Miami Lawmakers Push for Mangrove Conservation Legislation for Third Consecutive Term

Miami Lawmakers Push for Mangrove Conservation Legislation for Third Consecutive Term

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
|
December 7, 2023

Tallahassee, Fl- Florida State Senators Bryan Avila (R) and Ileana Garcia (R)introduced a bill on Wednesday, December 7th, to preserve and protect Florida’s mangroves. 

Yesterday’s introduction marks the third time the legislation has been proposed, as previous attempts to pass the law in 2022 and in early 2023 failed due to timing problems. 

The bill would require Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to adopt rules for mangrove replanting and restoration. 

Everglades restoration and Biscayne Bay revitalization efforts are emphasized in the bill, including the development of ‘living shoreline’ design options for the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve.

Living shorelines are projects overseen by FDEP that aim to strengthen natural shorelines by combining human infrastructure with natural barriers, such as mangroves. 

According to FDEP, living shorelines provide increased wildlife access in critical habitat areas, combat coastal erosion by absorbing wave energy, and reduce costs for structural stabilization in low-energy environments. 

If passed, the bill would also have FDEP identify vulnerable properties along Florida’s coastline and encourage partnerships to create local mangrove protection and restoration.

Recent conservation efforts and changing climates have benefitted Florida’s mangroves, says FDEP. Continued evaluation of aerial images between 1984 and 2011 has allegedly demonstrated the Florida Atlantic Coast gaining more than 3,000 acres of mangroves.

Yet, as mangroves move in, other plant species move out, and FDEP is still studying the potential impacts, both positive and negative, of the ongoing ecological shifts. 

Various institutions are working hard to preserve Florida’s native tree and plant species. 

Late last November, Florida International University's (FIU) Everglades environmental efforts were nationally recognized

FIU directs a $40 million water-quality monitoring project - the Florida Coastal Everglades Long Term Ecological Research Program- that is guiding restoration of over 1 million acres of threatened wetlands.  

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Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo is a Miami-based political reporter covering national and local politics

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