Florida’s newest Aquatic Preserve, the Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve (NCAP), is about to reach an important milestone. Since designation in 2020, managers and staff at Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) have worked hard to get the NCAP off to a great start. A major effort in 2021 was to initiate seagrass and water quality monitoring programs in collaboration with our team here at UF. The next key milestone is producing a comprehensive management plan for the new preserve. Thanks to a team effort between FDEP, UF/IFAS, and a highly engaged advisory committee, the NCAP management plan is nearing the home stretch.
The NCAP Management Plan
Aquatic preserve management plans provide site-specific 10-year action plans for FDEP and their partners. The NCAP plan, like others, relies heavily on input from the public and an advisory committee representing a broad range of stakeholders. The initial public input process kicked off virtually in September 2021. Nearly 90 people turned out to that public meeting, giving the team a great start on defining the most important topics of focus for the plan.
Over the past several months, the advisory committee has met repeatedly refine topics and needs for the NCAP. After several iterations, the team is happy to present the Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve DRAFT Management Plan. There will be two opportunities for public comment at upcoming meetings detailed below. One meeting will be virtual and the other will be in-person. Each meeting will cover the same material, only the format differs. We encourage you to come join the discussion!
Public input opportunities
- NCAP Management Plan Public Meeting 1 – 5/19/2022, 6-8 PM – Virtually on Zoom (register here)
- NCAP Management Plan Public Meeting 2 – 5/24/2022 , 6-8 PM – In person at the Plantation Inn, 9301 West Fort Island Trail, Crystal River, FL 34429
The Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve is managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (FDEP) Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection. The field monitoring and management plan workshops are funded, in part, by FDEP. The views, statements, findings, conclusions and recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the State of Florida or any of their subagencies.