In a race to expand U.S. ports to accommodate larger, next-generation shipping vessels, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is targeting ports along the eastern seaboard for expansion and dredging. The Port of Miami was first on the list, where the shipping channel bisects a once-thriving coral reef and threatened staghorn corals and their critical habitat. Since construction began in November 2013, our reefs have been smothered by sediment from the dredging. Despite mounting recorded violations, the Army Corps failed to stop the impacts or its contractors, Great Lakes Dredge and Dock, accountable for the damage.Read more
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result. The Army Corps, after illegally wiping out over 250 acres of Miami’s reef during the dredging of the Port of Miami, has asked Congress for permission to do the same to Ft. Lauderdale.
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.
We are thrilled to announce the addition of our newest board member, Greg Clark. Greg has already been an incredible asset to Miami Waterkeeper, bringing his positive energy and diverse experience to the organization.Read more
“The Corps has been dragging their feet and not providing the information,” said Rachel Silverstein, a marine biologist and executive director of Miami Waterkeeper.
The more time that passes without an accurate survey, she said, the harder it will be to save struggling coral or determine just how much damage has been done. In June, Silverstein surveyed the area and found surrounding reefs dusted with silt. Fisheries Service divers found a similar moonscape, with sediment about a half inch to four inches deep.
“Everything is being eroded out there and it’s hard to tell what has died,” she said. “That information is critical to holding the Corps accountable.”
We are thrilled to announce that we were awarded a Rapid Ocean Conservation (ROC) Grant from the Waitt Foundation. These grants provide quick-turnaround funding to address emergent conservation issues. This type of funding is rare and critically important for conservation because these grants can be used to address sudden crises, such as algal blooms, oil spills, or coral bleaching. When environmental issues need an immediate response, waiting through a typical grant cycle be too slow.