Biscayne Bay Coalition
Whether it’s fending off budget cuts to critical bay protection programs, fighting development proposals that threaten its ecological balance, or educating the public about the bay’s dolphin and manatee populations, BBC is on the front lines to protect the vast body of water. Stretching 35 miles along South Florida’s Atlantic Coast, the bay is home to fish nurseries that feed our herons, spoonbills and other wading birds; it even provides drinking water for a large human population as well.
- To increase awareness of the impact of Biscayne Bay on the health of the global environment, the local economy and the wellbeing of its inhabitants and the wildlife and people living around the Bay.
- To monitor policy and permitting activity to weigh in on actions that may have a negative environmental impact.
- To support research as a way to increase the collective knowledge of Biscayne Bay’s environmental health, ecosystem services, economic impact and societal benefits.
- To grow the BBC membership to include an even wider spectrum of organizations and individuals with an interest in Biscayne Bay.
To date, BBC has been instrumental in:
- Defeating David Beckham’s Soccer Stadium plan to build on the last remaining unfilled parcel on the western boundary of Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves. (Attempting to place a professional sports stadium on the city-owned Florida East Coast Railway slip was a glaring, high-profile example of the constant threat to fill in the bay, in this case a portion within the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves, an area comprised of 70,000 acres of submerged lands that the Florida Legislature voted to protect 40 years ago for its “biological and aesthetic values.”)
- Deferring variances for Watson Island and SkyRise Miami at the Board of County Commissioners.
- Advocating to our elected officials for swift completion of the Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands Project that will deliver fresh water to Biscayne Bay.
- Elevating public awareness of Florida Power & Light Company’s Turkey Point proposed new nuclear units’ impact on Biscayne Bay, the public’s fresh water supply.
- Publishing a list of solutions to protect water and energy production.
- Campaigning successfully to stall proposed changes to the Miami-Dade County Manatee Protection Plan that would have endangered manatees. A vote on the proposal was deferred by the county's Land Use and Development Committee.
- Working to improve the General Management Plan for Biscayne National Park, urging park officials to implement a NO-TAKE ZONE that will allow fish populations to rebound to healthy numbers. (On-the-record TAS comments recommend a marine reserve to ban fishing activity or a take of any kind in a specific area until such time as a 20 percent increase in fish populations is realized, as is the stated park goal. It is a proven method for improving fish populations in number and in the size of individuals. Closing down one area of the park allows fish there to mature, resulting in a higher reproduction success, which allows recruitment throughout the bay and beyond.)
- Improving dredging methods for the Port Miami expansion to safeguard sea grasses and corals, and ensure turbidity would not damage marine life during dredging; simultaneously helping secure $2.5 million for adjacent mitigation and restoration projects.
- Protecting Biscayne Bay from unnecessary dredge and fill projects by upholding the rules; supporting stringent oversight procedures for future projects.
- Preventing the defunding of the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve state office.
It is tempting for private entities, and in some cases, government bodies, to characterize the bay, as one official put it, as “underutilized,” in order to justify filling it. The reality, however, is that the bay is Miami’s watery jewel.
“We contend that Biscayne Bay, despite all the destruction it has endured, has demonstrated ecological resilience and continues to provide jobs, supply the food we eat and make possible the water-dependent recreation we enjoy. We contend that the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve is Miami’s great urban park,” wrote TAS Director Laura Reynolds to Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez in making the BBC case against filling the slip.
The soccer stadium plan was just one in a long list of proposals floated over the years that have threatened the bay’s health, underscoring the need for a powerful advocate in the form of the BBC.
Future BBC Goals:
- Improve Restoration Efforts by weighing in on actions that may have a negative environmental impact on the bay; support the bay restoration through the Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands Project as part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP); and push for rules to protect the current surface and ground water flow into Biscayne Bay.
- Increase Awareness of the Bay by educating the public about the bay’s impact on the health of the larger environmental ecosystem, on the local economy and on the wellbeing of the wildlife and people that depend on it.
- Support Research by increasing the collective knowledge of the bay’s environmental health, ecosystem services, economic impact and societal benefits.
- Improve Signage in order to increase consumer awareness of the protected waters and submerged lands in the bay.
The BBC spreads these messages via presentations to community groups and students, and by engaging the public at local events.
By serving as the community advocate for Biscayne Bay, BBC hopes to expand its focus, and enhance its commitment to gathering the support needed to keep Biscayne Bay and the surrounding aquatic community healthy in perpetuity. Earmarked donations, large or small, will directly help fuel these critical efforts.
How you can help protect Biscayne Bay:
- Join the Biscayne Bay Coalition to receive BBC emails
- Request a Biscayne Bay presentation for your civic, religious or social group
- Donate to fund specific bay projects as they arise
- Participate in Citizen Science activities such as bird counts around the bay
- Book a guided TAS Paddle Out kayak trip for an up-close Biscyane Bay experience
- Attend public meetings or write letters when called upon
- And most of all…Enjoy the bay!