Posted by: reefrescue | July 30, 2014

Deep Dredge Critics Use Drones, Planes, and Satellites to Show Damage to Biscayne Bay

When fleets of ships began scraping the bottom of the bay, activists went on alert. Like superheroes called out of their lairs, some have gone to incredible lengths to document the damage the dredge is doing.

Capt. Dan Kipnis caught contractors for the Army Corps of Engineers taking bogus water readings in Biscayne Bay

Capt. Dan Kipnis caught contractors for the Army Corps of Engineers taking bogus water readings in Biscayne Bay

Two years ago, environmentalists desperately tried to derail the Deep Dredge. They claimed the $2 billion plan to deepen the Port of Miami would kill wildlife in Biscayne Bay, so they sued to stop it. But when a bevy of state agencies lined up against them — threatening dredge opponents with outrageous legal fees — the environmentalists were forced to cut a deal and walk away. The dredge went ahead.

For a year and a half, these environmentalists focused on other issues. But when fleets of ships finally began scraping the bottom of the bay in December, activists went on alert. Like superheroes called out of their secret lairs, some have gone to incredible lengths to document the damage the dredge is doing.

“There is something rotten going on here,” says Dan Kipnis, a retired Biscayne Bay boat captain. “Something really rotten.”

On July 7, Kipnis took a boat out to the dredge. He watched as a private contractor took turbidity readings — nowhere near the dredge site.

“We caught their tester in his boat taking readings outside the plume, in clean water,” Kipnis says. So the boat captain took his own water samples. They came back twice the legal limit — high enough to get the entire dredge shut down. “They are gaming the system!” Kipnis claims.

“We’re seeing coral buried under a centimeter of silt,” marine biologist Colin Foord says. “This [dredging] is supposed to go on for another year. Some of the coral may not survive.”

On July 17, Kipnis, Foord, Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper, and the Tropical Audubon Society filed formal notice of their intent to sue the corps and its contractor for improperly monitoring the dredge and for damaging the bay with its dirty plumes.

The ruckus they are raising may be working. The morning the environmentalists filed their motion, the dredge ships disappeared from Biscayne Bay.

The corps says its main ship was struck by lightning, and that the stoppage has nothing to do with damage from the dredge.

But Kipnis claims the corps was cleaning up its act before divers from Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection could inspect the site last week.

The boat captain’s efforts to catch the corps cheating may sound like a convoluted spy novel, but Kipnis says his message is simple.

“If we kill what’s growing there in the bay,” he says, “it might never come back.”

 

Read complete article with video:

http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2014/07/environmentalists_use_drones_planes_and_satellite_photos_to_prove_deep_dredge_is_damaging_biscayne_b.php

also see

 

Sediment and Turbidity Associated with Offshore Dredging Increase Coral Disease Prevalence on Nearby Reefs

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi/10.1371/journal.pone.0102498

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Responses

  1. It’s really sad that people are willing to sacrifice life that has taken years to develop for profit. We’ve seen in many times in this industry and had to create a ton of conservation centers just to have some sort of marine life to look at. We are seeing huge reductions in reef mass worldwide, recent studies suggest the Great Barrier Reef could be near extinction in 2050.


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