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Contact: Linda Friar, 305-242-7714
Contact: Fred Herling, 305-242-7704
Everglades National Park Superintendent Dan B. Kimball is pleased to announce the public release of revised preliminary alternatives for the park’s marine areas as part of an update to its General Management Plan (GMP). The alternatives are described in Newsletter #5: Revised Preliminary Alternatives for the Marine Waters. The public comment period begins today and continues for more than 2 ½ months until May 15, 2009, to ensure maximum participation before and after the seven upcoming public meetings.
The last master plan for the park was completed in 1979 and is outdated in many ways. Everglades National Park is now developing a new General Management Plan that will guide park management for the next 20 years or more.
GMP Newsletter #5 describes the revised alternatives and provides other details on the GMP including the dates and locations of upcoming meetings and the various ways that the public can participate in the planning process and offer comments. The newsletter can be accessed through the park’s website homepage link to the GMP at www.nps.gov/ever.
"Throughout the GMP process, the involvement by thousands and the thoughtful comments from so many, with constructive feedback and ideas, are proof of the public’s deep interest in and concern for Everglades National Park," Kimball said. Based on strong concerns by many in 2007, it was decided that in order for the GMP to be a valuable long-term blueprint for decision making, it was necessary to re-examine the options for the marine areas based on a thorough analysis of public input and gathering important science and visitor use data."
More specifically, two reports, Patterns of Propeller Scarring of Seagrass in Florida Bay: Associations with Visitor Use Factors and Implications for Natural Resource Management and Aerial Survey of Boater Use in Everglades National Park Marine Waters – Florida Bay and Ten-thousand Islands, have been completed and can be found at www.nps.gov/ever (following "General Management Plan" and "GMP Documents" links). "These studies show clearly that boat use in the Florida Bay area of the park has grown exponentially and has had negative impacts on the resources we are charged with protecting. These scientific studies on boat use in the park and patterns of propeller scarring on Florida Bay seagrasses will provide a foundation for development of a balanced approach to protecting park resources and providing access to the public," Kimball said recently.
Superintendent Kimball stressed that "Public involvement has been instrumental so far in the GMP effort – we certainly hope you will stay involved throughout the planning process. We sincerely value your ideas on how to best protect the park’s unique resources and provide high-quality experiences for park visitors. This phase of the GMP is a critical one and your insights will play an important role in the next steps of the planning process – analyzing the impacts of the alternatives, developing a preferred alternative, and preparing the draft GMP and accompanying environmental impact statement." Kimball emphasized that "No decisions have been made with respect to selecting a preferred alternative – that will occur in the next step of the planning process. As such, we need your feedback and best thinking in regard to the preliminary alternatives described in Newsletter #5."
Public Meeting Dates and Locations:
1. Monday, March 30, 2009, Key Largo Grande Hotel, 97000 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, FL 33037
2. Tuesday, March 31, 2009, Everglades City School, 415 School Drive, Everglades City, FL 34139
3. Wednesday, April 1, 2009, South Dade Regional Public Library, 10750 SW 211th Street, Miami, FL 33189
4. Monday, April 13, 2009*, Key Largo Holiday Inn, 99701 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, FL 33037
5. Tuesday, April 14, 2009, Campbell Agricultural Center, 18710 SW 288th Street, Homestead, FL 33030
6. Wednesday, April 15, 2009, Edison College, Bldg J, 7007 Lely Cultural Parkway, Naples, Florida 34113
7. Thursday, April 16, 2009, IGFA – Fishing Hall of Fame, 300 Gulfstream Way, Dania Beach, FL 33004
Webcast * The April 13, 2009 meeting at the Key Largo Holiday Inn will be webcast starting at 6:00 p.m. To access the webcast, go to the park’s website: www.nps.gov/ever and click the "General Management Plan" link.
To request a copy of Newsletter #5: Call Everglades National Park at 305-242-7700. If prompted by voice mail, press "2" at the first prompt, and "5" at the second prompt; leaving mailing information and a request for the newsletter.
Please contact Fred Herling, Park Planner, at 305-242-7704 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.