Florida wildlife commission meets in Weston to discuss Everglades, Biscayne National Park

 

SCOCKING@MIAMIHERALD.COM

Everglades restoration and a long-term management plan for Biscayne National Park are among the highlights of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission meeting Wednesday and Thursday in Weston.

On Wednesday morning, commissioner Ron Bergeron — the panel’s Everglades point man — and agency staffers are expected to recommend the commission take a position that water levels in the ’Glades should be managed with consideration of wildlife living there. Bergeron has said he is concerned that plants and animals of the central Everglades could be wiped out by water levels that are held too high for too long in the name of restoring the River of Grass.

Recommendations include an average maximum depth of two feet during the wet season and near ground level in the dry season n the vast region that lies between I-75 and Tamiami Trail; maintaining a gradual rate of water level rise and fall; and ensuring that abnormally high water levels should not persist more than 60 days. The commission works with several state and federal agencies developing long-term plans to restore historic water flows from Lake Okeechobee south to Florida Bay.

On Thursday, commissioners will get their first look at new alternatives for managing Biscayne National Park over the next 15 to 20 years. The draft general management plan, in the works for a decade, drew fire from the commission over proposals to establish a no-fishing zone in the park’s offshore waters. The latest draft favors allowing fishing year round in the park, but with some restrictions.

The FWC meeting is being held at Bonaventure Resort & Spa, 250 Racquet Club Rd. in Weston.

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