There are approximately 48 miles of coral reef adjacent to Miami-Dade county from Broad Creek in the South to the Broward county line near Hallandale Beach in the North. Just over half, about 25 miles, are within the Biscayne National Park boundary with the remaining 23 miles the responsibility of the Miami Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM).
Damage to the reefs comes from many sources, pollution, global warming, agricultural run-off, sewage outfall, increasing ocean acidity and not least boat anchoring. A simple and effective way to reduce the damage caused by boat anchoring is to install permanent mooring buoys on the reefs so that boats may tie up safely without having to use their anchors. In recent years both the National Park authority and DERM have started to install mooring buoy systems.
The Miami Dade Reef Guard Association has been set up to provide funding support for the continued installation and maintenance of mooring buoys by involving the diving, fishing and boating communities in a medallion program. People can show their support by easily purchasing a medallion each year for a small donation of $10. Visit the ReefGuard.org web site in order to find the dive shop carrying the medallions nearest you.
Robin V. Burr, Scuba Examiner
Personal Scuba Instruction
Miami, Florida USA