Protection of Biscayne Bay
and the Waters off Miami
Sierra Club Ocean and Water Quality Team is calling you!
Calling all interested, active, Sierrans who believe in protecting our oceans and in water quality issues.
Join us on the South East Florida Sierra Ocean and Water Quality Team.
The mission of this team is to strengthen the ocean stewardship, in South Florida and beyond, through the implementation of
President Obama’s National Ocean Policy (NOP) . Our team was formally established last September in Fort Lauderdale at a
Sierra conference and is a part of the Sierra National Marine Action Team.
The draft plans and the strategies for the NOP were recently revised and have just been published. We are looking for interested
Sierrans who have time to devote to this issue and will work actively with us on our team.
We are a hands-on group. Our territory runs from Martin County in the North, on down through Monroe County.
There is much work to be done in many different areas as regards water and our oceans.
We plan to connect with other coalition groups and work with them to achieve our goals.
If you have the time and interest and want to make a difference, here is the opportunity.
Please call or email Tanya Tweeton, 954-472-3704 email@example.com
Come work with our team to promote the National Ocean Policy in our southeast area of Florida.
Dredging in the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary?
You Said NO, and it worked.
Last year the Monroe County FL Planning Commssion voted 4 to 1 to approve to amend the text of the Monroe County Comprehensive Plan to
allow dredging of submerged lands with benthic resources.
The area in question was dredged in 1950 and since abandoned. It now has naturally restored itself to an average depth of 1.5 feet, ranging from as little as 0.47 feet to 2.86 feet with 40-45% seagrass coverage. The FWC has documented a sea turtle nest on the upland island to this proposed dredge site.
See video of site: You Tube Video
The amendment would have established a procedure to allow other property owners to request dredging.
The County staff estimates there may be as many as 200 submerged lands that could
utilize the proposed amendment. But you said NO!
Concerned citizens and Sierrans in the Keys wrote and called and showed up at the the Board of County Commissioners' meeting and the Commission was
convinced to turn down the amendment to the comp plan last month.
Monroe County is home to one of the largest sea grass meadows
in the world as well as the largest coral reef in the continental United States. This crucial habitat is necessary to the well
being of so many of our marine species, many of them endangered or threatened.
Dredging in the Florida Keys has been banned since 1972. The consequence of all the dredge and fill activities requires the extra protection of the many National &
State Parks, Aquatic Preserves, Wildlife Refuges and Marine Sanctuaries that make up the Florida Keys.
The FKNMS’s website lists dredging as one of the most prominent pressures that causes degradation of the sanctuary.
- Key Largo, FL
Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper Goes to Court to Protect Biscayne Bay
Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper (BBWK) along with Judi Koslen, a Key Biscayne Resident, filed a motion in federal district court
to become a party to the ongoing sewage case originally filed by the EPA in 1993 against Miami-Dade County.
BBWK, although not party to the original case, is an entity dedicated to protecting water quality in Biscayne Bay.
Under the Clean Water Act, when the outcome of a case affects the rights of those who ideally should have the right to be heard on the issue,
such parties may intervene. The Sierra Club is supporting the Waterkeepers in this suit.
The EPA’s 1993 case resulted in two consent decrees wherein the County agreed to take all steps necessary to avoid the discharge of untreated
sewage from its sewage collection and treatment system. Since entry of the consent decrees, hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage
have been discharged by the County as a consequence of failures of the system. The County has admitted that a 54” under-bay main from Miami Beach
to the County’s Central sewage plant on Key Biscayne is at risk of rupturing, which would cause serious environmental harm and pose grave
health risks. WASD’s director recently summed up that the system is being held together by “chewing gum.”
BBWK and Ms. Koslen contend that the County has failed to comply with the existing consent decrees by failing to avoid unpermitted discharges
of raw sewage in to our local waterways as ordered by the Court. “The aim is to compel the County to undertake repairs and upgrades that
should have been completed years ago. Waterkeeper wants more than a bandaid; it wants to ensure that any revised consent decree
between EPA and WASD contains enforceable terms and sufficient funding to meet those terms”,
said Paul Schwiep, lead counsel on this matter.
The violations stem from sewage overflows from the County’s sewer system and permit violations of its sewage treatment facilities.
The Central Plant, located on Virginia Key, is in close proximity to popular swimming beaches for locals and tourists, and has the most
federal and state permit violations of the County’s three wastewater treatment plants.
The Sierra Club Miami Group, while not a party in the lawsuit, has agreed to provide financial support to BBWK in this matter.
If you wish to help, send your donation to Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper. See more on their website: BBWK.ORG
Deep Dredge Threat to Biscayne Bay
See the youtube video. Go to Battle for Biscayne Bay
Biscayne National Park Equals Visitors, Money and Jobs for South Florida Economy
Biscayne National Park News Release
A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that
467,612 visitors in 2010 spent $30.7 million in Biscayne National Park and
in nearby communities. That spending supported more than 400 jobs in the
area. "The people and the business owners in communities near national parks have always known their economic value,"
said park superintendent Mark Lewis. "Biscayne National Park is clean, green fuel for the engine that drives our local economy."
Most of the spending/jobs are related to lodging, food, and beverage service (52 percent) followed by other retail (29 percent),
entertainment/amusements (10 percent), gas and local transportation (7 percent) and groceries (2 percent).
The figures are based on $12 billion of direct spending by 281 million visitors in 394 national parks and nearby communities and are included in
an annual, peer-reviewed, visitor spending analysis conducted by Dr. Daniel
Stynes of Michigan State University for the National Park Service. Across
the U.S, local visitor spending added a total of $31 billion to the
national economy and supported more than 258,000 jobs, an increase of $689 million and 11,500 jobs over 2009.
To download the report visit www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/products.cfm#MGM
and click on Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation and Payroll, 2010.
The report includes information for visitor spending at
individual parks and by state. For more on how the NPS is working within
Florida, go to www.nps.gov/state/fl
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Water Quality Program.
Miami Sierrans fought hard to get the Marine Sanctuary designation for critical habitat areas of the Florida Keys.
But once you have a sanctuary, how do you protect it? There are a lot of threats to the sanctuary, including trash dumping,
illegal fishing and destruction of seabeds by poor anchoring. All of those have to be monitored by park service personal. But are
those the only threats?
Recognizing the critical role of water quality in maintaining the resources of the Sanctuary,
Congress directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of Florida,
Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), to develop a Water Quality Protection Program
for the Sanctuary. This is the first such program ever developed for a marine sanctuary. The purpose of the
Protection Program is to "recommend priority corrective actions and compliance schedules addressing point and multipoint
sources of pollution to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Sanctuary,
including restoration and maintenance of a balanced, indigenous population of corals, shellfish, fish, and wildlife,
and recreational activities on the water" (Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Protection Act).
In addition to corrective actions, the Act also requires the development of a water quality monitoring program and the provision
of opportunities for public participation in all aspects of developing and implementing the program.
To learn more about this National Sanctuary, go to FLA KEYS MARINE SANCTUARY
If you have comments or suggestion, email webmaster at
Miami Group Webmaster
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