2013 has been a great year here at Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper (BBWK). We have been working hard to ensure Biscayne Bay is safe and clean for the residents of Miami-Dade County, for visitors to this beautiful place, and for the fragile ecosystems that call our bay home. Our work can be categorized into three main activities: 1. Awareness Building 2. Community Outreach & Education and 3. Advocacy. Only with your support were we able to do the work we do. We want to take this opportunity to reflect on 2013 and thank you once again. Together, we have much to celebrate! We are so excited to have been able to accomplish so much in the past year! But there is so much more to do. Please consider pledging your support. Make a year end contribution to Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper and help us to continue to fight for clean water in Biscayne Bay. (click here to become a supporter.) Donate to Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper and give the gift of clean water.
Awareness Building: Due to your support and foundation grants, BBWK is proud to have increased our voice in the community through a website rebuild and social media campaign. We were able to work with local municipalities, local organization partners and community members to present a clear and coherent voice of concern from the community and keep our online visitors up-to-date with our campaigns, workshops, events and issues around Miami and beyond. As a result, we have increased our community partnerships, increased engagement with the media and most importantly, educated you and members of the public about issues effecting Biscayne Bay and the world’s waters.
Community Outreach & Education: A December 2012 appearance at the internationally renowned Art Basel where BBWK was featured in a visual art show during a live music performance, kicked off a strong 2013 of community outreach and education. Strengthening and building our community alliances, members of the BBWK team were guest presenters to a range of local groups including: Dive Bar (lawyers who scuba dive), Kiwanis Clubs, Rotary Clubs, Biscayne Bay Regional Restoration Coordination Team and Sierra Club and the Miami Fellows. In March 2013, BBWK and Sierra Club Miami teamed up for a Biscayne Bay clean up near Coconut Grove, FL. For the second year in a row, BBWK was a sponsor of the REEF alumni fishing tournament at local high school, Ransom Everglades, by securing a donation of biodegradeable boat soap for the BBWK eco-boat wash and creating information graphics listing bay friendly boating and fishing practices to be supplied in the captain’s bags.
Advocacy: Legal action and advocacy has been a strong component of our 2013 initiatives. After tracking and researching the rampant sewage spills (47 million gallons since 2011), BBWK and a Key Biscayne resident served a notice on Miami-Dade County of their intent to bring suit for Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) violations spanning the past five years against the County. With the help of foundations and individuals, like you, BBWK has been able to hire experts to author expert reports, which have shown the enormous threat to the resiliency of Miami-Dade’s sewage system in the near and long term. (See our recent blog post to read more about our involvement in the sewage case.) These reports have made the issue of Miami-Dade’s sewage system resiliency over the long term a scientific issue. BBWK has also participated in and authored a range of comment letters, state and national campaigns, including with Florida Waterkeepers, Waterkeeper Alliance, NRDC, National Wildlife Association, Taxpayers for Common Sense and others concerning, for example, toxic coal ash, overfishing, attempts at weakening environmental laws and failure to properly remediate the landfill on Virginia Key. BBWK testified at an FDEP hearing on toxin criteria for an upcoming rule making by Florida’s ERC and BBWK testified in Washington D.C. before the EPA about toxins in Florida’s waterways on behalf of all Florida Waterkeepers.