Biscayne National Park, located just a few miles from the city of Miami in south Florida's Miami-Dade County, is home to the longest stretch of mangrove forest remaining on Florida's east coast, at least 16 threatened or endangered wildlife species, and part of the only living tropical coral reef system in the continental United States.
The park is located along the southeastern margin of the Florida peninsula and encompasses much of Biscayne Bay, making it one of the largest marine parks in the National Park System. Biscayne National Park protects part of the third-largest coral reef system in the world and the longest stretch of mangrove forest remaining on Florida's east coast, providing habitat and nursery grounds for most of the region's important commercial and recreational fish, shellfish, and crustaceans. Many visitors travel to Biscayne to dive, snorkel, canoe, kayak, windsurf, or fish, further underscoring the importance of conserving the park's resources. The park also harbors many endangered species, including the West Indian manatee, American crocodile, and Schaus swallowtail butterfly.
Biscayne National Park, which encompasses two-thirds of Biscayne Bay, faces issues that arise because of its proximity to the burgeoning population of Miami-Dade County. Boats running aground on coral reefs or in seagrass beds can severely damage these ecosystems. Protected manatees and sea turtles, which are often near the surface, are also at risk of being hit by boats. Boaters need to be educated to be aware of their surroundings at all times and use extreme caution in shallow areas to avoid damaging underwater resources and wildlife.