South Florida Intercoastal

Advocacy Report June 2022

By: MIASF Staff

Date posted: Jun 28, 2022 Tue

Tallahassee legislative session ended with a big win for the Marine Research Hub. Representative Chip LaMarca sponsored a bill to provide funding to allow MRH to purchase operational equipment, support staff, a multifunctional website, brand recognition and much more of the wish list. With the stroke of his pen to the budget, Governor DeSantis made it a reality. Bills don’t pass in a vacuum and there were many supporters that saw this appropriation to the finish line. Everyone’s efforts are sincerely appreciated.

MIASF participated in a public meeting Congressman Mast hosted in Stuart with Brightline. Brightline is working hard to develop a dialog with the residents who are concerned with the increased length of closures once the Brightline service starts running to Orlando. Mast spoke about the fair share of the waterway with 50/50 split. The bridge currently has a 6 ft clearance, but Brightline has already completed a scoping study to allow plans for a new bridge to move forward with a wider and more aligned opening and 16 ft clearance. The next step is to apply for funding. We will continue to share our support with the Treasure Coast Marine Association as they work their way through the bridge regulation process. Closer to home, a scoping study has been agreed to by Broward County to determine the viability of a tunnel under the New River, November is the target date for the results.

On the local front in Fort Lauderdale, three of the five seats on the commission are being vacated this year. If you are a Fort Lauderdale resident, please become involved in this election. It is important the decision makers appreciate the marine industry’s importance to the community.

For two years, MIASF has participated on a committee of well-known anglers that has been developing recommendations for actions to enhance coral reef conservation and fishing quality within the Kristin Jacobs Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Area (Coral ECA).  The Coral ECA includes all marine waters from the St. Lucie Inlet to the north of Biscayne National Park, out to 3 nm. This project is under the direction of NOAA and Florida Fish and Wildlife and facilitated by the University of Florida. As the project wraps up, the committee will be looking for feedback from the public to help form their final recommendation. The ideas cover water quality, habitat, fisheries, artificial reefs, and more. Please plan to participate in the public meeting when the date is announced in August.