DEP’s Florida Coastal Office debuts interactive map of Aquatic Preserves
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Coastal Office presents an online interactive story map that takes visitors on a virtual tour of the state’s 41 aquatic preserves through pictures, videos and website links.
Florida’s aquatic preserves encompass approximately 2.2 million acres. All but four of these “submerged lands of exceptional beauty” are located along Florida’s 8,400 miles of coastline in the shallow waters of marshes and estuaries that serve as a critical nursery for many of the nation’s recreationally and commercially important fish and shellfish.
“The aquatic preserve story map provides a captivating way for the public and government officials to learn about each aquatic preserve and the great things being accomplished by Florida Coastal Office staff and volunteers across the state,” said Chris Robertson, GIS coordinator for the Florida Coastal Office. “This map is an incredible tool that can be used to teach Florida residents about the natural beauty found right in their backyard.”
This interactive mapping project was created to educate the public about the diverse ecosystems found across the state and to encourage public support and community involvement in the aquatic preserves.
Approximately two-thirds of Floridians live in counties that border an aquatic preserve.
The creation of this interactive map takes promoting the aquatic preserves further than just handing out a pamphlet or pointing to a storyboard. It allows guests to get a closer look at the research, resource protection, education and community outreach that is taking place at each site.
The map is hosted on the Florida DEP’s ArcGIS online gallery.