I enjoyed Susan Cocking’s Jan. 20 article, Biscayne N ational Park shoreline is a natural treasure to behold, highlighting the park as the region’s least-known natural treasure. Biscayne National Park protects part of the third-largest coral reef system in the world, providing habitat and nursery grounds for most of the region’s important commercial and recreational fish habitat. All of this located just minutes outside of Miami’s urban mecca.
The park is an economic engine critical to supporting the livelihood of businesses and communities in Miami-Dade County. Visitors from around the world come to enjoy the park’s unique resources including boating, diving, and fishing. In fact, in 2010, Biscayne National Park welcomed nearly 470,000 recreational visitors who spent more than $30.7 million supporting more than 480 jobs in South Florida.
Unfortunately, encroaching development continues to threaten Biscayne Bay, especially the recent decision by Miami-Dade County commissioners to grant zoning permits to Florida Power & Light that would allow them to suck millions of gallons of water per day from under Biscayne Bay. The water will be used to cool the new Turkey Point reactors and includes expanding their operations onto pristine wetlands adjacent to Biscayne Bay. FPL is now seeking state and federal approval to move forward with its proposal.
Through Everglades restoration efforts, we are investing millions of our dollars into restoring freshwater back into Biscayne Bay. Gov. Rick Scott and his Cabinet should not allow FPL to continue with its proposal because it would dismantle our investment and progress.
If we don’t work together to protect resources like those preserved and protected at Biscayne National Park, we may lose them forever.
Kahlil Kettering, analyst, Biscayne Restoration Program, Hollywood