Friday, November 24, 2017

Miami Waterkeeper

July 8, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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miami waterkeeper 1

The turquoise water of Biscayne Bay stretches 35 miles up the coastline of South Florida. Residents and visitors use the scenic body of water for diving, fishing, snorkeling, swimming, and, of course, boating.

miami waterkeeper 2Biscayne Bay is “the jewel of our city, and it helps drive the economy,” says Miami Waterkeeper Executive Director Rachel Silverstein.

Miami Waterkeeper is a nonprofit organization that advocates for Biscayne Bay, its watershed, and its wildlife. The organization’s goal is to educate locals and visitors about the role of clean water in Miami’s economy and to urge them to take action in the community.

Biscayne Bay is essential to the area. Overall, the bay contributed $12.7 billion to the economy, supported 137,000 jobs, and generated $627 million in tax revenue to Miami-Dade County, according to a 2005 Hazen and Sawyer report.

Boaters are crucial to keeping the Bay clean, according to Silverstein.

“We rely on boaters to be our eyes and ears on the water,” she says. “We want to know what they’re seeing — what kind of changes they notice in the water.”

Boaters can take steps to help maintain the health of the bay. It is important to be respectful to organisms in the water including the abundance of fish and kaleidoscope of corals. All too often, coral reefs are damaged by anchors as they sink down and crash onto the seabed. This can be avoided by never anchorng directly on a reef. Instead, pick up moorings when available.

miami waterkeeper 3“It’s as simple as being aware of your surroundings,” says Silverstein, adding that boaters should always use charts. “Know where you are in the water.”

Biscayne Bay is home to thriving coastlines of mangroves where pink shrimp, stone crabs, juvenile fish, manatees, and a variety of wading birds thrive. Boaters can help protect these species and the environment by never dumping trash overboard, using bilge sock and fueling collars, and practicing good recycling habits.

“And give us a call if you see anything that worries you,” Silverstein adds. 

For more information about Miami Waterkeeper visit www.miamiwaterkeeper.org or call 844-847-2295 to reach the organization directly.

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Learn about the Florida Clean Boater Program, and take the pledge!

http://www.dep.state.fl.us/cleanmarina/boater/

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