bbhfa blog

Miami Waterkeeper awarded $117,667 for NOAA's Habitat Focus Area Grant

Algae bloom visualization. Photo credit: Peter Essick, National Geographic / Resource Out of Place Visualization 2015

We are thrilled to announce that Miami Waterkeeper, along with our partners at University of Miami and Florida Sea Grant, have been awarded the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Habitat Focus Area grant!

This prestigious grant provides funding for work to protect the health of Biscayne Bay, specifically related to water quality and algal blooms that arise from pollution. Miami Waterkeeper will administer the grant, which provides for over $117,000 in funding over two years.

The funds will support:

-An economic valuation study of Biscayne Bay, run by Manoj Shivlani (Marine and Coastal Research Corps)

-The creation of a GIS database of Biscayne Bay, led by Maria Estavanez (UM) designed to identify water pollution hotspots and areas at risk for algal blooms

-The Biscayne Bay Water Watch program, a water quality citizen science sampling project led by Lisa Krimsky (UF/IFAS FL Sea Grant Extension Program)

-The education of elected officials through a Water School program about the watershed, co-led by Miami Waterkeeper and Florida Sea Grant

-A Junior Waterkeepers program to educate elementary, middle, and high school students about Biscayne Bay, led by Miami Waterkeeper.

Six areas of high conservation concern were chosen across the country, ranging from Alaska to Puerto Rico. Biscayne Bay was selected as one of these high priority regions due to increasing incidents of pollution, especially from fertilizers and sewage, which contribute to toxic blooms of algae that harm the ecosystem. Traditionally, algal blooms did not occur in Biscayne Bay, but over the last decade, several long-lasting, smelly green blooms have caused permanent damage to local ecosystems.

"We can't wait to get to work on these exciting and important programs, and are very grateful to NOAA for recognizing the value of Biscayne Bay and providing this funding to protect it." says Executive Director and Waterkeeper, Rachel Silverstein.

We would like to thank our local partners who wrote letters of support for our application, including Jimmy Morales, City Manager for City of Miami Beach, Surfrider Foundation, and the Frost Museum of Science MUVE program. We also thank Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava for her letter of support for our application. We look forward to launching these important programs and thank NOAA for the opportunity!

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