Dry Tortugas National Park (DTNP)

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Chapter 2. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Present briefly the proposed area and its principal characteristics, and specify the objectives that motivated its creation :

The Dry Tortugas National Park (DTNP) protects a 265 sq. km. area of coral reefs, sandy shoals, seagrass beds and seven small islands or keys. The marine area includes reefs with high densities of live coral cover and massive coral heads that are unique to the Tortugas region and rare in the Florida Keys. Rare migratory seabirds utilize the keys for rookeries and sea turtles nest on the sand beaches. DTNP was established by the U.S. Congress: “to preserve and protect for the education, inspiration, and enjoyment of present and future generations nationally significant natural, historic, scenic, marine, and scientific values in South Florida.” U.S. law also directs that DTNP be managed “to protect and interpret a pristine subtropical marine ecosystem, including an intact coral reef community,” and among other purposes, “to protect populations of fish and wildlife, including (but not limited to) loggerhead and green sea turtles, sooty terns, frigate birds, and numerous migratory bird species.” The Park has four management zones to achieve desired resource conditions and provide a range of compatible visitor uses, including a Research Natural Area where fishing and anchoring are prohibited to protect and restore coral and fish species and to scientifically evaluate their condition.

Explain why the proposed area should be proposed for inclusion in the SPAW list

The DTNP protects coral reefs, islands and seagrass beds that contribute to regional reproduction and recruitment of marine and terrestrial flora and fauna of great ecological importance to South Florida and the Wider Caribbean, various of which are listed on the SPAW Protocol Annex I, II and III the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The 119 km2 (46 mi2) Research Natural Area (RNA) of DTNP is one of three no-take marine reserve zones comprising the Tortugas Ecological Reserve. The goal of the Reserve is to protect large contiguous and diverse habitats for their superlative biological diversity and resource quality. Fish species spawning in the adjacent Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the first U.S. site listed under the Protocol, migrate to DTNP and are protected in the RNA. These spawning aggregations contribute to regional recruitment of commercially and ecologically important species throughout the Florida Keys and Southeast Florida reef tract, the third largest barrier reef ecosystem on the globe. DTNP also protects the only known rookeries in the continental U.S. of the magnificent frigate bird, brown noddy and masked booby. Green and loggerhead sea turtles also nest on the islands. Together, these attributes of DTNP fulfill the criteria for listing on the SPAW Protocol.

According to you, to which Criteria it conforms (Guidelines and Criteria B Paragraph 2)

Representativeness
Conservation value
Rarity
Naturalness
Critical habitats
Diversity
Connectivity/coherence
Resilience

Cultural and socio-economic criterias

Productivity
Cultural and traditional use
Socio-economic benefits