The PortMiami expansion is nearly complete, making Miami the first port in the State of Florida capable of accepting the supersized ships that will soon sail through the expanded Panama Canal. But we do not believe that the PortMiami dredging project has been the unmitigated success its proponents claim it to be. The evidence is clear that the dredging operation, which began in November 2013, has deposited an asphyxiating blanket of sediment atop our coral reef: the same reefs that protect Miami Beach’s imperiled coastline from storm surges; support our teeming fish populations; and help sustain our booming tourist industry. Many Americans do not know that South Florida is home to the only coral reef tract in the continental United States: as unique as the sequoias of California or the geysers of Wyoming, and no less deserving of our protection.
Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper is excited to announce our new partnership with the University of Florida Levin College of Law Conservation Clinic. UF law students will work with us to develop a comprehensive report examining the legal and policy-based framework that overlays Biscayne Bay and its surrounding areas. The report will focus on summarizing the federal, state, and local laws and policy, which govern Biscayne Bay.
Biscayne Bay is surrounded by diverse federal, state, and local entities, including one national park (Biscayne National Park), multiple state preserves and state parks (e.g. Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve, Oleta River State Park, Barnacle Historic State Park, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Bill Sadowski Critical Wildlife Area, and others), one county (Miami-Dade County) and over 30 municipalities. To the south lies the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, which includes Crocodile Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and the Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park. We hope to examine these governance frameworks to show areas of overlap and dissonance between governance and interaction with the Bay.