On Monday May 13, Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper sent a letter, undersigned by 16 organizations, asking that EPA and Miami-Dade take a holistic approach to address these sewage issues. (see letter below)
In the pursuit of the best science to help us understand how to move forward with sewage system improvements we have enlisted the help of scientists in the Miami-Dade area. Here are two expert reports that have helped us understand Miami-Dade’s situation:
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s draft permit to the US Army Corps of Engineers locally sponsored by Miami-Dade County presented one of the largest construction projects in the history of Biscayne Bay proposing to dredge 415 total acres of our tropical shallow lagoon home to over 12 threatened, endangered or protected marine species. Construction will last approximately 2 years and require 600 events of confined blasting to deepen the channel used by cargo ships from @42 to @50 feet. BBWK and partners challenged what we considered insufficient environmental reparations, mitigation efforts and use of the best management practices available today.Since the project could be completed within Florida’s water quality laws, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection proposed to issue variances to multiple significant laws in place specifically written to protect water quality. This project is based on projections of jobs and economic gain that BBWK did not find sufficient information to support and considered unlikely and unsubstantiated – wasting billions of tax dollars and resources with guaranteed environmental impacts.
After an intensive month-long mediation process, BBWK and partners negotiated a settlement due to the costly nature of continued litigation action. The settlement provides for improvements to the project as well as increased mitigation measures, including: 1.310 million to the Biscayne Bay Trust Fund for unfunded but much needed Bay restoration and enhancement projects; Increased mitigation for corals including increasing numbers of corals to be removed and replanted instead of being destroyed; greatly improved the seagrass mitigation plan including increase in acreage of replanting and care methods for grasses to be disturbed; moved blasting events to 1000 as opposed to 200 feet within the crumbling sewage pipeline under the Bay; Limited blasting events from occurring within most heavy feeding times for dolphins, fish and other animals as well as spawning season for large game fish populations.