The Mosquito Lagoon Aquatic Preserve (MLAP) is located in east-central Florida, in southern Volusia
County, south of Ponce de Leon Inlet. It is adjacent to two incorporated municipalities - New
Smyrna Beach and Edgewater - and 50 miles northeast of Orlando. MLAP is part of the Indian
River Lagoon (IRL) system, a long, wide, shallow estuarine lagoon bounded on the west by the Florida
mainland, and on the east by a chain of barrier islands.
MLAP is in the northernmost sub-basin of the IRL system and is a bar-built type of estuary. The IRL
system stretches 156 miles from Ponce de Leon Inlet at the northern end, to Jupiter Inlet at the
southern end and, covers a full 40% of the length of Florida’s Atlantic Coast. Despite its name, the
Indian River is not a river but is a lagoon or a shallow estuarine water body. Lagoons are estuaries
characterized by restricted outlets to the sea, limiting the mixing of oceanic saltwater with
terrestrially derived freshwater from rivers, streams and rainwater runoff. Three distinct bodies of
water comprise the IRL system: the Indian River Lagoon, the Banana River Lagoon and Mosquito Lagoon.
MLAP is unique among the inland waters of the Atlantic Coast of Florida and a feeling of relative
isolation is attainable just a short distance from nearby boat ramps. Once outside the Atlantic
Intracoastal Waterway, local knowledge of water depths and channels of the Lagoon system is
essential. Elevated landmarks are difficult to see at times, and it is easy to become disorientated
among the winding turns and dead end waterways.