NOAA needs to act to protect the Florida Keys and their wildlife

Home to North America's only coral barrier reef, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary needs greater protections.

National Marine Sanctuaries via Flickr | Public Domain
The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary has lost 90% of its live coral over the past four decades.

This place is a national marine sanctuary — but pollution is making it no safe refuge for the wildlife that call it home.

Found off the southern tip of Florida, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is home to manatees, bottlenose dolphins, mangrove-ringed islands and North America’s only coral barrier reef. But overuse, water pollution and climate change are threatening this refuge. Over the past four decades, nearly 90% of the sanctuary’s live corals have been lost, and virtually every seagrass bed has been damaged, marked for example with scars left by boats’ propellers.

To protect this special place from further damage, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released a draft plan to increase the area’s protections. This fall, nearly 14,000 supporters of Environment America and our national network submitted public comments urging NOAA to adopt the strongest possible protections.

Environment America is dedicated to protecting all our country’s wild places, and we and our supporters will continue to take action to protect our wildernesses.


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