The same dredging plan that killed hundreds of acres of coral reef during Miami port expansion is planned for Port Everglades.
In a September 2015, letter to the Army Corps of Engineers’ (ACOE) a dozen South Florida conservation groups and businesses challenged the expansion plan for Port Everglades. Their letter cited reports from NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, USEPA and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection documenting coral mortality and damage to the reef habitat that far exceeded what had been permitted for during the Miami Port expansion dredge project. The Miami project smothered over 200 acres of coral reef as far as 3,000 feet beyond what had been anticipated.
The ACOE has refused to reconsider their Port Everglades plan; the same dredging plan used in Miami.
In an effort to obtain additional documentation about the diversity of the fragile coral ecosystem potentially impacted by the Port Everglades dredging, Project Baseline teamed with coalition members to allow coral reef experts including Philippe Cousteau to witness this threatened reef first hand. On March 21 & 22, the state-of-the-art, 146’ oceanographic vessel Baseline Explorer launched subs and divers to complete multiple underwater surveys of the coral reefs surrounding the proposed Port Everglades dredging project.
“For Florida to dredge its coral reefs for this project is lunacy”, declared Cousteau after manning a Baseline Explorer two man sub, where he witnessed firsthand Endangered Species Act protected corals and reef habitat found within the footprint of the dredging project.
Following two days of reef survey’s Miami Waterkeeper’s hosted a reception and tour of the Baseline Explorer.
Link to news article: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/24/florida-coral-reef-new-port-philippe-cousteau-fort-lauderdale
Link to coalition letter: https://www.scribd.com/doc/278354710/Reinitiation-Request-Port-Everglades-Expansion
“This is bullshit,” retired Biscayne Bay boat captain Dan Kipnis. “I’ve never seen a government agency bulldoze the environment and people who care about it and lie, cheat and steal like they have here.”