Aerial view of Indian River Lagoon, Florida. The Thousand Islands sit within the Banana River portion Indian River Lagoon.
We brought our passion for conservation to our work in Florida’s Thousands Islands, a place where, according to Cocoa Beach Mayor Skip Beeler, “people of all ages are reminded of the magic of nature.” Thanks to the Fund and a team of public and private partners, in 2008 the Thousand Islands was protected in its entirety.
The Thousand Islands sit within the Banana River portion of Indian River Lagoon—one of the nation’s most biologically diverse bodies of water, boasting more than 2,100 varieties of plants and over 2,200 species of animals. The lagoon’s ocean beaches also support one of the densest sea turtle nesting areas found in the western hemisphere.
This property ranked as a high conservation priority for the state of Florida, not only because of its ecological value, but also because it was surrounded by protected land. The property consists of a mixture of islands, fragile sea grass meadows and mangrove forests that provide habitat for manatees, dolphins, marine fish and shellfish and a diverse bird population, including pelicans, egrets, osprey and ibis.
The Conservation Fund facilitated the sale of nearly 280 acres of wildlife habitat and recreation waters from private landowners to Brevard County, which used funds from its Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) program for the purchase. Additional funding came from the Florida Communities Trust state grant program and the city of Cocoa Beach. The protected property will become part of the county’s EEL preserve system and will be open to the public for paddling, wildlife viewing and fishing.