Biscayne Bay is a lagoon that is approximately 35 miles long and up to 8 miles wide located on the Atlantic coast of South Florida, United States. It is usually divided for purposes of discussion and analysis into three parts, North Bay, Central Bay, and South Bay and its area is 428 square miles. The drainage basin covers 938 square miles, discovered by Ponce de Leon, he landed there and was originally named Santa Marta. The North Bay of the Biscayne Bay lies between Miami Beach barrier island and Miami on the mainland, however, water quality has steadily improved since regular monitoring began in 1979. North Bay accounts for only 10% of the area of the bay. Central Bay is the largest part of the bay and it is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the Safety Valve. It has been adversely affected primarily by bulkheading, urban runoff discharged by canals, South Bay is nearly as large as Central Bay, and is the least affected by human activities, although it also suffers from the loss of natural fresh water flow. South Bay is separated from the Straits of Florida by the northernmost of the Florida Keys and it is connected to Florida Bay through a few small channels. Construction began on July 22,1912, although the cost of the project was initially $75,000, the construction project faced delays and cost overruns. The budge was partially completed in 1913, the bridge was hailed as the longest wooden vehicle bridge in the world, and opened up the area as a luxury winter resort and playground. The bridge terminated at the Dixie Highway, built by Carl G. Fisher, the bridge was a toll bridge, in 1920, the toll was reduced from 20 cents each way to 15 cents one way. The bridge was torn down in 1925 and replaced with the more substantial Venetian Causeway the next year, in 1925, Biscayne Point was created in Miami Beachs north end. In 1929, a third causeway crossed Biscayne Bay at Normandy Isle, the Julia Tuttle Causeway was built in 1959. Other causeways are the John F. Kennedy and Broad causeways, the Card Sound Bridge connects the mainland in the Homestead, Florida area to the northern part of Key Largo. In 1975, the bay was designated as an aquatic preserve. The aquatic preserve spans the entirety of Biscayne Bay from Oleta River in the north to Card Sound in the south, with the exception of the part of the bay. A second preserve was added off of Cape Florida on Key Biscayne. These two preserves are now managed by the state of Florida under the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves, seven remaining houses of Biscayne Bays Stiltsville settlement are now within the boundaries of this National Park which was established in 1980
View of Southern Biscayne Bay showing the Downtown Miami skyline in the background, November 2014
Southern Biscayne Bay makes up the bulk of Biscayne National Park.
Image: Biscayne Bay Panorama
Aerial view of the Safety Valve from southern end of Key Biscayne (top) to Soldier Key