corals blog

Victory Alert: PortMiami Legal Settlement

Lawsuit over Dredging Achieves Restoration of 10,000 threatened corals 

Celebrate our legal victory with us!


It's been a long four years of battling the Army Corps of Engineers over the damage they caused to our reefs during the dredging of the Port of Miami, but now there are 10,000 reasons to celebrate. 

Miami Waterkeeper and our co-plaintiffs Captain Dan Kipnis, Miami-Dade Reef Guard Association, and Tropical Audubon Society, have finally reached a settlement that will result in the restoration of 10,000 federally protected staghorn corals in Miami-Dade County over the next three years, carried out by the Lirman lab at the University of Miami. Funding will also be provided to the Miami-Dade County Mooring Buoy program to prevent anchor damage on reefs. This settlement is in addition to the hundreds of staghorn corals that we rescued during the dredging, at an estimated value of $14 million to the public.

The Corps’ dredging at PortMiami, which occurred from 2013 - 2015, was intended to make way for larger, “post-Panamax” shipping vessels. However, the dredging proved disastrous for the coral reefs in the area and ended up burying an area of reef the size of over 200 football fields. That's a lot of coral.

This settlement is a first step to help recover local populations of threatened staghorn corals, which will also benefit reefs, fish, and other wildlife as well as protect our coastline from storm surge. We're also still fighting to ensure that the entire area that was damaged gets the proper mitigation using science and advocacy work.

And the stakes are now even higher: PortMiami just announced that they didn't dredge deeply enough, and are already starting to plan for yet another expansion dredging project near our coral reefs! We will be calling on our members to help us ensure that this damage never happens again and we encourage you to join our membership family if you have not already!

Also, we've sued the Army Corps again for making the same mistakes during the planned dredging project at Ft. Lauderdale’s Port Everglades. This area is home to the same coral species, and has the potential to suffer similar fate. As a result of our work, that project has been delayed by three years while environmental reviews are redone!

Keep fighting with us. Click HERE to donate and help us continue to save our reefs!


We are incredibly grateful to our hardworking and dedicated outside attorneys who put in thousands of hours of their time to assist us in getting justice for our corals. We could not have brought this extensive and vital legal action without them. Our team included:  Jim Porter of James M. Porter, P.A., Paul Schwiep of Coffey Burlington, and Eric Glitzenstein of Meyer Glitzenstein and Eubanks.


Read our PRESS RELEASE and contribute below to our ongoing efforts to protect the Florida Reef Tract!

See your Waterkeeper, Rachel Silverstein, discuss this news here!



What's your opinion about this?

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.