Solving Biscayne Bay crisis requires addressing canal’s water quality

MIAMI – As marine life was struggling in Biscayne Bay, residents along the Little River canal and local environmentalists worried about the piles of garbage floating over water that is destined to flow to the bay.

Rachel Silverstein, the director of Miami Waterkeeper, an environmental organization responding to the emergency, asked Miami Mayor Francis Suarez for help with the use of pumps.

“So many animals are struggling for air, this is a Hail Mary approach to try to save some of them,” Silverstein said. “This is not a long term solution.”

The city installed the pumps and compost receptacles to dispose of dead fish at three public parks: Morningside at 750 NE 55 Ter.; Albert Pallot at 601 NE 39 St., and Margaret Pace at 1745 N. Bayshore Dr.

“We worked with our partner organizations and departments to have compost receptacles so that volunteers can clean the bay of dead fish so it doesn’t contaminate other live marine life,” Mayor Francis Suarez said in a statement.

Fire Rescue personnel also deployed boats to help add more oxygen. Todd Crowl, of the Institute of Environment at Florida International University, said the data showed improvements.

“Things started moving north. The water started mixing vertically and horizontally and we watched the oxygen levels in almost every place go up,” Crowl said.

The city also launched an educational campaign to help enforce existing city and state regulations that prohibit the use of fertilizers on lawns during the rainy reason.

Activists are asking officials to address the water quality in canals releasing water to the bay. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he is reviewing the Biscayne Bay task force. The report was in the works before the recent fish kill.

About the Author:

Louis Aguirre is an Emmy-award winning journalist who anchors weekday newscasts and serves as WPLG Local 10’s Environmental Advocate.