Sanctuary Seeks Public Comment on Boundaries, Zones and Regulations

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and its advisory council are seeking public comment on issues related to sanctuary boundaries, marine zones, Key West and Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge's Backcountry Management Plan, and associated regulations. The comments received will guide a review of the marine zones and regulations, and shape Florida Keys marine conservation for decades to come. Public comments are being accepted through June 29, 2012. Comments may be submitted electronically and via mail, and during five meetings in south Florida and the Florida Keys scheduled for June 19-27, 2012.

For more information on the marine zoning and regulatory review, read the Goals and Objectives of Marine Zoning Review and the Principles for Marine Zoning Review.


What is Scoping?

During this initial public comment period, the sanctuary will “scope out” or solicit the public’s views on the direction the sanctuary should take to best protect and conserve the living marine resources and submerged cultural resources of the Florida Keys. This information will help define the range of issues to be addressed during the marine zoning and regulatory review.  Scoping, as defined and required by the National Environmental Protection Act, is "an early and open process for determining the scope of issues to be addressed and for identifying the significant issues related to a proposed action."

Read the Federal Register Notice for more information on the scoping process.


Provide comment in person

The sanctuary and its advisory council are accepting public comments in person at five meetings. Meetings start at 4:00 p.m. and end at 8:00 p.m. Sanctuary and Refuge staff will provide presentations about sanctuary zones, regulations and the Refuge’s Backcountry Management Plan at approximately 4:15 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. Attendees may provide comment at any time during the duration of the evening.  Following the presentations, the format for providing input will be small discussion groups with notetakers. Members of the public can attend the meeting at any time to provide written comments or ask questions of staff and advisory council members.

View a printable meeting schedule. For meeting location details, visit the sanctuary events calendar.

June 19: Marathon, FL; Monroe County Government Center; Emergency Operations Center
June 20: Key Largo, FL; Key Largo Library
June 21: Key West, FL; Doubletree Grand Key Resort; Tortuga Ballroom
June 26: Miami, FL; Florida International University; Graham University Center; Room GC243
June 27: Fort Myers, FL; Joseph P. Alessandro Office Complex; Rooms 165 C and D


Provide comment electronically

Comments are being accepted online through the Federal eRulemaking Portal through June 29, 2012, under docket number NOAA-NOS-2012-0061.


Submit comment by mail

Comments may also be mailed if postmarked by June 29, 2012 to:

   Sanctuary Superintendent
   Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
   33 East Quay Rd.
   Key West, FL 33040


   Anne Morkill
   Refuge Manager
   US Fish and Wildlife Service
   28950 Watson Blvd.
   Big Pine Key, FL 33043