Big Bend Seagrasses Aquatic Preserve Management Plan Approve by Acquisition and Restoration Council

On April 11,  the Big Bend Seagrasses Aquatic Preserve Management Plan was approved by the Acquisition and Restoration Council. The Council is responsible for reviewing the management plans and land use for all state-owned conservation lands, as well as the selection and ranking of land acquisition projects on the Florida Forever priority list. This meeting was the final public review for the plan.

The Big Bend Seagrasses Aquatic Preserve is one of 41 Florida Aquatic Preserves managed by the Florida Coastal Office. Each preserve maintains and updates a ten year management plan. This Preserve is located on the West-Northwest coastal edges of the Florida Peninsula.

“An updated management plan ensures that the aquatic preserve is set apart for the enjoyment of future generations as required by Florida statute,” said Tim Jones, manager of the Big Bend Seagrasses Aquatic Preserve. “It also conserves important seagrasses that are the basis of the livelihood of thousands of people in the Big Bend. Each of the jobs created from the resource has a ripple effect adding positive economic benefits in all the counties adjacent to the aquatic preserve.”

In this plan, the Preserve characterizes each of its issues and delineates unique goals, objectives and strategies that set the framework for meeting the challenges presented by the issues. Objectives include reducing non-native, invasive plant and animal species within the managed lands; conducting education, training, and outreach programs for targeted audiences; and supporting visiting investigators conducting research in the Preserve.

The four long-term goals of the Florida Coastal Office’s Aquatic Preserve Program are to:

  • Protect and enhance the ecological integrity of the aquatic preserves
  • Restore areas to their natural condition
  • Encourage sustainable use and foster active stewardship by engaging local communities in the protection of aquatic preserves
  • Improve management effectiveness through a process based on sound science, consistent evaluation, and continual reassessment

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