About the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Water Quality Protection Program

Purpose of the Water Quality Protection Program

“To identify and implement priority corrective actions within a compliance schedule to address point and nonpoint sources of pollution to maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Sanctuary. The program is also to include the restoration and maintenance of a balanced, indigenous population of corals, shellfish, fish and wildlife, and recreational activities in and on the water.”

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Act 1990 (Public Law 102-587)

Overview of the Water Quality Protection Program

The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) Water Quality Protection Program (WQPP) is a twenty year plus collaborative effort by federal, state and local governments, elected officials, non-governmental organizations, academics and local citizens dedicated to protecting and improving water quality, coral reefs, seagrasses, fisheries and recreational opportunities.

In 1990, Congress formally recognized the uniqueness of the Florida Keys ecosystem with the signing of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Protection Act. Acknowledging the critical role of clean, clear water in maintaining marine resources within the Sanctuary, the Act directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the State of Florida and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to create a Water Quality Protection Program for the Sanctuary to be managed by a Steering Committee charged with establishing guidance, developing policy, and overseeing activities to restore and maintain Sanctuary resources. This was the first such program for a marine sanctuary in the nation.

The Act also requires the formation of a Technical Advisory Committee comprised of scientists from federal and state agencies, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and knowledgeable citizens to assist with prioritizing scientific research and design of an effective long-term monitoring program. The management committee, comprised of federal and state managers, coordinates and facilitates the activities of the Steering and Technical committees.

people looking at sanctuary map








Interagency Water Quality Protection Program Committees

Steering Committee

Water Quality Management Committee

Technical Advisory Committee

Canal Restoration Advisory Committee

September 2013 Biennial Report to Congress
    Cover of Biennial Report


Resource Links:

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Official Site

Florida Department of Environmental Protection


Resource Downloads:

FKNMS Legislation

Steering Committee(not linked)

WQPP Legislation(not linked)