Posted by Evelyn S. Gonzalez
A 63-inch sewer line broke June 20, sending waste into Miami-Dade County’s Biscayne Canal and Intracoastal Waterway. Although the “no contact with water” advisory for swimmers has since been lifted by the the water and sewer department, this incident is one of many disturbances impacting Biscayne Bay.
Members of the community, including FIU researchers, alumni and students, came together for the 2017 Biscayne Bay Marine Health Inaugural Summit. It was hosted June 28 at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus in North Miami, Fla.
Nearly 200 people representing local businesses, colleges and universities, governmental agencies and environmental nongovernmental organizations were in attendance. Their goal was to create and launch a 10-year action plan to reduce debris and pollutants in Biscayne Bay and local canals, rivers and beaches.
FIU’s Institute of Water and Environment was one of the summit’s supporting partners. Institute researchers gave presentations and led workshops, including marine ecologist James Fourqurean, aquatic ecologist Evelyn Gaiser, geologist Rene Price, ecologist Joel Trexler and wetland ecologist Tiffany Troxler.
The talks were designed to help stakeholders understand the ecological importance of and challenges to Biscayne Bay, identify its main sources of pollution, identify prevention efforts, establish collaboration among stakeholders, and share ideas, expertise, resources and solutions to support the creation and launch of the action plan.
“Biscayne Bay is where we live, where our children swim and play. We should prioritize understanding and correcting the problems the bay faces in order to preserve it for current and future generations,” said Todd Crowl, director of FIU’s Institute of Water and Environment. “The summit was a first step in advancing that understanding. It was a collaboration of stakeholders who, together, bring the energy and ingenuity needed to restore and manage the bay and ensure our quality of life.”
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