The City of Miami Commissioners withdrew a proposed ordinance that would have banned planting mangroves at City parks.
Mangroves are incredibly beneficial for our community, including millions of dollars in ecosystem services every year. Still, on May 31, 2022, the City of Miami Commission was scheduled to hear an ordinance that would ban the planting of mangroves at City parks and put existing mangroves at risk. Over 1,100 Biscayne Bay advocates heeded their call to action; they urged Commissioners not to pass this ordinance, as mangroves store carbon, protect our community from storm surges, and promote local biodiversity.
Miami Waterkeeper led the creation of a policy letter to the City, explaining in detail the problems with this piece of the proposed regulation and offering practical solutions. We thank our thirteen advocacy partners who provided insights and signed on. We explained to the Commissioners that mangroves and views are not mutually exclusive. We noted solutions such as mangrove trimming, elevated boardwalks, and viewing platforms. Our letter also called out the unintended consequences that the City would have suffered if they passed the ordinance. Additionally, this ordinance would have conflicted with the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve Rule, which is a powerful State of Florida chapter of regulations meant to preserve and enhance the Bay towards its natural, mangrove-fringed conditions.
The City Commission decided to defer the ordinance indefinitely, meaning that the item would have returned to be voted on in six months. Commissioner Ken Russell then asked the sponsor if he would be willing to withdraw this ordinance entirely, and fortunately, this Commissioner agreed!
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