Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve

The Florida Coastal Office (FCO) manages more than 4 million acres of the most valuable submerged lands and select coastal uplands in Florida. With support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), FCO manages 41 aquatic preserves, three National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERRs), the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and the Coral Reef Conservation Program.

The Florida Coastal Office also oversees the Florida Coastal Management Program which coordinates the protection and enhancement of the state's natural, cultural and economic coastal resources. The Outer Continental Shelf Program is responsible for conducting the Department's technical review of activities that occur in federal waters on the Outer Continental Shelf.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection through the Florida Coastal Office is the lead state agency for responding to impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the resulting restoration process.

Aquatic Preserve Society

A new statewide citizen support organization (CSO), the Aquatic Preserve Society, has been formed to promote the protection of Florida's 41 aquatic preserves.

"We are very excited to see how the Aquatic Preserve Society develops," said Kevin Claridge of the Florida Coastal Office. "CSO groups have been instrumental in our efforts across the state, and we look forward to adding more strength and stability to this network."

Anyone interested in becoming a member or looking for information should contact Brian Powers at

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About Us

Florida's extensive coastline and natural resources have made this state a vacation destination for visitors and a cherished home for millions. Our state's economic drivers – tourism and marine industries for example - depend on clean water, a myriad of diverse aquatic habitats, world-class beaches, and coral reefs. The professionals of the Florida Coastal Office serve as the eyes and ears of these sensitive coastal areas. Water quality monitoring, scientific research, and monthly wading bird censuses are but a few of the ways staff contributes valuable information to land managers, elected officials and others, whose daily decisions affect the health of Florida's estuaries.

Volunteer for Oyster Project

DEP Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves (CHAP) and The Nature Conservancy are working together to create new oyster habitat in the Peace River, adjacent to CHAP. Volunteers are needed immediately to help with all aspects of this project, from drilling oyster shells, preparing mat material, making oyster mats, filling bags with shell, to deploying the materials in the water. There’s a job for everyone! If you're interested in helping restore the estuary, visit and contact Katherine Aug, Community Outreach Coordinator at 941-575-5861 ext. 117 or