Preview of Sanctuary and Refuge Regulations Review
Conservation groups host open meetings to promote public input on marine and backcountry island rules.
Big Pine Key, FL — Through June of this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will gather public input on rules governing the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Key West National Wildlife Refuge and Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge. The agencies will be conducting a legally-mandated public scoping process to gather ideas about what is working, what’s not, what needs tweaking and what entirely new ideas people have for management and regulations in the sanctuary as a whole and for the refuges’ “Backcountry Management Plan” covering the out islands and waters north and west of the lower Keys.
The sanctuary’s overall boundary and its zoning plan, which includes Sanctuary Preservation Areas, Ecological Reserves, Wildlife Management Areas associated with the refuges and other types of zones, will be a primary focus, but any and all recommendations about sanctuary and refuge backcountry management and regulation are not only welcomed, but strongly encouraged. These recommendations will be fed into the process to create a set of draft alternatives for public review and, ultimately, may lead to changes in rules and regulations.
The Nature Conservancy is co-hosting open meetings with Save-A-Turtle in Marathon, Friends and Volunteers of Refuges (FAVOR) on Big Pine Key and Reef Relief on Key West about the nuts and bolts of this regulatory review process and its importance for sea turtles, seabirds, fish, seagrass meadows, coral reefs, the waters they all depend upon and opportunities for people to sustainably enjoy these things in the Florida Keys for years to come.
Chris Bergh, South Florida Conservation Director for The Nature Conservancy and a member of the Sanctuary Advisory Council, will outline the history and current regulations of the sanctuary and the refuge backcountry as well as the public scoping process, timing and opportunities for input. A question and answer session and discussion will follow. These meetings are open to one and all.
A wealth of information about the sanctuary and its marine zoning and regulatory review process may be found at http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/review/welcome.html and information about the USFWS Backcountry Management Plan may be found at http://www.fws.gov/nationalkeydeer/backcountry.html. To stay informed of the scoping meetings and other public comment opportunities, anyone may sign up for the sanctuary’s marine zoning review email list online at http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/review/email-list.html.
Big Pine Key – May 1, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Francis in the Keys Episcopal Church, 1600 Key Deer Boulevard, Big Pine Key. Co-hosted with FAVOR.
Marathon - May 7, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. at the Turtle Hospital, 2396 Overseas Highway, mile marker 48.5 bayside, Marathon. Co-hosted with Save-A-Turtle.
Key West – May 10, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center, 35 East Quay Road, Key West. Co-hosted with Reef Relief.
For more information about the meetings, contact Chris Bergh at The Nature Conservancy’s Florida Keys office at (305) 872-7071 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. With funding from the Florida Forever program and our generous donors the Conservancy has helped protect more than 1.2 million acres in Florida since 1961. Visit us on the Web at nature.org/florida.
« previous postITS THAT TIME AGAIN !
PLEASE HELP US HAVE A GREAT NESTING SEASON click on photo to enlarge
next post »“May 23rd World Turtle D....
Please join us at Cabana Breezes in Key Colony Beach at 4pm to celebrate “World Turtle ...