Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Restoration Blueprint

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects the only barrier coral reef in the continental United States, stretching south from Miami to the Dry Tortugas. Within these waters lie nationally-significant resources including seagrass beds, coral reef colonies, mangrove-fringed islands, and thousands of marine species.

But this fragile habitat is increasingly under threat from hurricanes, disease, boat groundings, rising ocean temperatures, pollution, and human interactions.

In 2019, in an effort to address these threats, the sanctuary will propose a Restoration Blueprint that embodies what we have learned from nearly 30 years of cutting-edge science, technical experience, and local community involvement.

Meeting the challenges of the future will take dedication, passion, and appreciation from all of us. The health of sanctuary habitats has a profound effect on our economy and our unique way of life in the Keys.

As we continue to develop our proposal, we look forward to your participation in this process.

A Blueprint for the Future: Restoring Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

 

Since 1990, the sanctuary has worked with partners and the local community to understand and protect the Key's critical resources. Now it's time to do more to protect, respond, and recover.

 

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fish swimming around a coral reef

How it works

NOAA will release a draft environmental impact statement, known as the Restoration Blueprint, for public comment. The proposal will include recommended changes to the current management plan, zoning, and regulations that have been in effect since 1997.

How to get involved

Attend Sanctuary Advisory Council meetings:

  • April 16, 2019
  • June 11, 2019
  • August 20, 2019
  • October 15, 2019
  • December 10, 2019

Location: Hyatt Place, 1996 Overseas Highway, Marathon, Florida

Learn more: Marine Zoning and Regulatory Review

A Healthy Florida Keys is the Foundation of a Strong Economy

 

The highly diverse and sensitive ecosystem of the Florida Keys drives the economy and local way of life.

graphic of hands holding up coral with fish and a diver swimming and a person in a boat fishing

The sanctuary protects this ecosystem for future generations, balancing ecological health and economic benefits.

Be part of the solution

 

Public input is key to the future of the Florida Keys.

 

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Natural and Cultural Resources

 

Protects 2900 square nautical miles and 1.4 million acres of seagrass beds
800 estimated underwater historical sites. 14 of which are listed in the national register of historic places. more than 6000 marine species. 1800 miles of mangrove shoreline

Pressures on the Ecosystem

 

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary responds to multiple ecological threats:

graphic list of presures on the ecosystem: coastal development, water quality, invasive species, marine debris, coral bleaching and disease, climate change and ocean acidification, disturbances to wildlife, overfishing and vessel traffic and groundings

Economics and Employment

Approximately 60% of jobs in the florida keys are connected to the marine ecosystem. The coral reef ecosystem supports $3,380,000,000 in sales and income, as well as $2.1 billion in spending

Accomplishments

 

Sanctuary management prevents habitat injury, protects wildlife, improves water quality, and supports the local economy. So far, your sanctuary has:

  • Established a network of marine zones with varying levels of habitat protection.
  • Reduced large ship groundings in sensitive areas.
  • Achieved significant decrease in localized water pollution.
  • Increased navigation, habitat protection, and public use with more than 800 marker and mooring buoys.
  • Partnered with public and private businesses to promote sustainable recreation.
  • Engaged more than 600,000 visitors at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center.