A wave of funding designed to protect Biscayne Bay and its delicate barrier reefs is on the way.
The state of Florida and Miami-Dade County have earmarked $20 million to fund infrastructure improvements and other restoration projects for its water, coral and seagrass.
The state and county will each put $10 million into the pool. Miami-Dade has already identified $5 million in restoration projects.
The bay is the largest estuary in the country. The barrier reef is the only one in the U.S and the third largest in the world.
According to Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Cava, Biscayne Bay’s seagrass is “in retreat” and the coral reefs are in “jeapordy.”
She said during a news conference at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park announcing the joint initiative, “Urgent action is pivitol to tackle the crisis head on.”
Florida’s part of the money comes from an annual set-aside of $625 million from NOAA that usually goes largely toward Everglades restoration funding.
Cava joined Florida Governor Ron DeSantis bayside for the announcement. Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein also spoke.
“Protecting Biscayne Bay has to be a top priority,” DeSantis said. “This means ending sanitary sewer overflows by making the necessary infrastructure improvements, increasing freshwater inflows to many marine habitats that are currently threatened, and restoring the coral reef.”
He said, “Biscayne Bay draws millions of tourists for boating, fishing, and snorkeling, and it an important part of both our local and state economies.”