Miami Chapter
Miami Chapter

Save Biscayne Bay

Our beloved Biscayne Bay is at a tipping point. YOU can help tip the scales in favor of the bay and make a difference in it future!

What Happened?

In the Summer 2020, thousands of fish were killed in Biscayne Bay. Preliminary investigations found that a combination of low oxygen levels in parts of the water, along with high water temperatures caused the week-long fish kill. However, scientists say the tidal wave of dead fish was a symptom of a larger issue the bay has been experiencing for decades.

For years, scientists have been claiming that Biscayne Bay has reached its “tipping point.”

A 2019, study done by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration described that “tipping point” as an environmental “regime change.” The study looked at water quality in the bay from 1995 to 2014 and found levels of chlorophyll and phosphorus were increasing. What that meant was the lush beds of seagrass Biscayne Bay was known for were slowly dying off due to pollution and algal blooms, which absorb sunlight and suffocate all living things in the water. This nutrient pollution, which is things like nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizes the water and make algae grow.

Added to that are our flailing sewer and storm drainage system, and the over 100,000 septic tanks in households throughout Miami-Dade County. These tanks filled with waste are built above Miami-Dade’s groundwater and due to sea level rise, this groundwater has risen, and waste filled with nutrients, like phosphorous, is now entering the county’s aquifer untreated.

Working on a Solution

Since we launched the #SaveTheBay campaign in August of 2020, the City of Miami Beach and Miami Dade County have both passed Fertilizer restrictions upon first readings, in their respective city and county commission meetings. We are awaiting final votes which will enact these ordinances to occur in early 2021.

The Surfrider Miami Chapter leadership team consulted with various State lawmakers to advise on next steps and action plans. We were thrilled to hear that in December 2020, Governor De Santis and Miami Dade Mayor Levine-Cava held a conference to announce a $20 million investment into the protection and preservation of Biscayne Bay, a joint funding initiative between the State of Florida and Miami-Dade County.