Snake Bight Pole and Troll Zone
UPDATE: February 21, 2012
UPCOMING: Snake Bight Pole and Troll Zone Public Workshops March 5 (Homestead) and March 8 (Key Largo); 5:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Just over one year ago the park implemented the largest pole and troll zone in Florida, the 9,400-acre Snake Bight Pole and Troll Zone (PTZ), just east of Flamingo in Florida Bay. I view this project as a true partnership between the public and the park in finding ways to enhance resource protection and visitor experiences in Everglades National Park. When the Snake Bight PTZ was being designed we committed to have ongoing discussions with public once the zone was in place to help determine if the project objectives were being met and how it might be improved over time.
While we've had informal discussions with many of you since the PTZ was established in January 2011, we thought that after a year it would be a good time for more formal and comprehensive discussions to present what's happened to date, what activities are planned in the future, and to get your feedback on the PTZ – its layout, how its signed, the education and outreach efforts, how you think it's working, and suggested adjustments we should consider.
Workshops (5:30 to 8:00 p.m.):
Monday, March 5, 2012 at the John Campbell Agricultural Center, 18710 SW 288th Street, Homestead, FL
Thursday March 8, 2012 Murray Nelson (Monroe County) Government Center at 102050 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, FL
• 5:30 - 6:30: informal discussion between staff and the public
• 6:30 - 7:00: brief presentations about the PTZ: updates on resource monitoring, visitor experience, education, and enforcement efforts; upcoming monitoring and management efforts
• 7:00 - 8:00: Q&A, discussion, public comments
The Snake Bight PTZ was created based on park studies completed several years ago that pointed to extensive damage in Snake Bight and other shallow areas in Florida Bay and documented that Snake Bight was one of the most visited areas in the bay. The Snake Bight PTZ was established in January 2011 with overwhelming public support in order to increase protection of its sensitive aquatic vegetation and wilderness resources, improve the quality of flats fishing, enhance paddling and wildlife viewing opportunities, and expand education on proper shallow-water boating techniques. Within the PTZ, internal combustion motors can only be used in Tin Can or Snake Bight channels (where on-plane transit is permitted), and in the Jimmy's Lake idle speed-no wake area. Within all other areas of the zone, boats may only be propelled by push poles, paddles, or electric trolling motors.
The park received financial support for the project from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Coastal Restoration grant program and donations from the Herman Lucerne Foundation, the Flamingo Friendly Tournament, and the South Florida National Parks Trust to support public understanding and assess the pole and troll zone's effectiveness in protecting seagrass, while enhancing fishing and other recreational experiences.
I view the upcoming workshops and comment period as a great way to check in with the many people that enjoy the bay and want increased protection for a resource with well-documented damage, hopefully showing a way towards reversing the prop scar damage found in the very shallow Snake Bight area.
To learn more about the Snake Bight Pole and Troll Zone and the upcoming workshops, view or download other information, and provide comments (through March 31) please see other documents on this site or go to the project link on the park's website: http://www.nps.gov/ever.
We look forward to seeing you at the upcoming workshops or hearing from you through on-line comment process. As always, thank you for your ongoing interest in Everglades National Park and taking the time to participate in our outreach efforts.
Dan B. Kimball, Superintendent
Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks
Fred Herling: email@example.com or 305-242-7704