Dr. Rachel Silverstein met with Arielle Duhaime-Ross to discuss the indefinitely deferred ordinance that would have banned planting mangroves at City of Miami parks.
"Not only do Mangroves keep shorelines safer from storm winds and waves and help with flooding, but they also help prevent erosion and keep the waters they grow in clear. In Miami, where waterfront real estate and views are king, there’s a battle over this tree and it’s pissing a lot of people off."
Mangroves are incredibly beneficial for our community, providing millions of dollars in ecosystem services every year. Still, on May 31, 2022, the City of Miami Commission was scheduled to hear an ordinance that would have banned the planting of mangroves at City parks and put existing mangroves at risk.
In response, Miami Waterkeeper convened 13 scientific and environmental community partners in the creation of a policy letter to the City, explaining in detail the problems of the proposed regulation and offering practical alternatives. We explained that mangroves and views are not mutually exclusive. We noted solutions such as mangrove trimming, elevated boardwalks, and viewing platforms. The letter also called out the unintended consequences that the City would have suffered if they passed the ordinance. Additionally, this ordinance would have conflicted with the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve Rule, which is a powerful State of Florida chapter of regulations meant to preserve and enhance the Bay towards its natural, mangrove-fringed conditions.
Additionally, we galvanized members of the community to contact the City of Miami commissioners, and over 1,100 Biscayne Bay advocates heeded their call to action, urging commissioners not to pass this ordinance because of the many benefits that mangroves provide -- storing carbon, protecting our community from coastal erosion and storm surges, and promoting local biodiversity.
The City Commission deferred the ordinance indefinitely before Commissioner Ken Russell asked the ordinance's sponsor to withdraw it entirely -- which he did!
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