Lignumvitae Key Aquatic Preserve
Enhanced participation in the Seagrass Outreach Partnership (SOP) has allowed
for a greater capacity to educate people about the importance of seagrasses to
the local economy and ecology. The SOP was formed in 1997 and provides
information that helps boaters minimize impacts to the many shallow seagrass
beds in Florida waters.
A strengthened relationship with DEP environmental resource permitting program has
allowed for more streamlined approach when addressing projects within and adjacent
to the aquatic preserve.
Aquatic preserve educational signs have been redesigned and replaced in the
lower Florida Keys. The signs were positioned along fishing bridges and in
highly visible locations near and adjacent to the aquatic preserve to ensure
the information was readily available to visitors.
Partnerships for Protection
Lignumvitae Key Aquatic Preserve is one of the southernmost aquatic preserves. It is located
in the lower half of the Florida Keys archipelago and lies within the boundaries of the Florida
Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS). Established in 1990, the FKNMS afforded a higher
level of protection through both state and federal management. Due to the increasing threats
to each of the habitats that comprise the sub-tropical ecosystem of the Florida Keys, this
state - federal partnership provides protection to 2,900 square nautical miles surrounding the
entire archipelago of the Florida Keys, including the Lignumvitae Key Aquatic Preserve. The
Florida Park Service handles much of the site management of the preserve as part of the
Lignumvitae Key Botanical
State Park which overlaps most of the preserve.
Quick Facts about Lignumvitae Key Aquatic Preserve
7,000 acres of sovereign submerged lands
Karen Bohnsack, Manager
Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail State Park
Key Largo, FL 33037
Lignumvitae Key Aquatic Preserve Management Plan
Christmas worm on a coral
Lignumvitae Key Aquatic Preserve encompasses 7,000 acres of seagrass meadows,
deep water channels, hard bottom communities and mangrove wetlands.
Rare wading birds can often be observed foraging in the shallow waters of the
tropical lagoon and amongst the mangroves.
Activities within the preserve include boating, snorkeling, diving, commercial
fishing, marine life collecting, charter sport fishing and recreational fishing
for finfish and lobster.
The tropical hardwood hammock that thrives on Lignumvitae Key is one of the
few remaining virgin forests of its type in Florida's Upper Keys.
In 1919, William J. Matheson, a wealthy Miami chemist, bought this tiny island
and built a caretaker's home with a windmill for electricity and a cistern for
rainwater. This building is now the visitor center for the park and is only
accessible by boat.
October 28, 2016
3900 Commonwealth Boulevard M.S. 235
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
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