Press

CBS - Bay dredging project threatens vital Miami reefs

July 17, 2014

“Rachel Silverstein is director of the Biscayne Bay water keepers. She says the expansion project violates the Endangered Species Act.

“Miami is going to pay the price ultimately with a dead reef when the Army Corps leaves town,” Silverstein said.”

The NewYorker – The Life and Death of Miami Coral

July 17, 2014

“The Corps has been monitoring sediment levels, but a recent survey determined that at least two hundred more colonies of endangered staghorn corals are living in the dredge area than previously believed. Conservation groups like the Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper argue that this finding alone should have driven the Army Corps to seek a new biological opinion assessment by the National Marine Fisheries Service, rather than following a 2011 opinion that estimated a lower colony count. The Waterkeeper is calling for the removal of all protected colonies, while fearing that the corals won’t survive the proposed two years of dredging.”

The Miami Herald - Scientists race to save coral doomed by Government Cut dredging

June 6, 2014

“In response to questions about the permit timing this week from the Biscayne Bay Waterkeepers and Colin Foord, who is leading another dive team, the Corps said contractor Great Lakes Dredge & Dock had relocated 700 colonies, including 38 rare staghorn. Forty days later, the staghorn were still “alive and in good health, with only minor bleaching and partial mortality,” a statement said.

But when Baker and Foord began retrieving coral last week, they discovered many large colonies of other coral — Baker found 20 to 30 — bigger than 10 inches left behind.”

The New York Times - Researchers Race to Save Coral in Miami

June 5, 2014

‘“They were allowed to go out and see what was left over,” said Rachel Silverstein, the executive director of Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper, which brought the original lawsuit to protect corals in Government Cut. “We realized that there is a lot still there. And we realized how much the permit was missing in terms of mitigation and how much reef will be destroyed by this dredging.”’

NPR – An Underwater Race To Transplant Miami’s Rare Corals

June 4, 2014

“A lab just off Florida’s Miami River has become the base for an unusual lifesaving operation.

A group of scientists there is on an urgent mission to save as many corals as it can before the marine creatures are destroyed as part of an underwater excavation of Miami’s shipping channel. The channel — set to be dredged and deepened on Saturday — is home to a thriving coral reef.”

E & E Publishing - Cities: Fight over a Fla. sewer pipe raises national financial and health issues

September 3, 2013

“Nondescript as it is, the pipe is at the center of one of the biggest fights over climate change in the country. It carries millions of tons of partially treated sewage daily — after it is piped underwater from Miami Beach — miles out to the ocean. Environmentalists fear a direct hit from a strong storm could knock out the plant and the pipe for long periods of time, sending raw sewage into Biscayne Bay.

“It could be much worse than Hurricane Sandy. If you had billions of gallons pouring into the waters, it would be a catastrophe, a calamity,” said Albert Slap, an attorney supporting Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper, an advocacy group.

In addition to public health threats, there could be long-lasting effects on the ecosystem, he said. Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper’s supporters also expressed concerns about the liquid chlorine that is stored at the plant.”

The Wall Street Journal - Flood Fixes Vex Coastal Areas

June 14, 2013

“Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper, an environmental advocacy group, challenged the proposed agreement in federal court earlier this year, arguing that it failed to account for rising sea levels, leaving some coastal treatment plants prone to disaster in a storm. “To rebuild these systems at current elevation, with no hardening, no sea walls…is the height of irresponsibility,” said Albert Slap, an attorney for the group.”

The Miami Herald - Miami-Dade commissioners approve spending $1.6 billion to fix water, sewer pipes

May 21, 2013

“Miami-Dade commissioners swallowed hard medicine Tuesday, approving an agreement with the federal and state governments to settle violations of environmental laws and committing $1.6 billion over the next 15 years to fix the county’s antiquated water and sewer pipes.”

March 10, 2013

“OUR OPINION: Environmental groups should have a say in negotiations [between Miami-Dade County and the EPA over Clean Water Act violations due to the Counties mismanagement of its sewage system.] – …One environmental group, Biscayne Bay Waterkeepers, has sought intervention in the negotiations in federal court, citing numerous concerns that, without proper oversight by outside experts and affected groups, the negotiations will produce a flawed solution to the problem of repeated dumping of raw sewage into Biscayne Bay and its tributaries, as well as inundations on streets and in homes.”

The Miami Herald - Deep trouble: How sea-rise could cause havoc in South Florida

March 10, 2013

“The sobering scenarios were filed last month in federal court by Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper, a clean-water advocacy group challenging Miami-Dade’s $1.5 billion plan to repair the county’s aging, spill-plagued sewage system. The Water and Sewer Department has drawn up the proposal, called a “consent decree,’’ under the pressure of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lawsuit and threat of millions of dollars in potential fines.

Critics contend it has a gaping hole: It ignores looming sea-rise that both county and EPA planning policies acknowledge poses trouble, potentially deep trouble, for a region in line to feel the earliest effects of climate change. Miami-Dade endorsed a pioneering four-county compact that calls for adapting roads and buildings for climate change. Last year, the EPA released two reports promoting “climate ready” utilities.

Yet after 10 months of negotiations between agencies, the sewer plan doesn’t contain a word about dealing with flooding tides or the sort of storm surge that devastated the Northeast during Hurricane Sandy. No calls for sea walls, elevated separating tanks, stronger casks for pressurized liquid chlorine or other “armoring” measures.”

The Miami HeraldActivists threaten lawsuit against Miami-Dade over Clean Water Act violations

October 9, 2012

“Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper has filed a notice with the county, and state and federal environmental protection agencies, saying it intends to file a lawsuit in 60 days because the county has violated several provisions of the federal Clean Water Act.”

SunPost WeeklyNews: Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper Threatens to Sue the County

October 11, 2012

“Earlier this week Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper sent a Letter of Intent to Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, and John Renfrow, Director, Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer District.”