Letters to the Editor

Dredging hurts coral

Re the Aug. 18 article Port dredge damages more coral: As one of the original litigants opposing the PortMiami deep-dredge project as it was permitted, I say, with no satisfaction, We told you so.

Our original contention, that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers couldn’t conduct this project without grave consequences to precious reefs and inshore grass prairies, has been shown to be correct. Unfortunately, damage far exceeds boundaries the Corps used to justify the environmental permit pitched to Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The article estimated reef damage to be more than 260 acres. In reality, siltation has occurred 1.5 miles to the north and 2 miles south of the work site.

Additionally, the Corps’ barges used to take dredge material offshore for disposal leaked, spilling even more sediment over a much-larger area. National Marine Fisheries cited only 13 violations in March and April. In reality, barges were leaking on every trip.

Add to that the fact that the barge operators were “short dumping” on the way to the official dump site. Time is money and a shorter trip pays with larger profits.

The original litigants have been prohibited by the courts from contesting this environmental travesty, holding that our settlement before the projects started with the Corps precluded any future challenges.

It will now be up to Miami-Dade County, the Corps, FDEP, National Marine Fisheries, EPA and NOAA to hash out where to place the blame and eventually determine what mitigation or penalties will be assessed.

Dan Kipnis, Miami Beach

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