Digitally Explore the Natural Resources of Key Biscayne & Surrounding Areas
Within the Explore section of the Citizen Scientist Project’s Lab, you can click through to review our geographic information system (GIS) maps of the natural resources found in and around Key Biscayne and Virginia Key.
Each natural resource listed below has a GIS map that outlines the various resources on the island along with pertinent information about the natural resource you are exploring.
Simply click the Explore button in the resource section of your choosing to get started.
Explore Our Beaches
Key Biscayne is fortunate to be bounded on it’s eastern side by beautiful beaches extending the entire length of the Island. The beaches can be divided into 3 areas distinguished by the managing government agency. The northern end of the Key, Crandon Park falls under the jurisdiction of Miami-Dade county. The central portion of the beach is managed by the Village of Key Biscayne and the southern portion, Bill Baggs Park, by the State of Florida. Hobie Island, to the north of Key Biscayne, is home to 2 beaches — Virginia Key Beach and Hobie Island Beach.
Explore Our Coral Reefs
Coral reefs are either naturally occurring or artificially implanted features of the marine environment located on the ocean side of Key Biscayne. The reefs are congregations of small living creatures typically found in tropical and subtropical waters, such as off Key Biscayne. Naturally occurring reefs form independently of human intervention, while artificially formed reefs grow on human planted features such as ships sunk specifically for the purpose of providing a foundation for coral growth. At least one such ship was sunk off Key Biscayne.
Explore Our Green Spaces
For purposes of this discussion, green spaces are areas that are limited to trees, plants, grass, and other natural flora. As with the Key’s beaches, green spaces can be divided into 3 areas, those in Crandon Park, the Village of Key Biscayne, and Bill Baggs Park. Each area has both common and unique green spaces.
For instance, Crandon Park has green spaces that include groves of various types of trees as well as grass lands. The Village of Key Biscayne has a Village Green which provides a large area of grass covered space. Bill Baggs Park has similar green space attributes to Crandon Park.
Explore Our Mangroves
Mangrove Hammocks are natural clusters of Mangrove trees that are found along the boundaries of the Key’s waterways. Specifically, Mangrove Hammocks are located primarily on the Biscayne Bay side of Key Biscayne, for instance close to the Crandon Park Marina.
A Mangrove Hammock was planted at the Bill Baggs entrance to Pines Canal after Hurricane Andrew. The Hammock was planted to ensure that trees native to South Florida replace non-native trees such as the Australian Pines found in the area prior to the storm.
Explore Our Pathways
Although man-made, the biking and walking paths on the Key open a large window to the natural resources of the Island and provide residents and visitors a view of some of it’s hidden treasures. They provide environmentally protected methods to view the Key and another entry to the shops of the Island.
Although not hidden, the most used routes are the paths bordering the Rickenbacker Causeway-Crandon Boulevard roadway that extends from the beginning of Crandon Park to the southern end of Bill Baggs Park.
Explore Our Seagrasses
Seagrasses and associated algal communities provide essential habitat (i.e., food, refuge) for fish and invertebrates and play key ecosystem and societal roles in maintaining water quality by trapping sediments and up-taking nutrients.
Seagrass beds composed of three species, manatee grass, shoal grass, and turtle grass are abundant in shallow nearshore habitats around Key Biscayne where they can be visited and enjoyed by swimmers, kayakers, and boaters.
Explore Our Waterways
Key Biscayne has many inlets that provide outlets to Biscayne Bay for sea life such as sharks, manatees, and numerous species of other fish. In addition, the inlets serve as entry points to docking areas for personal boats ranging from sailboats to power boats, and small (order of 10 feet) to large (order of 150 feet).
The inlets provide recreational opportunities for both residents of and visitors to the Key. A popular pastime is dropping anchor and interacting with other boaters on the shallow sandbars located on the Bay-side of the Key.