[Coral-List] NOAA Conference Looks at Present and Future of Florida Keys Reefs

Cheva Heck Cheva.Heck at noaa.gov
Mon Aug 9 10:00:50 EDT 2004

NOAA 04 R466


Contact: Cheva Heck
              Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
              305.292.0311, Ext. 26
              305.304.0179 cellular


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will host a
conference August 19th through the 21st, 2004, in Key West, Fla. for
scientists, policymakers and citizens to discuss the state of the
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuaryís coral reefs and surrounding
marine environment.  The conference will work to set a roadmap for their
recovery.  The Florida Keys Sanctuary is managed by NOAA and the State
of Florida.  NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Sponsored by the Florida Keys Sanctuary, U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, the state of Florida, the Florida Department of Environmental
Protection, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,
ìConnectivity: Science, People and Policy in the Florida Keys National
Marine Sanctuary,î will bring together experts from around the world to
compare the health of the Keys coral reef ecosystem to similar
environments globally.

Through a series of panels, local experts will discuss topics such as
water quality, Everglades restoration, coral health and diseases,
fishing pressure, and Gulf of Mexico influences.  Through this
combination of global and local viewpoints, the sanctuary hopes to
clarify which challenges facing the Keys coral reefs can be dealt with
locally and which require broader action.

ìWe already know that our coral reef ecosystem faces many challenges.
The Connectivity conference will offer a forum for prioritizing and
addressing these threats,î said sanctuary superintendent Billy Causey.
ìOur coral reef ecosystem fuels a $1.2 billion tourism economy, as well
as the eighth most valuable commercial fishing industry in the nation.
In the Florida Keys, our livelihoods and lifestyles depend on finding
ways to sustain our oceans.î

The conference will take place at the Wyndham Casa Marina.  The event is
open to anyone interested, with a $25 registration fee to cover the cost
of materials.  There are additional costs for Friday dinner and Saturday
lunch and field trips into the sanctuary on Saturday and Sunday.

ìOur goal with this conference is to connect the science, people and
policy of the Florida Keys, based on more than a decade of research,
management and experience in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary,
and bring in regional and international perspectives on issues that
affect the sanctuary at those larger scales,î said Causey.  ìWe hope to
walk away from this conference with a road map to speed the recovery of
our coral reef ecosystem.î

The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, designated in 1990, protects
2,896 square nautical miles of critical marine habitat, including coral
reef, hard bottom, seagrass meadows, mangrove communities and sand

NOAAís National Marine Sanctuary Program NMSP seeks to increase the
public awareness of Americaís maritime heritage by conducting scientific
research, monitoring, exploration and educational programs.  Today, the
sanctuary program manages 13 national marine sanctuaries and one coral
reef ecosystem reserve that encompass more than 150,000 square miles of
Americaís ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural resources.

 NOAAís Ocean Service NOS manages the NMSP, and is dedicated to
exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nationís coasts
and oceans.  NOS balances environmental protection with economic
prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation,
supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats, and
mitigating coastal hazards.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety
through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related
events and providing environmental stewardship of our nationís coastal
and marine resources.

On the Web:
NOAA: http://www.noaa.gov
NOAA National Ocean Service: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary: http://floridakeys.noaa.gov
Connectivity Symposium: http://www.keysconnectivity.org

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