Florida's 8,000 miles of coastline and over 800 miles of beaches aren’t just for relaxing. They’re doing heavy lifting for our economy, while providing essential services like climate regulation, provision of food, and protection from natural hazards. Visiting a beach or waterway is the number one activity of Florida's tourists—undeniably the biggest draw for our $112 billion in annual tourism revenue. Almost half a million people are directly employed in our ocean economy. And all of this—Florida's tourism industry, job market, recreation, environment, and even Florida's culture—depends on having clean water.
But Florida’s waterways are particularly vulnerable to pollution because of our low elevation, porous limestone geology, and the threat of sea level rise. In South Florida, climate change isn’t just a computer model; it’s daily life. Miami is a thin sliver of dry ground surrounded by water on all sides -- including below our feet. Our porous, low-lying geology makes us among the world’s most vulnerable cities to sea level rise. Flooding and failing infrastructure constantly flush pollution into our waterways, causing them to spiral into decline.
On the front lines against these daunting challenges, you can find Miami Waterkeeper, a small but mighty team of fearless advocates for clean water. We occupy a void that would otherwise be filled by pollution, floodwaters, and environmental destruction. Miami Waterkeeper works toward a vision of swimmable, drinkable, and fishable water for all. These are rights granted to us by the Clean Water Act, but environmental laws work only if people are willing to stand up for them. Empowering the community, we use science, advocacy, and outreach to protect our waterways from pollution and prepare South Florida for the future.
Miami Waterkeeper focuses on clean water, ecosystem protection, and sea level rise resiliency. First, we tackle issues of clean water throughout the Biscayne Bay watershed, from the Everglades to our coral reefs. Second, we protect the ecosystems that depend on that clean water, including corals, seagrasses, and mangroves. Finally, we focus on sea level rise resiliency, which guides all areas of our work. We employ a multidisciplinary approach, which includes science, policy & advocacy, and education & outreach.
Employing our multidisciplinary strategy, we’ve secured significant protections for our waterways. We use this approach to find local solutions to the global problem of climate change. By standing up for clean water, we are making Miami a shining example of resiliency for the world -- water win by water win.
We acknowledge that our work takes place on the land within the territories of the Miccosukee and Seminole peoples. We further acknowledge that eight contemporary tribal nations are historically tied to the lands that make up the US state of Florida.
We acknowledge that this website is made possible through the connected devices and networks of the internet, which is a material infrastructure that is built through natural resource extraction and human labor, and which depends on vast and constant energy consumption and generates greenhouse gases that cause climate change.
What is a Waterkeeper?
The term “waterkeeper” indicates that an organization is a member of a network of clean water advocates within the Waterkeeper Alliance and protects a particular waterway. The Waterkeeper Alliance has roots in 1960’s activism on the Hudson River, where commercial and recreational fishermen came together to protect their water. Their outspoken, citizen-led advocacy ensured that laws were enforced and that their river, livelihood, and health of their families were protected. Today, Waterkeeper organizations can be found on hundreds of waterways across the globe. (There are “coastkeepers,” “baykeepers,” and “riverkeepers,” too!)
A Waterkeeper is also a job title at each waterkeeper organization. Your full-time Miami Waterkeeper, Rachel Silverstein, is part investigator, scientist, educator, and legal advocate, functioning as a public spokesperson and protecting your right to clean water.
Miami Waterkeeper relies on the strength of our team and our community
What's the meaning behind the Miami Waterkeeper logo?
The circle in our logo is the outline of the Miami Circle – a Tequesta archaeological site situated at the mouth of the Miami River and Biscayne Bay. The site is a perfect circle measuring 38-feet across with 24 holes or basins cut into limestone, and containing shell tools, dolphin skulls, turtle shells, and shark teeth. The site was discovered in 1998, and is thought to be between 1700-2000 years old, indicating that the Circle represents one of the first-known interactions of humans and the water in the Miami area. The Miami Circle holds profound meaning for Miami Waterkeeper, as we focus on protecting and respecting wildlife, water, and all human inhabitants of South Florida. The animals found inside our logo are native to Biscayne Bay and the surrounding waters, including some listed in the Endangered Species Act. It is also a reminder that our jurisdiction covers the ancestral and traditional lands of the Seminole, Miccosukee, and Tequesta people.
Members of the PartnerSHIP crew are critical to our mission to ensure swimmable, drinkable, fishable water for all. Join today to show your commitment to our water.