Something is wrong in the north end of Biscayne Bay, where — despite decades of dredging and boat traffic and polluted stormwater runoff — thick meadows of seagrass once kept water gin clear and filled with marine life.
Nearly half the basin’s manatee grass has died. Many of the fish have fled. And on windy days, or with every passing Cigarette boat, mud swirls up from the bottom. It’s essentially a dust bowl, only underwater.
Ben Mostkoff, who has lived within blocks of the bay for nearly six decades, has watched the die-off spread, turning large swaths lifeless in what not long ago was a favorite inshore snorkeling spot.
“This entire basin was so clear that on rough days when we would want to go out boating and it was too rough, we would come in here,” said Mostkoff, a former Miami-Dade County ecologist who started the county’s artificial reef program. The waters were filled with “tarpon, snook, snapper, lots of grunt, even tropical fish on the ledges and sea trout. All kinds of sea trout. And manatees would be in here as well.”
Originally posted to The Daily Catch: www.theterramarproject.org/thedailycatch
Photo: Heather Dine/NOAA/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)
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