I don't think we got an environmental vote from Commission Barbara Jordan since 2004, that is when Betty T. Ferguson left office and Jordan came in. She has been a member of our unreformable majority forever, never agreeing with environmentalists.
So if we never got a good vote from Barbara Jordan in a decade, the whole time she has been in office, imagine my shock when she sponsored this for the December 16th County Commission Meeting:
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE CREATION OF A MARINE RESERVE WITHIN BISCAYNE NATIONAL PARK IN ORDER TO BETTER ENSURE THE CONSERVATION AND PROTECTION OF THE MARINE RESOURCES IN BISCAYNE NATIONAL PARK; URGING THE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, THE REGIONAL DIRECTOR OF THE SOUTH EAST REGION OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, AND THE SUPERINTENDENT OF BISCAYNE NATIONAL PARK TO CREATE SUCH A MARINE RESERVE WITHIN BISCAYNE NATIONAL PARKAll I have to say: What is she up to? Her district is as far as you can get from the park. Does she have cancer or something? I can't imagine why she has so radically changed to put this on the agenda. She has a rental property in Key West. Did that make her suddenly interested in protecting coral reefs and mutton snapper? She calls the National Park a "job creator" and an "economic driver." Is she dating the park manager? I am flamboozled by this one. Yes, I know it is only a feel good resolution -- but from her? She has never made me feel good: EVER. Anyone have an answer?
The body of the legislative text:
WHEREAS, Biscayne National Park (the “Park”) is a national treasure which protects part of the third-largest coral reef system in the word and the longest remaining stretch of mangrove forest on the East Coast of Florida; and
WHEREAS, about 95 percent of Biscayne National Park is covered by water, and the Park provides habitat and nursery grounds for important commercial and recreational fish, shellfish and crustaceans, in addition to providing refuge to threatened and endangered species; and
WHEREAS, Biscayne National Park protects “a rare combination of terrestrial, marine, and amphibious life in a tropical setting of great natural beauty,” and it is one of the largest marine parks in the National Park System; and
WHEREAS, Biscayne National Park is a significant economic driver; it directly sustains an estimated 374 jobs in the local area, and in 2013, it was visited by approximately half a million people who spent approximately $29 million, generating a large number of additional jobs; and
WHEREAS, within Biscayne National Park, the health of the coral reef has been deteriorating and some fish populations, including important commercial and recreational species such as snapper and grouper, have been notably declining; and
WHEREAS, these problems are believed to be due to many cumulative stressors including pollution, warming seas, over-fishing and over-use; and
WHEREAS, Biscayne National Park is in the process of updating its General Management Plan, which will guide management of the Park over the next 20 years, and as part of that process, Biscayne National Park is considering the creation of a marine reserve in a portion of the Park, in order to protect the Park’s severely threatened coral reef ecosystems; and
WHEREAS, Biscayne National Park is also considering other alternatives for its General Management Plan that would not include a marine reserve, and the Park currently intends to publish its final General Management Plan sometime in 2015; and
WHEREAS, the creation of marine reserves is a science-based tool that could be used by Biscayne National Park to protect coral reef ecosystems and fish populations, reduce impacts from marine debris, reduce damage to coral reefs, and provide areas where different types of recreational uses could enjoy marine resources; and
WHEREAS, marine reserves have been shown to work in other places; for example, a recent report on the Dry Tortugas marine reserve showed improvement in previously exploited fish stocks such as mutton snapper, yellowtail snapper, red grouper, black grouper and hogfish, and the open areas that surround the Dry Tortugas marine reserve now have larger fish sizes and greater numbers of fish; and
WHEREAS, the creation of a marine reserve in Biscayne National Park would help ensure that a healthy, vibrant Biscayne National Park continues to exist to support the local economy of Miami-Dade County for many years into the future,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that this Board:
Section 1. Supports the creation of a marine reserve within Biscayne National Park in order to better ensure the conservation and protection of the marine resources in Biscayne National Park.
Section 2. Urges the Director of the National Park Service, the Regional Director of the South East Region of the National Park Service and the Superintendent of Biscayne National Park to create a marine reserve within Biscayne National Park through the Park’s General Management Plan.
Section 3. Directs the Clerk of the Board to transmit certified copies of this resolution to the Miami-Dade County Congressional Delegation, the Director of the National Park Service, the Regional Director of the South East Region of the National Park Service and the Superintendent of Biscayne National Park.
Section 4. Directs the County’s federal lobbyists to advocate for the passage of legislation and promulgation of rules accomplishing the goals set forth herein, and authorizes and directs the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to amend the 2015 federal legislative package to include this item.