National Marine Sanctuaries are areas that contain fragile environments and special resources that are valuable to the nation. Sanctuaries can be established by an act of congress. They are regulated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (N.O.A.A) under the 1972 Marine Protection Act. Its mission is to promote comprehensive management of their special conservation, recreational, ecological, historical, research, educational, or aesthetic resources.
The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is one of 14 National Marine Sanctuaries. Within a National Marine Sanctuary there are different management areas that are governed to their special uses. Regulations are reviewed and upgraded on a ten year cycle.
As part of the present 10 year review process for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Bonefish and Tarpon Trust proposed a program to map areas that are sensitive fish habitats. KeysKeeper moved quickly to energize that program. It answered the request from Bonefish & Tarpon Trust for funding for a position by providing backstop funding for the amount B.T.T needed to make the hire. We did it on the spot. That allowed B.T.T to act within days and get the program underway in a timely fashion to meet the Sanctuary timelines.
Ultimately B.T.T and The Nature Conservancy funded the majority of the effort, but KeysKeeper gave B.T.T the financial certainty it needed to get going at the most effective point in time. The ultimate donation was modest, but the ability to step to a much larger amount quickly, and then let others take down parts of the “investment” at a more considered pace was important.
KeysKeeper sees a value in energizing programs within existing organizations by committing relatively small amounts of money to initiate or finalize the funding for those programs. This can “jump start” worthy efforts and allow the sponsor organization to then take the time necessary to attract funding from traditional sources.
Further to the point of using existing organizations to achieve a larger goal. KeysKeeper then worked with both BTT and the Lower Keys Guides Association to establish ground rules for the effort which were acceptable to fishing guides who are careful in disclosing their trade secrets The following letter flowed from that effort. . Lower Keys Guides Association Mapping and Zoning Areas letter sent to the FKNMS.