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“Although located in an urban area, the Banana River Aquatic Preserve offers many opportunities to view and experience the estuarine resources of the Indian River Lagoon system. Paddling the mangrove-lined backwaters of the Thousand Islands in Cocoa Beach or walking the trails along the marsh at Ulumay Wildlife Sanctuary adjacent to Sykes Creek are just a few of the opportunities available to visit this natural treasure.”

Bob Day, Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program

Banana River Aquatic Preserve is located in north central Brevard County, separating Merritt Island on the west and the beach barrier island on the east. The surface water area of the aquatic preserve is approximately 30,000 acres. The aquatic preserve begins at State Road 528 (Bennett Causeway), extends almost to the southern tip of Merritt Island, and includes Newfound Harbor and Sykes Creek as far north as Hall Road. The incorporated cities bordering the aquatic preserve are Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, Satellite Beach and Indian Harbor Beach, north to south respectively. In addition, Patrick Air Force Base lies along the Banana River Lagoon between Cocoa Beach and Satellite Beach. The aquatic preserve is accessible from the east by U.S. Highway A1A and from the west by State Road 3. Numerous parks and boat ramps provide direct public access to the aquatic preserve.

The northern Banana River has been the most important spring habitat (300-500 individuals/survey day) for the east coast population of manatees, and large numbers of manatees use the Banana River almost year-round. In addition, the Banana River supports the largest pelican rookery on the Atlantic Coast, a significant population of alligators, and diamondback terrapin turtles. 

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