Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve – 4K 360 Overview Video

The health of water in Southwest Florida
is a long-term mission in Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves. Host to a
diverse array of habitats from seagrass beds and mangrove Islands to oyster bars
and mud flats, Charlotte Harbor actually comprises five contiguous aquatic
preserves: Lemon Bay, Cape Haze, Gasparilla Sound-Charlotte Harbor, Matlacha Pass
and Pine Island Sound. These estuaries have been set aside in their natural
condition for everyone to enjoy. But in order to enjoy them, it’s essential that
the health of these estuaries be monitored. For instance, seagrass is
protected in the aquatic preserves and serves as an important habitat, shelter
and food source for hundreds of marine life. Department of Environmental
Protection staff monitor the seagrass beds for species type, their abundance,
and depth at which they grow. DEP staff have long worked with local
organizations and citizen scientists to monitor the quality of water in
Charlotte Harbor. Since 1996, trained volunteers gather at 46
different sites each month at sunrise to collect water samples. This data is
invaluable for providing background water-quality information for the entire
region. Wading and diving birds also are critical to the estuary habitat not
only for visitor enjoyment, but as a way to gauge the health of the estuary. Every
month DEP staff count the species and their
nesting efforts in the numerous rookeries on the mangrove islands that
dot the estuaries. A happy byproduct of the Department of Environmental
Protection staff’s hard work in maintaining these estuaries is that
visitors may explore this natural and well-preserved beauty. Educational and
entertaining eco tours led by the knowledgeable DEP staff give visitors a
chance to see the diverse habitats of the aquatic reserves above and below the
water surface. Bring a camera and snap wading birds and marine critters on
oyster beds and mud flats at low tide. Paddle through the maze of mangrove
tunnels of Matlacha Pass. Take to the open waters and feel the wind catch your
sail. Fishers of all types head to Charlotte Harbor to fish the abundant
waters. Come and see all the habitats and wildlife within these protected aquatic
preserves. Visit Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves today. For more information
visit Florida DEP gov /ap.

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