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News Releases from Region 04

EPA Recognizes Three Organizations in Florida for Receiving $583,890 in Funding for Projects in the Biscayne Bay Area

02/14/2020
Contact Information: 
Dawn Harris-Young (region4press@epa.gov)
(404) 562-8421 (Direct), (404) 562-8400 (Main)

MIAMI (February 14, 2020) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized three organizations in Florida as recipients of South Florida Geographic Initiative (SFGI) Program grants. The grants are for projects that support protection and restoration of water quality, corals and seagrass in South Florida. 

“EPA is proud to support projects that will help address environmental needs and challenges in South Florida waters,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “EPA is proud to fund local projects will restoring habitats and foster environmental awareness.”

“We know that our beautiful Biscayne Bay is at a tipping point — but we know it’s not too late. For over two decades, FIU scientists have worked to preserve this critical ecosystem through extensive research and educational programs,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. “The EPA shares our sense of urgency on this issue and we look forward to continuing to work together to ensure a better future for our bay.”

Jason Andreotta, District Director of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Southeast District, said, “The EPA’s South Florida Geographic Initiative (SFGI) Program grants will not only serve as a crucial tool in DEP’s efforts towards enhancing water quality and seagrass monitoring in the Biscayne Bay, but also highlights the importance of multi-agency collaboration when working to preserve and protect Florida’s natural resources. The Biscayne Bay is one of Florida’s most important aquatic preserves and today’s announcement is a testament to the strong partnerships that have been forged between state, local and federal partners.”

"Miami Waterkeeper is thrilled to partner with the EPA on these important clean water programs through the South Florida Geographic Initiative grant program. Biscayne Bay is an ecological, aesthetic, and economic jewel in Miami's backyard,” said Miami Waterkeeper Executive Director Rachel Silverstein. “Working with the other local partners and the EPA to reduce pollution and to improve water quality will benefit our whole community.  We thank the EPA for recognizing the value of a focused initiative for this key region and its specific challenges." 

The SFGI grants include:

  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Miami, Fla. - $275,000 will be used to enhance water quality and seagrass monitoring in North Biscayne Bay to include sampling from sourcing events along the border of the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves from canals directly linked to Lake Okeechobee.
  • Florida International University, Miami, Fla. - $196,890 will be used to address phosphorous enrichment and chlorophyll increases since 2013, resulting in decreasing seagrass beds in North Biscayne Bay. FIU will implement a water quality model optimized for Biscayne Bay.  The model will provide high-resolution detection of pollutants impacting seagrass and water quality in Biscayne Bay. 
  • Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper, Miami, Fla. - $112,000 will be used to address Biscayne Bay water quality through developing a strategic outreach campaign on best management practices related to fertilizer application and land-based sources of pollution; train students under the Miami Waterkeeper Junior Ambassador Program; provide beach clean ups and restoration activities; and educate elected officials regarding water quality issues impacting Biscayne Bay during a day at the Bay event

SFGI grants are used to fund South Florida Program projects for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Water Quality Protection Program, Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative, Caloosahatchee Estuary, Indian River Lagoon, Florida Bay and Biscayne Bay. The South Florida marine environment features world-class beaches, fishing and diving; highly-productive estuaries, extensive seagrass meadows, deep-water ports and the only coral barrier reef in the continental United States. These valuable natural resources provide for recreational and commercial fisheries, the multi-billion-dollar tourism economy, major shipping ports, and the millions of people residing along the coast.

For more information on the SFGI RFA and directions to apply for a grant, visit https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/home.html