No Colorless Coastlines: Restore Miami’s Smothered Reefs Now

Imagine diving into the crystal-clear waters offshore of Miami, only to find yourself surrounded by a scene of devastation. A moonscape. The water, once teeming with life, is clouded with sediment, and the colorful coral reefs are now buried beneath a layer of sand.

This grim reality manifested during the PortMiami dredging project (Phase III) that occurred from 2013 to 2015. The project resulted in catastrophic damage to adjacent coral reefs, which were buried illegally by dredging sediment. Despite the dredging company’s initial attempts to downplay the environmental impact and their contractors’ claim that only six corals were killed, Miami Waterkeeper published scientific research proving that millions of corals were likely killed. Now,  the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has finally released a report that supports our findings:  millions of corals were likely killed and at least 278 acres of the Florida Reef Tract was severely impacted.  Almost a decade has passed, and no enforcement action has ever been taken.

The timing of this revelation is critical, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proposing another expansion dredge in Miami, potentially posing a grave threat to already vulnerable coral ecosystems.

Please take a moment to email your County commissioners and the Department of Environmental Protection to fix this reef damage immediately. This damage should be fixed in a way that benefits the long-term ability to restore reefs at scale. Additionally, no future dredging of PortMiami should occur until 1) reef damage from the previous phase is fully and comprehensively restored in a robust and effective manner and 2)  a full list of lessons learned is developed and adopted for all future dredging to prevent history from repeating itself.

This damage cannot go unanswered. Tell your elected officials and FDEP: No Colorless Coastlines. Fix our reefs now.

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