Caroline McLaughlin: August 30, 2016



Rare Move by Senators Nelson and Rubio Could Set a Dangerous Precedent



Caroline McLaughlin

Biscayne Program Manager
National Parks Conservation Association


U.S. Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio recently fast-tracked a bill that would block desperately needed marine conservation measures in Biscayne National Park. The bill would prevent the creation of a marine reserve that would protect Biscayne’s fragile coral reef resources, improve national park visitor experiences, and help bring back more fish to Florida.

Park advocates say the rare move by Congress sets a dangerous precedent that not only threatens Biscayne’s dying corals and dwindling fish populations but “would block the National Park Service from exercising its legal authority to protect America’s largest marine national park,” said Caroline McLaughlin, Biscayne program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA).

Approved last year, the park’s final management plan includes the marine reserve and underwent 15 years of interagency cooperation, scientific analysis and a vigorous public process with more than 22 public meetings and more than 43,000 comments received. Ninety percent of comments favored the marine reserve as a way of protecting the park’s struggling coral reefs and reef fish populations. With 95 percent of Biscayne National Park as water, only a small portion of the entire park will be included in the marine reserve – roughly 6 percent.

On Tuesday, August 30th, NPCA’s Caroline McLaughlin will be available to talk more about NPCA’s concerns with this unnecessary bill and how Biscayne protects part of the third-largest barrier reef tract in the world and some of the only living coral within the continental United States. She will also discuss how the park is a significant economic driver for the state and the region where more than half a million visitors spent nearly $32 million in the local area last year alone.

A Marine Reserve


More About Caroline McLaughlin:

As the Biscayne Program Manager for the Sun Coast region, Caroline focuses on protecting the marine resources of this unique national park. She leads NPCA’s efforts to protect Biscayne National Park’s incredible but severely threatened coral reef ecosystem through the implementation of a marine reserve as part of the park’s recently finalized General Management Plan.

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