There's Still Time To Help The Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary
In January of 2020, I shared a post asking you all to show your support of a proposal going through to NOAA, asking to expand the boundaries and increase the regulation on the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS).
Now, almost a year and half later, the decision making period is coming to a close, and we need the public to show they support strong protections of the United States' only, and ailing, barrier reef.
Thank you for your time and effort. 💙
Here's what you can do:
1. Tell NOAA to Protect the Florida Keys using this Environment Florida link (it's so easy!): https://environmentflorida.webaction.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=44198
2. Tell Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission the same thing! You can copy and paste the text below (taken from the Environment Florida Direct Action link). https://myfwc.com/contact/fwc-office/senior-staff/commissioners/
From coral reefs to seagrass beds, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is an ecological treasure and key habitat. As the only barrier coral reef off the continental U.S., the Keys are home to over 6,000 species of marine wildlife, including the West Indian manatee, the bottlenose dolphin, and the whooping crane.
The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary was established in 1990 to protect this critical ecosystem, but the reef still faces imminent danger. Since the 1990's, coral cover has declined by over 90 percent. If we don't take steps to address damage to the Keys from overfishing and other human activity, the reef's fragile marine ecosystem will have little chance of adapting to climate change and our changing oceans.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is positioned to enact stronger protections for the Florida Keys. The actions proposed in the Florida Keys Restoration Blueprint would be a step in the right direction. It is vital that NOAA move forward with this process by taking bold steps to protect the Keys from harmful practices, including overfishing and anchoring.
I am voicing my support for NOAA's plan to restore the Florida Keys and urging FWC to take whatever actions are necessary to protect our coral reef.
From the Previous Post
Why Do We Care?
Marine Life: The FKNMS supports high diversity (meaning a wide variety of fish, turtles, marine mammals, and shark species) due to the presence of both tropical and subtropical species, the largest seagrass habitat in North America, and a large barrier reef.
Money: In addition to the hundreds of thousands of marine animals that rely on this ecosystem, approximately 60% of the $4.7 Billion Florida Keys economy is tied directly to marine-related activities.
Motive: Unregulated human interaction with our oceans has had an immense negative impact on the ecosystem. As the reefs around the world decline due to climate change, pollution, and mismanagement, it is important that America set an example for how to positively care for the marine environment.
What is the Proposal?
The proposal suggests a huge remodel for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The current management of the sanctuary is based on a 1997 environmental impact statement and a 2007 revised management plan. 2007 is the year the first iPhone and Kindle came out, if our phones have improved drastically in that time, our environmental protections should too.
The proposal itself is 581 pages asking for:
* Expansion of marine preservation areas
* Targeted and site-specific protections
* Testing of new restoration approaches
* Enhancing of education programs
* Increasing range of protected areas
* Updating regulation policies
* Facilitating restoration of endangered corals
* And more
There are four proposals, number one being status quo, and number four being the most extreme. NOAA recommends the third level. The committee will decide which level they choose to implement.