I hope the July 7 editorial, Atlantis, interrupted raises awareness among local elected officials and agencies such as the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) and state agencies such as the South Florida Water Management District. They don’t seem to get it that we have entered a new era. Selling off coastal properties or building superhighways outside the Urban Development Boundary in low lying areas, converting mass transit lanes like the South Dade Busway to “Lexus lanes” or building museums or casinos on coastal lands or barrier islands or allowing commercial development of the Miami Marine Stadium basin on Virginia Key should be taken off the table if the city truly expects to prolong its existence in an economically and environmentally sustainable way.
These coastal lands and barrier islands (as well as offshore coral reefs) are our first line of defense against coming storm surges and rising sea levels. Keeping as many of these lands natural, replanted with natives, and restoring dunes are critical. Likewise, our offshore coral reefs play a part in protecting the mainland.
Shamefully, the proposed deep dredge projects by Port of Miami and Port Everglades combined will destroy acres of coral reefs — where no mitigation will recompense.
To change our policies and reconfigure our priorities to save our city is a brave new world; will we be up for it? And can we be honest about our responsibilities?
Talk of “building sea walls or bringing in more sand” for the short term is not good enough because there is no short term any longer. And our very geology on a bed of porous limestone betrays us.
In that we have never encountered this phenomenon, it is not surprising there are missteps and much confusion. But it is this generation who bears the burden of planning for the future as long-term infrastructure and investment decisions must be made now, not by future administrations.
Blanca Mesa, Coral Gables