Today the ecology of South Florida is very different and only the very southern counties continue to have vast mangrove preserves. These mangrove regions are important to South Florida’s economy and ecology and form an important ecological link with the freshwater cypress and Everglades wetlands. Mangroves support marine food chains and serve as habitat and nursery grounds for many species of birds, fish and wildlife. In Broward County, West Lake Park’s 1,500+ acres of coastal mangrove wetlands is one of the largest urban parks in Florida. It is rich in native vegetation and wildlife, including many threatened and endangered species. Within the urban landscape of canals and seawalls, it is common to find small fringes of mangroves that continue to provide habitat and refuge for native fauna. These areas are important for shoreline stabilization, filter nutrients from upland sources and maintain water quality. For these reasons, mangrove areas of varying locations and sizes are protected and conserved. The Broward County Aquatic and Wetlands Resources Section regulates and enforces the protection of mangroves throughout the county in order to ensure that mangroves continue to remain an asset for the future.