|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||April 17, 2006|
Andrea Keller Helsel, NPCA, 202-454-3332
New Protections for Dry Tortugas Set Precedent for National Park System
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) last week sent a letter to Acting Secretary of the Department of the Interior Lynn Scarlett in praise of her decision to create a new Research Natural Area in Dry Tortugas National Park.
"This decision establishes an extremely positive direction that sets a precedent for protecting marine resources in the National Park System," wrote NPCA President Thomas Kiernan. "We congratulate you on this critical step forward."
In August 2001, the National Park System Advisory Board called upon the Park Service to be a leader in developing and implementing a system of no-take marine reserves, covering a broad range of marine habitats, to protect fragile park resources and help to sustain healthy fish populations. A final agreement signed last week between Florida state agencies and the National Park Service, with the support of national and local constituencies, established the Research Natural Area in Dry Tortugas as the first area in the park system designated for this purpose.
Acting Secretary Scarlett made the final decision on behalf of the Department of the Interior to approve the Research Natural Area.
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