General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement
Dear Friends of Biscayne National Park,
Biscayne National Park is one of the largest marine parks in the national park system and is visited by an average of more than 500,000 people each year. We have been working for more than a decade to develop a General Management Plan to guide park operations for years to come. The goals of the plan are to provide opportunities for diverse visitor experiences, enable coral reef habitat restoration, and provide for preservation of the park's natural and cultural resources. In August 2011, we presented to the public the Draft General Management Plan / Environmental Impact Statement. After receiving more than 18,000 comments from the public, we began to evaluate a number of additional management actions to achieve the plan's goals.
As a result of that evaluation, we are now presenting a Supplemental Draft General Management Plan / Environmental Impact Statement with two new alternatives. Alternatives 6 and 7 were developed in consultation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA Fisheries).
The two new alternatives, including the new Agency Preferred Alternative 6, offer a unique and innovative approach to managing marine ecosystems-a Special Recreation Zone. This new concept aims to accomplish the same objectives as the original preferred alternative, while allowing limited fishing opportunities. Our partner agencies believe that providing some access, while prohibiting certain activities that are most damaging to the coral reef system, will enable us to simultaneously achieve our visitor experience and resource protection goals.
We would appreciate receiving any comments you may have by February 20, 2014, the end of the public comment period. Thank you for your continued interest in our park.