Located on the southeast end of Longboat Key these healthy wetlands and mangroves provide a number of essential benefits to Sarasota Bay. These habitats provide food and shelter to bay life, filter pollutants and help to protect shorelines from erosion. Over the past 50 years, development has caused a decline in the quantity and quality of Sarasota Bay’s wetlands. The public acquisition and restoration of Quick Point is a shining example of what can be done to protect and re-establish this unique and vital habitat.
- Please note, no pets allowed in this park.
- Park Rules
The man-made tidal lagoon area was excavated to different elevations and depths to attract different kinds of animals. You may see whelks, conchs, juvenile crabs and many kinds of small fish, including mullet, black drum, and others. The pond may also contain blue-green and brown algae, an important food chain for some of the lagoon’s residents. Make sure to be on the look out for wading birds within the lagoon area such as the Snowy Egret, White Ibis, Herring Gull, Great Blue Heron, Great American Egret and Osprey.
This pristine mangrove lagoon area was present 100 years ago and still serves today as a serene natural setting of mangroves for utilization by shore birds and human enjoyment. The natural lagoon area also serves as vital habitat for juvenile fish and crabs just like the new man made lagoon.
During the 1950’s and 1960’s extensive ditching of the mangroves occurred for mosquito control purposes. Connecting low marshy areas with a series of crisscrossing ditches was the method used to drain lowlands and allow fish into ditches. The fish would feed on the mosquito larvae thereby effecting biological control of this problem. The ditches were dug by the use of a mechanical dragline, with the spoil being placed on the mangroves.
Today we know the beauty, wildlife value, erosion protection, and importance in estuary ecology that make mangroves an important natural resource, which all Floridians should strive to protect.
Here are identification tips on the four different mangrove species found throughout the Quick Point Nature Preserve. Red mangroves will be found closest to open water. They have arching prop roots and their seeds, or propagules, look something like green cigars. Their leaves are large and bright green. Black mangroves will usually be found growing land-ward of red mangroves. Black mangroves “sweat” salt from their leaves and send up twiggy projections from their roots called pneumatophores, which provide oxygen to the tree’s roots. Their leaves are dull green with silver undersides. White mangroves usually grow land-ward of (or are interspersed with) black mangroves.
There are two large areas at the Quick Point site that are the result of previous dredge soil deposition. Australian pine has heavily colonized these areas. Removal of the Australian pine is part of the overall restoration plan for Quick Point. Australian pine and Brazilian Pepper are invasive exotics which spread easily and take over the indigenous or native beneficial vegetation. Other upland canopy species, which are beneficial to the Quick Point ecosystem, include the Cabbage Palm and Red Bay. Shrubs include the Myrtle Oak, Seagrape, Sea Myrtle and White Stopper. The under-story includes herbs such as the Arrow leaf Morning Glory, Narrow-leafed sunflower and Seaside Goldenrod to name a few.
Sarasota Bay Lookout
Seagrass beds enrich our bay life and are prevalent along the entire Quick Point shoreline. For centuries the grassflats of Sarasota Bay have supported a rich array of wildlife. Unfortunately, though, the bay had lost about 30 percent of it’s seagrass since the 1940’s and 1950’s due to stormwater and wastewater discharge. Wastewater and stormwater have high levels of nitrogen, that cause algae to grow in the bay and ultimately kill the seagrass. Recently, however, improvements in wastewater and stormwater treatment and technologies have led to the recovery of seagrass beds, by 7 percent since 1988, within the central and northern portions of the bay.
What You Can Do To Help
Motorboaters can also damage grass beds. Surveys show almost half of local motorboaters run aground in grass beds, spinning their propellers and carving out bare, sandy trenches that cause irreversible damage.
What you can do to avoid running through grass beds with your motorboat:
- Keep track of the tides, even at high tides, some beds are vulnerable.
- Look for buoys, which mark the edges of some grass beds.
- Read navigation charts. Seagrass is shown as light green or with “Grs.”
- Read the water. A grass bed may appear as a large dark area underwater.
If you do run into a grass bed, you’ll be leaving behind a mud trail where your prop has churned up the bay bottom, clouded the water, and likely cut seagrass roots. It’s what you do next that counts:
- Stop the engine.
- Tilt the motor, then pole or walk out of the shallow grass flat.
Be a part of the restoration process of Sarasota Bay by helping to protect this vital seagrass habitat.