28 June 2015

Miami cuts Virginia Key Mangroves for Miami Boat Show? (video)

All of south Florida, including all of Biscayne Bay, is a fragile environmental ecosystem. Above is a map showing (blue) the regulatory area of the US Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, Miami Permits Section which has yet to issue a permit for the relocation of the Miami International Boat Show to Virginia Key in Biscayne Bay. Read more below.

US Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District
Miami Permits Section 
9900 SW 107th Ave., Suite 203
Miami, FL 33176-2785
(305) 526-7181

Email:  SAJ-RD-S@usace.army.mil

JohnTheCrowd.com opinion: I don't think I'll ever attend another Miami International Boat Show--below is the link (and excerpts) to a Miami Herald story about the boat show controversy surrounding relocation of the show to Marine Stadium on Virginia Key. Many sailors, and boaters, are vigilant and keen environmentalists. The stupidity (and illegality?) of the City of Miami destroying the environment to make way for the Miami Boat Show, is sure to engender low patronage and attendance at the Miami International Boat Show by any boater or sailor who cares about the environment. Heads need to roll at City Hall, and the State of Florida and Federal authorities (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, EPA, US Department of Justice, etc.) need to take action NOW. I'm not a lawyer, and I do not know who is directly responsible for this happening, but I do know of instances where people went to prison for damaging the environment--

Miami cuts Virginia Key mangroves to make way for boat show | Miami Herald: "Faced with yet another obstacle in the struggle to host a controversial boat show at Marine Stadium on Virginia Key, Miami city workers found a simple solution last month: chop it down. Only one problem. Cutting mangroves without a permit is illegal. City of Miami workers ripped out red and black mangroves from about 300 feet of shoreline to make way for the International Boat Show at the Marine Stadium... More than 300 feet of shoreline had been stripped of trees, including red and black mangroves which provide valuable protection from erosion and shelter for young fish and nesting birds. A city manager told him the work was being done to ready the site for the International Boat Show. For boat show critics, who have complained bitterly about running the international show so close to fragile marine life and seagrasses where manatees graze, the mistake underlines their worries about potential impacts on Biscayne Bay from the show, long held at the Miami Beach Convention Center. “Every fifth- grader knows the value of mangroves,” said Key Biscayne Mayor Mayra Pena Lindsay."

When asked about the illegal removal, [Miami] City Manager Daniel Alfonso said: "I did hear that we cut down some mangroves. If we screwed something up, we'll try to make it right."--[Note: You Can't "Make It Right"--once you cut down red mangroves they are probably gone forever! See below.]

In anticipation of the February show, the city is spending $16 million on the dormant stadium grounds. The National Marine Manufacturers Association [NMMA], which hosts the show, has given the city $3 million for electrical upgrades and spent another $3 million on temporary docks.

The show, which must also obtain a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to move forward, is expected to draw a crowd of 100,000 with 1,500 boats. About 500 will be tied off to the floating docks, which span 268,400-square feet. Another 800,000-square feet of tents will house vendors. Corps officials have warned that the docks, which could be left in place for up to three months, would block sunlight and affect marine line in about 55.45 acres of the bay.

Key Biscayne officials also worry about the risk to surrounding marine life created by boat traffic, including a plan for water taxis to ferry visitors. “To have a conga line of water taxis during high season for manatees just begs the question: what are they thinking?” Lindsay said.

Mangroves have long been protected because they provide a critical barrier between land and water: their tangled roots help trap sediment and protect coastal areas from hurricanes while providing food and shelter for fish. Researchers found that reefs located near mangroves can have 25 times more fish, said Miami Waterkeeper executive director Rachel Silverstein. Federal officials estimate that northern Biscayne Bay has lost 82 percent of its mangrove. Since 1996, cutting a mangrove in Miami-Dade County has required a county permit.... Trimming mangroves requires a permit because if done incorrectly, the trees die. Red mangroves tend not to regrow at all. “That’s not an insignificant amount of mangrove,” Silverstein said. “Mangrove restoration can be done,” she added. “But it takes a long time for any kind of restoration to get close to approximating an ecosystem that was lost, if ever.”

JohnTheCrowd.com urges everyone to contact the U.S. Corps of Engineers NOW.

Below is a video promotion of the Miami Boat Show that inadvertently shows the environmental disaster looming for Virginia Key and Biscayne Bay by relocating the Miami Boat Show to Virginia Key--

If you were planning to attend the Miami International Boat Show next February, think again--and let the Progressive Insurance Company and Miami International Boat Show and National Marine Manufacturers Association, and most importantly, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers  know what you think about this!

US Army Corps of Engineers
Conservation Department
Address: 9900 SW 107th Avenue, Suite 203, Miami, FL 33176
Phone:(305) 526-7181
Email: saj-rd-s@usace.army.mil

Also contact Miami Waterkeeper and ask them to take action.

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