Restoration and Conservation Areas
An important goal of the Restoration Blueprint is to simplify regulations so they are easier for resource users to understand, remember, and abide by. Another goal is to protect the most vulnerable habitats within the sanctuary. NOAA proposes combining the existing ecological reserves and special use areas into a new zone type: conservation areas. Six conservation areas designed to protect large interconnected habitats and/or facilitate research are proposed.
Restoration areas are a new zone type that reflects the sanctuary's support of ongoing habitat restoration efforts, primarily for coral reefs. There are two restoration area subtypes: nursery restoration areas, where corals are being grown in sanctuary waters and require the highest levels of protection; and habitat restoration areas, which are natural sites where active transplanting and restoration activities are ongoing. Watch this video to learn more about restoration areas and conservation areas in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.