Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves to Celebrate 40 Years of Protection

June 20, 2014

In October, Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves will celebrate its 40th anniversary, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Coastal Office invites you to join in on the festivities.

The first of two main events will be “Soiree by the Bay” on Oct. 5 at the Deering Estate at Cutler. It will feature the beauty and history of the aquatic preserves in pictures, art, video and storytelling. The month-long recognition will conclude on Oct. 25 with “Paddle Out! Biscayne Bay,” an island excursion in the northern part of the aquatic preserves where Miami eco-artist Xavier Cortada will lead a community art project with the participants. Throughout the month, the community will be asked to pledge an eco-action—a personal commitment to help Biscayne Bay not just survive, but thrive, for the next 40 years.

“I am proud of the work that is being done across Florida to conserve and restore coastal and aquatic resources, while also providing additional recreational opportunities to our local communities and visitors,” said Kevin Claridge, director of the Florida Coastal Office. “I look forward to celebrating Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves’ anniversary and sharing our success stories in those preserves as well as in the other 39 aquatic preserves in Florida.”

As the perfect setting for “Soiree by the Bay,” the natural beauty of the Charles Deering Estate showcases a breathtaking view of the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves. This “bay chic” event will feature a signature drink during the cocktail reception, as well as dinner and a silent auction. Noted speakers and a display of children’s eco-artwork, inspired by their personal eco-action, will round out the evening.

During the “Paddle Out! Biscayne Bay” adventure paddle, registered participants will be invited to travel via canoes, kayaks and paddleboards along a three-mile route in the bay to the destination island. Once at the island, paddlers will display flags featuring children’s eco-action inspired artwork. The afternoon will feature food trucks, live music and opportunities to become part of the Friends of Biscayne Bay.

“Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves were established by the state of Florida to protect the abundant resources in this estuary,” said Pamela Sweeney, manager of Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves. “Our aquatic preserves serve the most populous county in the state, and it remains as vital a resource now for our commercial and recreational interests as it was when Miami was first settled. We attract tourists from around the world to these spectacular waters — right offshore from one of Florida’s largest cities.  We hope these events celebrating 40 years of protection encourage the community to become active in the conservation of Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves.”

Florida is home to 41 aquatic preserves, encompassing 2.2 million acres of submerged land. Aquatic preserves protect the living waters of Florida to ensure they will always be home for bird and fish nurseries, freshwater springs and salt marshes, seagrass meadows and mangrove forests.

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