[Coral-List] Request for comments on proposed Flower Garden Banks NMS expansion!
Adrienne Simoes Correa
adymscorrea at gmail.com
Thu Jul 28 12:42:25 EDT 2016
Since the Flower Garden Banks NMS has everyone’s attention this morning, please take a moment to make a public comment (due Aug. 19, 11:59 PM) regarding the Proposed FGBNMS Expansion here: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NOS-2016-0059 <https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NOS-2016-0059>
It is most helpful if you include a statement about which Expansion Alternative you prefer and why.
As 1 of 2 Research Seats on the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, I am also collecting and representing research stakeholder views regarding the proposed expansion and conveying them to the Sanctuary Advisory Council Boundary Expansion Working Group. Please send your thoughts/suggestions/concerns to me regarding the expansion at adymscorrea at gmail.com <mailto:adymscorrea at gmail.com>
You can find information about the proposed expansion Alternatives 1 (no action alternative) through 5 (increase of ~935 sq mi) summarized below, with more details available if you scroll to the bottom of: http://flowergarden.noaa.gov/management/expansiondeis.html <http://flowergarden.noaa.gov/management/expansiondeis.html>
Alternative 1: No action alternative, which maintains the existing FGBNMS boundaries, which encompass ~56 square miles and include 3 distinct geologic features and biological communities at East Flower Garden Bank, West Flower Garden Bank and Stetson Bank.
Alternative 2: Sanctuary Advisory Council recommendation made in 2007, encompassing a total of ~281 square miles. This alternative includes 12 nationally significant natural features within 9 discrete proposed boundary areas.
Alternative 3 (NOAA PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE): The preferred alternative, which is a modified version of the Advisory Council recommendation. This alternative takes into account new information gained since the Advisory Council recommendation was made, simplifying the recommended boundaries for ease of enforcement and consistency with existing regulatory regimes, and encompassing ~383 square miles. This alternative includes a total of 18 nationally significant natural features within 11 discrete proposed boundary areas.
Alternative 4: Adds protection for high priority mesophotic and deep benthic resource areas across the north central Gulf of Mexico to the modified Advisory Council recommendation (Alternative 3), encompassing ~634 square miles. This alternative includes 43 nationally significant natural features (including 18 high priority mesophotic and deep benthic sites) within 29 discrete proposed boundary areas. Alternative 4 would require additional operational capacity beyond what is currently available for FGBNMS.
Alternative 5: More comprehensive management and protection of important and vulnerable mesophotic and deep benthic habitats, as well as important cultural and historic resource sites across the north central Gulf of Mexico, further expanding from the modified Advisory Council recommendation and encompassing ~935 square miles. This alternative includes 57 nationally significant natural features and 8 nationally significant cultural and historic resource sites within 45 discrete proposed boundary areas. Alternative 5 would also require additional operational capacity beyond what is currently available for the FGBNMS.
Adrienne M.S. Correa, Ph.D.
BioSciences at Rice University
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Program
Martel College Associate
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