Miami-Dade and Monroe counties
Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve
Biscayne Bay-Cape Florida to Monroe County Line
Aquatic Preserve Manager
1277 NE 79th Street Causeway
Miami, FL 33138
This dwarf seahorse blends into his environment, along a bed of macroalgae, and holding onto a blade
of manatee grass. It is being considered for inclusion on the Endangered Species list.
Biscayne Bay is home to two state aquatic preserves. The first, Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve, was established in
1974 and runs the length of Biscayne Bay, from the headwaters of the Oleta River down to Card Sound near Key Largo
and comprises approximately 63,000 submerged acres. The second aquatic preserve, named the Biscayne Bay-Cape Florida
to Monroe County Line, was established in 1975. Much of the submerged lands and islands originally included within
the boundaries are now within either Biscayne National Park or within the larger Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve. The
two preserves are collectively known as the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve (BBAP).
Biscayne Bay is a unique waterbody along the southeast Atlantic shoreline of the United States because it was not
formed by the drowning of a river. Instead, Biscayne Bay formed between 5,000 and 2,400 years ago as sea level rose
to fill the depression between two ridges. Biscayne Bay provides habitat for a wide variety of juvenile and adult
marine species as well as several of Florida's imperiled species, including the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus
latirostris), the smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus),
and Johnson's seagrass (Halophila johnsonii). Johnson's seagrass was the first and only marine plant to be
listed as threatened and resides in the northern section of BBAP.
BBAP can be thought of as three distinctive sections: Northern, Central, and Southern. Northern Biscayne Bay begins
where the Oleta River empties into Biscayne Bay and ends and at the Rickenbacker Causeway, south of where the Miami
River empties into the bay. South of the Rickenbacker Causeway is regarded as Central Biscayne Bay, where the bay
experiences open flushing with the ocean at its eastern most edge and is not separated by any causeways or bridges.
The central section extends south from the Rickenbacker Causeway to where BBAP meets the northern boundary of Biscayne
and extends three nautical miles east of the southern tip of Key Biscayne. The central section of the bay also includes a
4,000-acre Biscayne Bay-Cape Florida to Monroe County Line Aquatic Preserve. The Southern section of BBAP begins at
the southern boundary of Biscayne National Park at Cutter Bank, just south of the Arsenicker Keys and Broad Creek, and
terminates where Little Card Sound connects to Barnes Sound under the Card Sound Road Bridge.
Florida has one of the longest coastlines in the U.S., with
more than 75 percent of residents living in coastal
communities. Biscayne Bay extends the length of Miami-Dade County (MDC), which continues to be Florida's most populous
county with 2,700,794 residents and 13.4 percent of Florida's population. Future Projections for MDC population data
predicts MDC's population to increase to 2,822,561 people in 2020 and to
3,145,864 by 2030. Monroe County is adjacent
to Card Sound and Southern Biscayne Bay and home to an estimated 76,047
residents in 2016, however visitors from
other areas make use of the county, known as a premier fishing and scuba diving destination.
Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves Map