Overview

 

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS)

TNC played a vital role in establishing the Florida Keys NMS and helped to fund and manage a volunteer program to help with specific science and management actions. TNC provided scientific expertise to inform the current management plan, including assistance with data collection and analysis to characterize recreation and tourism activities in the area.  A TNC staffer currently occupies a non-governmental seat on the Sanctuary Advisory Council (SAC), representing conservation and environmental interests. Through this role, TNC provides scientific expertise and encourages stakeholder participation during the current regulatory review process.

 Spatial Planning to Support Oyster Fisheries and Restoration in Pensacola Bay

Ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) has been elusive, with most management actions directed by single-purpose and single-species plans. This holds true for oysters where management actions are typically disconnected from plans and actions for other natural resources that depend on oyster reefs. Oysters form sub-populations that, functionally if not genetically, operate primarily at the scale of estuaries. This makes oysters amenable to estuary-scale management. Currently, the State of Florida does not have a shellfish management plan at any scale. Creating oyster EBFM plans at the estuary scale is preferred since ecological, economic, and social factors are unique among regions.

TNC is working with community stakeholders in the greater Pensacola Bay system to develop the state’s first oyster ecosystem-based fishery management plan. The plan will integrate the needs of the wild and aquaculture oyster fisheries with the need to deliver ecosystem services and benefits provided by oyster habitat. The success of designing and implementing an Oyster EBFM plan requires a community’s commitment to a collaborative approach that is inclusive of its diversity of stakeholder voices. In this way, EBFM can realize integration across an array of management objectives and actions necessary to restore and manage oysters at the abundance and locations needed to fulfill the desired ecological and socio-economic goals.

South Florida Coral Reef Initiative (SEFCRI)

TNC has supported the development of recommendations through the South Florida Coral Reef Initiative with service on both the primary SEFCRI Stakeholder Team and the SEFCRI Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).  A variety of Local Action Strategies have been designed through SEFCRI to raise awareness, address pollution, address impacts from diving, coastal construction and other maritime activities.  Another important result of the SEFCRI process was passage of legislation that created the Southeast Coral Reef Coral Ecosystem Conservation Area (Coral ECA) in 2018. The Coral ECA is a new management boundary that is intended to focus and enable effective management actions to protect and restore coral reefs and associated ecosystems.  A management planning process will be initiated to determine what additional and spatially-explicit management actions are needed within the Coral ECA area and will be informed by the SEFCRI TAC and other stakeholder input.

TNC’s Role

  • Scientific/technical expertise
  • Implementation
  • Advisory
  • Stakeholder engagement

 TNC played a vital role in establishing the Florida Keys NMS and helped to fund and manage a volunteer program to help with specific science and management actions. TNC provided scientific expertise to inform the current management plan, including assistance with data collection and analysis to characterize recreation and tourism activities in the area.  A TNC staffer currently occupies a non-governmental seat on the Sanctuary Advisory Council (SAC), representing conservation and environmental interests. Through this role, TNC provides scientific expertise and encourages stakeholder participation during the current regulatory review process.

Project Partners

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Sea Grant, NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program and  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Fact Sheets and Project Links

Pensacola Bay

Contact

Chris Bergh, South Florida Program Manager, cbergh@tnc.org
Anne Birch, Marine Program Manager, abirch@tnc.org
Rob Brumbaugh, Senior Marine Scientist, rbrumbaugh@tnc.org
Laura Geselbracht, Senior Marine Scientist, lgeselbracht@tnc.org

Photo credit: © Carlton Ward

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