Miami-Dade has an award-winning system of County, State and National Parks. Its peninsular nature makes it the ideal stop for birds migrating along the Atlantic Flyway to recharge and refuel before continuing their journey south or north. Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park and The Crocodile Lakes National Wildlife Refuge have all been identified as Important Bird Areas that provide birds with a rest and refueling haven. In many cases, nesting occurs in these areas close to densely populated urban Miami. Our TAS Mission embodies all of the above: To conserve and restore South Florida ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife and their habitats
The Everglades is a globally unique World Heritage Site, an International Biosphere Reserve, a Wetland of International Importance and a specially protected area under the Cartagena Treaty; it is also the water supply for 8 million Floridians! Because it acts as the major water supply for the state, and plays a vital role in sustaining biodiversity worldwide, TAS prioritizes Everglades Restoration to return much-needed fresh clean water to the presently compartmentalized River of Grass and its adjacent estuaries.
A restored Everglades and healthy Biscayne Bay are critical to humans and wildlife. Both places are considered two of the region’s biggest economic engines. Biscayne Bay recreational activities contribute $3.8 billion in economic output, $2.1 billion in incomes and generate 57,000 jobs. Everglades National Park alone had more than 1 million visitors in 2014, who collectively spent $96 million and generated 1,302 jobs.
The way we grow as a county directly affects Biscayne Bay, the Everglades and the many species they each support – many of which are endangered or threatened. That’s why TAS works hard to raise awareness of any development or conflicting natural resource use that might be detrimental to the health of either place, and acts swiftly to ensure their habitats stay healthy to both protect the biodiversity that attracts visitors to Miami, and to preserve it for future generations of Floridians to enjoy.
Check out our blog for important discussions on the latest conservation issues facing South Florida. Sign up for our e-newsletter for weekly action alerts, field trips and events.
If you have an important issue you would like to blog about or share with us please contact us: Ana Lima.
In the succinct words of writer and conservation pioneer Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, “There are no other Everglades in the world.” The Everglades once extended from the Chain of Lakes just below Orlando, through the once-meandering Kissimmee River, overflowing Lake Okeechobee and slowly expanding over the larger Everglades region, sheeting water south to Florida Bay and Biscayne Bay. It is this slow movement of water that earned the Everglades its “River of Grass” moniker.
White settlers arriving in number in the 1800s viewed the amount of water naturally occurring in the ecosystem as an impediment to development and agriculture. Drainage efforts commenced around the time of the Civil War, but it was not until the State turned to the Army Corps of Engineers in the 1920s that the massive mission of removing water from the Everglades was “achieved.” The end solutions included levees, dikes, canals, water-control points and pump stations that mechanically control the quantity and timing of water flows through the Everglades region. The end result of compartmentalizing and altering the natural cycle: the Everglades currently lack enough freshwater during dry season and has too much water during rainy season (with nowhere to store it). With such radical manipulations, scientists and environmentalists soon noted further drastic decline of bird species that had once “blackened the sky” prior to the devastating plume hunts of the Victorian era.
In 2000, under the leadership of President Bill Clinton, Congress authorized the largest restoration project in the world: the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project (CERP). The 30-year salvation plan seeks to restore, protect and preserve the remaining 18,000 square miles of Everglades. Tropical Audubon Society and its allies work daily in advancing Everglades Restoration projects to bring back vitality to this unique ecosystem.
Visit the Everglades Coalition, the first and foremost pro-Everglades voice co-founded by TAS 30 years ago. This group of more than 50 local, state and national conservation and environmental non-profit organizations represents more than 6 million people and works to ensure Everglades Restoration is accelerated, and that no other planned projects or State decisions interfere with its success.
Get involved. Join our mailing list and attend TAS’s monthly conservation meetings at our South Miami headquarters on the 4th Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. A teleconference call-in number can also be provided.
Hold the Line
In 2004, Tropical Audubon Society launched the Hold The Line Campaign in collaboration with Friends of the Everglades and 140 other organizations. The intent was clear: Protect the rural lands and Everglades on the West and South sides of Miami-Dade County from the sprawling development encroaching from western metropolitan Miami. The goal was simple: Uphold the integrity of the Urban Development Boundary (UDB). Created in 1975, the UDB is an invisible line running along the south and western areas of the county hemmed by a buffer of agricultural lands. The agricultural corridor separates high-density zoning of urban Miami from the low-density zoning of the Everglades – the main source of water for 8 million Floridians.
The Hold The Line group has since expanded to become the Hold the Line – Ride the Line Coalition in response to the proposed expansion of the Dolphin Expressway (SR-836) beyond the UDB. The coalition believes that moving the boundary for highway expansion for any reason will attract development in the fragile Everglades and neighboring open space that is needed to recharge our aquifers and protect the region from sea level rise.
The expanded coalition’s goals now include: halt highway expansion; encourage public mass transit, keep the UDB intact; support smart growth in the urban core; and help push Climate Change adaptation and prevention. Hold the Line - Ride the Line members are ever ready to oppose unnecessary sprawl in the name of protecting environmentally sensitive lands, farmland and green space.
Biscayne Bay Coalition
Biscayne Bay’s calm, protected waters have drawn people to its shores for thousands of years. Today, protecting the bay and its fragile ecosystems is more important than ever. It requires a community effort to help reverse the toll that the human population has imposed on the bay — from protecting water quality and coral reef health, to replanting mangroves and sea grass, to restoring viable nurseries and fisheries.
To this end, Tropical Audubon Society (TAS) formed the Biscayne Bay Coalition (BBC) in 2009 bringing together people and organizations with a shared interest in the health of the bay under a single Mission: To unite the Miami community to help protect, restore and enhance Biscayne Bay for future generations.
The BBC has since grown into a powerful voice for protecting our fragile bay waters, tributaries and habitats. Members include but are not limited to: Biscayne Bay Waterkeepers, Clean Water Action, Dade Heritage Trust, ECOMB, Friends of Biscayne Bay, Isaac Walton League of America Miami Chapter, National Parks Conservation Association, Sierra Club Miami Chapter, Surfrider Miami, Tropical Audubon Society, Urban Environment League and Urban Paradise Guild.Read more...
Pine Rocklands are one of South Florida's most precious and productive ecosystems. Found only in South Florida and in parts of the Caribbean, this unique and rapidly vanishing forest provides critical habitat for a variety of endangered species, including but not limited to, the Bald Eagle, Indigo snake, Florida Bonneted Bat, Bartram's Hairstreak Butterfly and Florida Leafwing Butterfly, as well as the thought-to-be-extinct Miami Tiger Beetle recently rediscovered in the Richmond Pine Rocklands.
Following the recent series of attacks to Pine Rocklands, TAS and neighbors banded together to create the Miami Rocklands Preservation Coalition to protect the Richmond Pine Rockland Tract, and any other parcel of Pine Rockland remaining in Miami-Dade County.
Sea Level Rise
We're still gathering sticks and twigs to build this nest, check back soon!
We're still gathering sticks and twigs to build this nest, check back soon!