We Filed for an Emergency Injunction Against U.S. Army Corps for Endangered Species Act Violations

Our lawsuit brings action to stop illegal take of threatened corals harmed during PortMiami Dredging Project

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Sediments kicked up during the deep dredge project are reflecting light and making the water look milky or "turbid". These sediments are smothering our reefs.

Miami, FL (Oct. 6, 2014) - Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper, along with Captain Dan Kipnis, Miami-Dade Reef Guard Association, and Tropical Audubon Society, filed a complaint and a request for emergency injunctive relief this week in federal court against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, for violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) related to excessive sedimentation produced in the PortMiami Deep Dredge project.


NOAA Warns of "Rapid Deterioration" of Endangered Corals Due to Deep Dredge Sludge

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Nonetheless, the NOAA report is “a very big deal,” says Rachel Silverstein, executive director of Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper, another environmental group against the dredge.

“This is confirmation of what we’ve been saying all along,” she says. “It’s bittersweet for us because it confirms that our reefs have really been devastated because of the project. That’s not easy to hear but hopefully it does spur the Corps to action to actually do something to help the corals before it’s too late.”


Feds say ‘nurseries’ could save Government Cut coral

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In the meantime, a lawsuit threatened by the Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper environmental group and captain Dan Kipnis still looms. The group’s attorney, Jim Porter, said Wednesday they are keeping an eye on talks.

“We want give DEP and [NOAA] and the Corps every chance to get this worked out,” he said. “But if they’re unable to do so, then we’re prepared to go forward.”


Environmentalists renew criticism of Miami dredging

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“Our goal is not to stop the dredging but to ensure that the environment is protected and that everyone follows the rules set out when the project was started, and that’s not happening,” said Rachel Silverstein, executive director of Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper.

“So far, it seems the agencies are focused on trying to remedy the damage that’s been caused rather than prevent future damage,” Silverstein said.


Environmentalists ready to sue over Miami port's deep dredge

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Environmentalists said on Thursday they are prepared to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after researchers found dredging to deepen the port of Miami is burying coral and could destroy the surrounding marine ecosystem for years to come.

“All we’re asking for is that they follow state and federal law and they’re simply not doing that,” said Rachel Silverstein, executive director of the Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper, a local environmental advocacy group.


Miami port dredging damaging sea life, state inspectors say

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“The warning follows a similar complaint last month from the Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper watchdog group, which threatened to sue in September unless work is cleaned up…

Inspectors also discovered that large boulders placed in the channel to provide places for young coral to grow as part of a mitigation effort had crushed existing coral and sponges when they were dropped.

An artificial reef created to hold coral transplanted from the channel was dusted with a layer of sediment. Water had become so thick with silt and clay that it created “anoxic conditions” in which very little oxygen reached the bay bottom.”


Environmental Groups and Concerned Citizens File Notice to Sue U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Endangered Species Act and Permit Violations in the PortMiami Deep Dredge Project

Environmental organizations and concerned citizens join together to protect Miami's coral reefs from environmental harm during PortMiami Dredging Project

Miami, FL - On July 16, 2014, Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper, Captain Dan Kipnis, Coral Morphologic, Miami-Dade Reef Guard Association, Sierra Club Miami Group, and Tropical Audubon Society, filed a citizens' notice of suit letter alleging that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the Endangered Species Act, in addition to several permit conditions by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) d
uring the PortMiami Deep Dredge project. In its letter, the environmental coalition identified a long list of violations, including that the Army Corps' contractors are not protecting threatened coral species, allowing excessive amounts of dredge sedimentation buildup on the reefs, not sufficiently monitoring sedimentation, and failing to move dredge ships away from corals that are exhibiting signs of injury or degradation.


Environmental Group Threatens To Sue Army Corps Of Engineers About Dredging Near Corals

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“It’s extremely unique to have these corals so close to an urban area like Miami,” says Silverstein. “They’re coastline protection that’s critical for the city, especially with all the flooding in Miami.”


Researchers Race to Save Coral in Miami

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‘“They were allowed to go out and see what was left over,” said Rachel Silverstein, the executive director of Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper, which brought the original lawsuit to protect corals in Government Cut. “We realized that there is a lot still there. And we realized how much the permit was missing in terms of mitigation and how much reef will be destroyed by this dredging.”’


An Underwater Race To Transplant Miami's Rare Corals

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“A lab just off Florida’s Miami River has become the base for an unusual lifesaving operation.

A group of scientists there is on an urgent mission to save as many corals as it can before the marine creatures are destroyed as part of an underwater excavation of Miami’s shipping channel. The channel — set to be dredged and deepened on Saturday — is home to a thriving coral reef.”


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