Key West Marine Park Summary

This is a cooperative project between the City of Key West and Reef Relief to create a swim lane on the south side of the island from the shoreline out 600 feet, from a point near the White Street Pier, westward to a point near the foot of Duval Street.  This zone would be marked by installing demarcation buoys.  Motorized vessels would be prohibited from entering the swim lane, however two entry lanes would be established for continued access to the shore by vessels.  The existing channel, marking the entry to the Casa Marina Docks would be one of the entry lanes.  The location of the second entry lane that would access the Atlantic Shores and the Reach beaches is yet to be determined.  The exact position of the swim zone demarcation buoys and entry lanes would be established in cooperation with the commercial boat companies and property owners in this area.

Considerations must also be made for people who fish from the White Street Pier.  It is important to keep swimmers and snorkelers away from fishing gear.  The swim zone will tuck inward near the area near the pier (see map).

In addition to the swim zone.
Reef Relief also plans to install reef ball  habitats comprised of fossilized coral rocks arranged in a spur and groove formation through out the swim zone in order to create fish habitats and to provide hard surfaces upon which coral can grow.  These habitats create wonderful snorkel sites and provide protection for a myriad of species.  Reef Balls have been installed at many snorkel sites around the world and have enhanced both the natural environment and the snorkeling experience in those areas.

Sedimentation is one of the biggest threats to coral.
Visibility has been relatively poor in this area over the past few years primarily because of sedimentation caused by land-based runoff.  The purpose of establishing a near-shore Marine Park is to enhance our focus on water quality problems that we have the ability to eliminate.

We have rebuilt the White Street Pier reducing sediment build-up, we are replacing all of the sewer lines in the City, we are eliminating the sewage outfall and we are scheduled to re-plumb storm water runoff drains through out the island.  There is no other developed island in the Caribbean and possibly the worlds that has rebuilt their infrastructure as we have.  Without a doubt our near-shore water quality will improve.