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Significance of Mosquito Lagoon Aquatic Preserve Quick Topics

As a component of the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) complex, Mosquito Lagoon is designated an Estuary of National Significance by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It was designated by the Florida Legislature as an aquatic preserve in 1970, included in the Aquatic Preserves Act of 1975 passed by the Florida Legislature, and designated as an Outstanding Florida Water in 1979. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) affords the highest level of protection to these waters. In addition, areas within MLAP are also classified as: Class II, Shellfish Harvesting waterbodies (approved for shellfish propagation or harvesting).

Mosquito Lagoon Aquatic Preserve (MLAP) is a part of one of the most diverse estuaries in North America, providing habitat for nine federally-protected species while simultaneously supporting multi-million dollar recreational and commercial fisheries. The extensive oyster reefs and clam beds of MLAP are economically important to the region. There are more than 1,240 acres of salt marsh located within MLAP. The habitat in and surrounding Mosquito Lagoon potentially supports 12 federally-designated endangered or threatened species and numerous nationally-registered cultural resource sites, including Turtle Mound, which is the largest shell midden on the east coast of Florida.

The barrier island running along the eastern side of MLAP contains the City of New Smyrna Beach, Bethune Beach and Canaveral National Seashore (CNS) and includes 24 miles of remote, undeveloped beach along the Atlantic seaboard. CNS consists of a coastline that includes one of the world's foremost sea turtle nesting beaches. Playalinda Beach and Apollo Beach, both within the CNS are important attractions to tourists, birders, commercial and recreational fishermen. Mosquito Lagoon, MLAP and CNS are the nearest natural coastal areas to three major urban areas � Orlando, Daytona Beach and Brevard County - offering opportunities to enjoy the true tranquility of nature. MLAP and surrounding waters have been long recognized as important places for fishing and water sports by residents of central Florida and tourists alike.

Shuttle launch

Mosquito Lagoon is the backdrop for shuttles launched from Kennedy Space Station.
Photo: NASA

Last updated: April 06, 2015

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