Biscayne Bay’s needs are most likely to be provided for when those who use, manage, and enjoy the bay speak with a unified voice. To provide for that unified voice, improve coordination within the context of ongoing regional restoration plans, and serve as a clearinghouse for many of the recommendations proposed in this report, the Biscayne Bay Partnership Initiative recommends the formation of the Biscayne Bay Project Coordination Team as part of the Working Group of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. The purpose of the Biscayne Bay Project Coordination Team would not be to replace or displace any existing legislative acts or any plans, but rather to enhance their importance and effectiveness.
There are a number of valid reasons for this recommen-dation. The South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force is a well-established process created by Congress because of the state significance, and the national impor-tance of a healthy south Florida ecosystem. Creating a Biscayne Bay Project Coordination Team, which would be an advisory committee within the structure of the Task Force, provides opportunities for administrative support, staff assistance, and also insulates members from the pressure of shifting agency priorities. Perhaps most important, as part of the Task Force mechanism, the Biscayne Bay Project Coordination Team would be able to function as a public forum with ample opportunities to engage and inform the public. In this manner, those who use and manage Biscayne Bay can see the creation of a public/private partnership that will allow for interaction between private commerce and governmental agencies, members of the public and governmental agencies, and among agencies themselves. Details about proposed guiding principles, membership, and functions of the Biscayne Bay Project Coordination Team are outlined in the Management Survey Team’s full report, which is appended to this document.
Another effort that would aid in the ability to think holistically about the bay, its needs, and the needs of the community, would be the development of a Biscayne Bay Action Plan. The plan would be developed through a consensus process led by the Biscayne Bay Project Coordi-nation Team. Such a plan would guide efforts to balance environmental protection, increased habitat restoration, appropriate economic use, and improved public access. The plan could create links between major segments of the population and shoreline sites that currently provide, or should provide, desired uses. The plan would also promote links among shoreline activities, access sites, and transpor-tation modes. A number of other ways that the plan would address public access, economic activities, habitat restora-tion, and environmental protection are outlined in the appended Social and Economic Values Survey Team report.
• A Biscayne Bay Project Coordination Team should be formed as part of the Working Group of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. Further-more, the Biscayne Bay Partnership Initiative recommends that the Florida Legislature provide adequate funding for the establishment, administrative costs, and dedicated staff for the Biscayne Bay Project Coordination Team.
• A Biscayne Bay Action Plan, prepared by the Biscayne Bay Project Coordination Team, should be developed that would guide efforts and prioritize activities to balance appropriate economic use with improved public access, increased habitat restoration, and environmental protection.