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.”

Fight over a Fla. sewer pipe raises national financial and health issue

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“Nondescript as it is, the pipe is at the center of one of the biggest fights over climate change in the country. It carries millions of tons of partially treated sewage daily — after it is piped underwater from Miami Beach — miles out to the ocean. Environmentalists fear a direct hit from a strong storm could knock out the plant and the pipe for long periods of time, sending raw sewage into Biscayne Bay.

“It could be much worse than Hurricane Sandy. If you had billions of gallons pouring into the waters, it would be a catastrophe, a calamity,” said Albert Slap, an attorney supporting Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper, an advocacy group.

In addition to public health threats, there could be long-lasting effects on the ecosystem, he said. Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper’s supporters also expressed concerns about the liquid chlorine that is stored at the plant.”

Why the city of Miami is doomed to drown

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Flood Fixes Vex Coastal Areas

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“Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper, an environmental advocacy group, challenged the proposed agreement in federal court earlier this year, arguing that it failed to account for rising sea levels, leaving some coastal treatment plants prone to disaster in a storm. “To rebuild these systems at current elevation, with no hardening, no sea walls…is the height of irresponsibility,” said Albert Slap, an attorney for the group.”

Miami-Dade commissioners approve spending $1.6 billion to fix water, sewer pipes

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“Miami-Dade commissioners swallowed hard medicine Tuesday, approving an agreement with the federal and state governments to settle violations of environmental laws and committing $1.6 billion over the next 15 years to fix the county’s antiquated water and sewer pipes.”

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