Ensuring Ecosystem Protection

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” — John Muir

Biscayne Bay and the surrounding watershed provide habitat for thousands of species, including over a dozen threatened and endangered species. We focus on protecting coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrasses, which protect our shorelines, provide wildlife habitat, sequester carbon, and defend our cities against storm surge. 

  • Mangrove forests are made up of unique salt-tolerant tree species that grow in coastal intertidal zones in tropical and subtropical areas. They are home to a wealth of different species, providing protective nursery habitats and food for fish and other creatures. Mangroves sequester carbon by trapping sediments and nutrients in their roots. Mangroves reduce coastal erosion and protect coastal areas from storm surges, tides, and waves.

  • Seagrasses are underwater flowering plants that provide cover and habitat for small creatures, including invertebrates and juvenile fish species, many of which are commercially valuable upon reaching adulthood. Large animals such as manatees and green turtles graze on seagrasses and they also play an important role in stabilizing sediments on the sea floor.

  • Coral reefs are bastions of marine biodiversity, providing habitat for up to one quarter of all marine life. Corals create life in locations in the ocean that are otherwise deserts. They are “ecosystem architects,” both animal and habitat, building structure with their limestone skeletons, which provide the homes for many species, much like the trees in a rainforest. Coral reefs also protect coastlines from storm surges, reducing wave energy by over 90%, and support the livelihoods of millions of people throughout the world. Reef-related industry provides hundreds of millions of dollars to South Florida’s local economy each year. The Florida reef tract, hugging our coastline from the Florida Keys to Palm Beach, is the only coral reef in the continental U.S.

We protect marine habitats by:
  • MWK is protecting our reefs by challenging the PortMiami Deep Dredge project for insufficient environmental reparations, poor mitigation efforts, failure to use best management practices, and violation of their state-issued permit and the Endangered Species Act. We are continuing oversight of this project and fighting for the restoration of the reefs that were damaged. 

  • We love fishing! We want to see it continue. That’s why MWK supports sustainable fishery management that considers ecosystem based management of fisheries, supporting both an ongoing and robust fishing industry and healthy ecosystem.

  • MWK has partnerships with local community groups to develop coral, seagrass and mangrove restoration programs in the Bay.

  • MWK will raise awareness about the environmental impacts of invasive species in the Bay. Since 1987, more than $11 million has been spent removing exotic plants from Biscayne Bay. This effort has shown a net gain of $41 million. Invasive lionfish populations are expanding rapidly and are devastating local fish species.

  • MWK engages with city officials on sustainable construction projects and smart development that does not negatively impact our local environment.

  • Supporting coral, dune, seagrass, Everglades and mangrove restoration programs

  • Improving water quality in the Bay and surrounding waters

  • Protecting the integrity and health of Biscayne National Park

  • Training the next generation of clean water advocates through our Miami Waterkeeper Junior Ambassadors program




Explore other pages related to Ecosystem Protection:

Your voices have been heard! Miami-Dade County has agreed to ban Styrofoam products from beaches, parks, and marinas in the county starting in July 2017.  
It's time for better protections for reefs.  
Miami deserves a sewage-free bay that is ready for the challenges of the future.  
In a race to expand U.S. ports to accommodate larger, next-generation shipping vessels, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is targeting ports along the eastern seaboard for expansion and dredging....  
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result. The Army Corps, after illegally wiping out over 250 acres of Miami’s reef...  
“The Corps’ report misleadingly and conveniently blames the disease and warm temperatures for the destruction of our corals, but all of the available evidence, including evidence from every other federal,...  
Miami Waterkeeper (MWK) is thrilled to introduce Dr. Jessica Bolson as the new Director of Climate and Freshwater Programs. Jessica will focus on ensuring that climate and fresh water management...  
Ensuring Ecosystem Protection
Ensuring Ecosystem Protection