nurseries and a safe haven for hundreds of fish and other marine life. They are valuable natural resources that protect our coasts by reducing wave energy from storms and hurricanes.

Coral reefs in Florida are usually associated with the Florida Keys. However, extensive and beautiful coral reefs are also found off Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Martin counties, north of the Keys.

Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves

Biscayne Bay is home to two state aquatic preserves, collectively known as Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves (BBAP). The first, Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve, was established in 1974 and runs the length of Biscayne Bay proper, from the headwaters of the Oleta River down to Card Sound near Key Largo. BBAP is about 64,607 submerged acres. This aquatic preserve (AP) is split in half by what is now called Biscayne National Park, formerly called Biscayne National Monument.

Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative

In 2000, the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) adopted a National Action Plan to conserve coral reefs. With guidance from the USCRTF, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission coordinated the formation of a team of interagency and non-agency marine resource professionals, scientists, resource users and other stakeholders. The Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative (SEFCRI) Team first gathered in May 2003 to develop local action strategies targeting coral reefs and associated reef resources from Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Martin counties to improve the coordination of technical and financial support for the conservation and management of coral reefs. SEFCRI is targeting this region because the coral habitats are close to shore and co-exist with intensely urbanized areas that lack a coordinated management plan (like that of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary). 

Alligator Harbor Aquatic Preserve

"Alligator Harbor is one of the world's largest feeding grounds for the Kemp's ridley turtle, which is the rarest and most endangered of all marine turtles. The area's abundance of blue crabs, jellyfish, shellfish and seagrass provide an important food source for all sea turtles. The unspoiled waters and beaches are valuable breeding and nesting grounds for marine sea turtles. Alligator Harbor, in addition to being a valuable natural resource, is also archaeologically rich with several Miccosukee/Seminole Indian artifacts and burial mounds surrounding the harbor."

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