Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves Celebrate 40 Years of Protection

Oct. 7, 2014

~Additional events highlighting the preserves coming soon~

Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve 40th

Participants enjoy the ‘Soiree by the Bay’ celebration.

A month-long celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves continues to bring much-needed attention to one of the state’s treasured natural resources. The “Soiree by the Bay,” held Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014, at the Deering Estate at Cutler, featured the beauty and history of the aquatic preserves in pictures, art, video and storytelling.

Noted speakers at the “Soiree” included Representative David Richardson, Commissioner-elect Daniella Levine Cava and John Cyril Malloy III of Malloy and Malloy, P.L., whose father co-sponsored the legislation that created the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve Act. International eco-artist Xavier Cortada was in attendance, and on display was eco-artwork made by students inspired by the artist’s “Seagrass|Seahorse” painting made expressly for the 40th anniversary.

Children around the county painted their own version of a seahorse on flags donated by Miami-based company TUUCI. These flags will be part of a participatory eco-art project later in the month during the “Paddle Out” event on Oct. 25.

“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 they remain 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.”

The month-long recognition of the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves’ 40th anniversary will conclude on Oct. 25 with “Paddle Out! Biscayne Bay,” an island excursion in the northern part of the aquatic preserves where 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.”

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.

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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