Soundscape / Noise
Preservation and restoration of diminishing natural sound environments or soundscapes has become a foremost challenge in the protection of park resources. Biscayne National Park offers some of the best places to hear the calls of wildlife. Today, these natural ambient sounds are threatened as the noises of civilization and technological conveniences increasingly intrude into even the most remote corners of the park. The National Park Service’s mission is to assure that natural sounds and quiet are protected. For the past few years Biscayne National Park, along with Dry Tortugas NP, Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades NP have been the subject of noise monitoring and analysis. Initially, the catalyst was a supplemental environmental impact analysis led by the Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and related to the proposal to convert the former Homestead Air Force Base, devastated by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, into a major single-runway, civilian airport. The issue has evolved into one of soundscape protection as the parks came to recognize that all human-caused noise was the problem, not just noise from aircraft. Biscayne, Everglades, and Big Cypress are in various stages of developing noise management plans that detail what can and must be done to protect their soundscape resources.