The northern section of the Florida Reef Tract, part of the only
coral reef ecosystem in the continental United States, is co-managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Coral Reef Conservation Program. The region of focus stretches over 100 miles from the northern boundary of Biscayne Nation Park in Miami-Dade County, northward to the Port St. Lucie Inlet in Martin County (maps). As of Mid-2018, this area is also legally known as the SE Florida Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Area and will soon be re-named in honor of the late Florida State representative, Kristin Jacobs.
Friends of Our Florida Reef (FOFR) was founded in April 2015 as a 501c3 nonprofit, non-governmental Citizen Support Organization, inspired in part by the State's Our Florida Reefs community planning process. FOFR's mission is to assist and enhance the critical efforts of the Florida DEP Coral Program to conserve and protect the northern section of the Florida Reef Tract by filling significant budget gaps, preparing for rapid response to emergencies, and self-initiated direct action, education and outreach. As a dedicated citizen support organization, FOFR will work in concert with governmental agencies and like-minded nonprofit organizations committed to keeping this vital natural resource healthy and bountiful for the diverse indigenous wildlife that call it home, and the millions of people living and/or vacationing in Southeast Florida.
Although the Florida Reef Tract has been living prosperously for millennia, in many spots within swimming distance from the shore, it is under threat from many modern human-induced stressors, including but not limited to: residential and industrial land-based sources of pollution, over-fishing, coastal construction, and vessel and anchoring impacts. Combined with various global stressors, these activities have a cumulative negative effect on Florida's unique natural (and national) treasure. Fortunately, critical steps are being taken by the Florida DEP Coral Program and other organizations to ensure healthy reefs for the 21st Century.
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This vibrant and ancient natural resource and marine wildlife habitat provides popular recreation and tourism options including stellar beaches, fishing, boating, snorkeling and diving. Moreover, the Florida Reef Tract supports the regional economy and greater good by providing fantastic warm-water recreational activities, delicious seafood for millions, and thousands of jobs - all while constantly protecting vital shoreline real estate, marinas, and strategic ports from ocean wave action and storm surge.
Background Florida Reef Image Courtesy of Dave Gilliam
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