The northern section of the Florida Reef Tract, part of the only
coral reef ecosystem in the continental United States, is governmentally co-managed by the Florida DEP Coral Reef Conservation Program. The region of the Florida's Coral Reef 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. In Summer 2021, this large vital habitat was renamed the Kristin Jacobs Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Area, after the late SE Florida politician and environmental champion Kristin Jacobs.
Friends of Our Florida Reef (FOFR) was founded in April 2015 as a 501c3 nonprofit, non-governmental Citizen Support Organization, inspired by the State's Our Florida Reefs community planning process. FOFR's mission is to assist, complement, and enhance the critical efforts of the Florida DEP Coral Program to conserve and protect the northern 100+ miles of the Florida Reef Tract. We fulfill our mission in many ways, including but not limited to: helping to bridge DEP budget gaps, preparing for and aiding in rapid response emergencies, providing education & outreach in person and online, and self-initiated direct action. As a dedicated citizen support organization, FOFR works in concert with governmental agencies and like-minded nonprofit organizations committed to keeping this vital natural resource healthy and bountiful for wildlife and humans alike.
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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