On Sunday, March 3, 2019, Miami Waterkeeper and Ransom Everglades School conducted a monthly Boat Patrol. The patrol traveled up the Gables Waterway while our Miami Waterkeeper, Rachel Silverstein, discussed the importance of living shorelines with students. Living shorelines provide important wildlife habitat and also build our waterfront's resilience to storm surge and sea level rise. Students practiced identifying different types of shorelines, including seawalls, rip rap, rock, and mangroves. Our diligent students also kept a keen eye out for marine debris on the water, being sure to pick up balloons from mangrove roots, as well as balls and bottles drifting with the current.
As they do on every patrol, the Ransom Everglades students collected water samples at four different sites in Biscayne Bay. Students tested for water quality parameters including turbidity, salinity, dissolved oxygen, and temperature.
But, the excitement was just beginning...
As the patrol boat headed back to the dock, we spotted a boater and two Coral Gables police boats nearby! The police boats asked for our help transporting an injured pelican back to shore safely. We happily obliged and called our friends at Pelican Harbor Seabird Station! Pelican Harbor advised us to take the pelican back to shore and a volunteer would meet us to collect the injured bird. The pelican was taken back to Pelican Harbor Seabird Station where he was given fluids and laser therapy for his head injury. He has been resting and soon will have a clean *bill* of health!
While pelicans are a protected species, there is a Good Samaritan clause that protects people who try to help pelicans in distress. However, handling a wild animal can be dangerous so it is important to only handle these animals if you can ensure that you yourself will also be safe. Threatened or endangered animals like turtles or manatees should not be touched, even if you believe they are injured. If you encounter one of these animals, contact Miami Waterkeeper or FWC.
Overall, we'd call this a very successful day patrolling Biscayne Bay! Special thanks to Pelican Harbor and Ransom Everglades for their amazing help out on the water.
Do you want to help Miami Waterkeeper and the South Florida wildlife? Consider joining our 1000 Eyes on the Water team. We will teach you how to identify, document, and report pollution, hazards or injured wildlife on the water! Learn more about our free trainings and this program here.