[Coral-List] Biscayne National Park General Management Plan

Vanessa_McDonough at nps.gov Vanessa_McDonough at nps.gov
Fri Aug 26 09:40:10 EDT 2011

Biscayne National Park has recently announced the release of its Draft
General Management Plan.  Of possible interest to many members of this list
is the inclusion of a 10,522 acre no-take marine reserve zone under the
agency’s preferred alternative.   The public comment period extends through
October 31, 2011.  Details on how to download/view the plan in its entirety
and how to submit comments are provided in the media release below.
General questions about the plan can be sent to bisc_planning at nps.gov (but
note that public comments sent to this address will not be reviewed by the

Biscayne  News Release

August 19, 2011
For Immediate Release
Biscayne Planning, 786-335-3622

Biscayne National Park Announces Release of Draft General Manangement Plan

The National Park Service (NPS) announced today that the draft
Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) for Biscayne National Park’s
General Management Plan (GMP) is available for public comment. The NPS has
invited all interested parties to attend any of three identical public
meetings as follows:

September 13                                     September 14
September 15
6 – 9 pm                                              6 – 9 pm
6 – 9 pm
Crowne Plaza Hotel                            Florida City’s City Hall
Holiday Inn Key Largo
950 N.W. 42 Avenue                          404 W. Palm Drive
99701 Overseas Hwy
Miami, FL  33126                                Florida City, FL 33034
Key Largo, FL 33037

These public meetings will provide an opportunity for the public to learn
about the draft plan and to submit verbal and/or written comments.
Presentations and exhibits will be available to facilitate understanding of
the plan.

There are five alternatives in the plan including a current management, or
“no change” option. The NPS Preferred Alternative emphasizes strong natural
and cultural resource protection while providing for a variety of visitor
experiences and public enjoyment. It promotes the protection of natural and
cultural resources and takes actions to optimize conditions for recovery.
“The NPS Preferred Alternative was developed based on public comments we’ve
already received and on a lot of science,” said Superintendent Mark Lewis.
“We are especially interested in the public’s reaction to this alternative
since we believe it represents a good balance among the wide range of
interests people have in the park.”

Highlights of the NPS preferred alternative in the GMP include a proposed
10,522 acre no-take marine reserve and a proposed visitor center in the
Miami area. “If you visit a national park out West, you expect to see tall
trees and healthy populations of large mammals,” said Lewis. “If you visit
Biscayne National Park, you expect to see healthy reefs with a lot of coral
cover and lots of large fish of different species. But over the years, the
park’s reefs and reef fish populations have undergone a dramatic decline in
health and abundance. With a no-take marine reserve, we hope to be able to
offer our visitors the opportunity to see and experience a healthy reef,
while improving fishing outside the proposed zone.” Marine reserves around
the world have shown they increase reef health, fish population and sizes,
and improve fishing outside the reserve from spill-over effects. The
proposed reserve is about seven percent of the park’s waters and the
remaining 93% would remain open to fishing under State of Florida fishing

The proposed visitor center would be located near downtown Miami on the
shore of Biscayne Bay, with dock space for NPS and concession boats that
could lead boat tours to the northern part of the park, offering easier
access to Stiltsville and Boca Chita. “A visitor center near downtown Miami
would connect the city with the National Park at its doorstep.  We want to
reach local residents, non-traditional park users and international
visitors,” said Lewis. “The park and the City of Miami are both very
excited about a potential National Park facility in this area.”

Other aspects of the agency preferred alternative include minimal
development including a boardwalk on the mainland, a canoe dock on Porgy
Key, options for management of the historic Fowey Rocks Light, and
interpretation kiosks.

How to comment: The 60 day public comment period continues through October
31, 2011. Comments received by then will be helpful in developing the final
plan; this is the final opportunity for public comments on this plan. The
public can comment verbally or in writing at the public meetings. Emailed
comments and telephone comments cannot be accepted. Comments may be
submitted online via the NPS website at www.parkplanning.nps.gov/bisc. The
public can also send written comments to:

General Management Plan
Biscayne National Park
9700 S.W. 328th Street
Homestead, FL 33033-5634

More information: A more detailed newsletter about the General Management
Plan is available to download at www.parkplanning.nps.gov/bisc. For a paper
copy, for more information or for questions about the General Management
Plan, please contact bisc_planning at nps.gov or 785-335-3622.  Emailed
comments and telephone comments cannot be accepted for this plan.

Vanessa McDonough, Ph.D.
Fishery and Wildlife Biologist
Biscayne National Park
9700 SW 328th St
Homestead, FL 33033
ph: 305-230-1144 ext 027
fax: 305-230-1190

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