AOML's Ocean Chemistry and Ecosystems Division

Biscayne Bay Habitat Blueprint

In 2011, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) launched the NOAA Habitat Blueprint (learn more about the habitat blueprint here), a framework to address the growing challenge of integrating the Agency's coastal and marine habitat conservation activities as part of a long-term effort to rebuild fisheries, recover threatened and endangered species, and support resilient coastal communities nationwide. In 2014, NOAA designated Biscayne Bay and its adjacent reef tract as the Southeast region's Habitat Focus Area (HFA) to apply the principles of the Habitat Blueprint (see the Biscayne Bay HFA factsheet here). The Biscayne Bay HFA is located on the lower southeast coast of Florida, encompassing part of Miami and the Biscayne National Park. The Biscayne Bay area was selected by NOAA as a Habitat Focus Area not only for its exceptional natural assets and its value to the surrounding area, but also because of the threats the area is facing, some of which are magnified by the very proximity to the urban system that it benefits.

The Biscayne Bay HFA developed an organizational structure (click here to see the organizational structure), including an implementation team that was charged with developing a draft HFA implementation plan (download the draft implementation plan here). The draft implementation plan focuses on achieving four habitat goals and their underlying objectives in Biscayne Bay:

Habitat Goals and Objectives
Bay Water Quality Improvements • Conduct comprehensive Bay-wide nutrient and chlorophyll a sampling
• Develop scenario evaluation tool for effect nutrient reductionn strategies
• Educate elected officials and key management staff on water quality issues
Freshwater Inflow Improvements • Improve water management agency operations and protocols to enhance quantity, timing and distribution of freshwater flow to Biscayne Bay
• Develop decision support tools to improve freshwater inflows on nearshore Bay habitat for living marine resources
Species and Habitat Protection • Map habitat distribution and usage by protected and managed fishery species
• Improve mooring buoy plans and install naviagation and informational signage
• Remove marine debris and conduct Living Shoreline Demo project
Public Awareness and Engagement • Create BB-HFA website for information access
• Develop Bay-related school environmental curriculum and Junior Waterkeeper programs
• Organize and manage citizen scientists for water quality monitoring
• Improve public communication and support conservation activities

To aid in education and outreach for the Biscayne Bay HFA, we have developed this website to catalog all science and resource management activities being carried out in Biscayne Bay. Listed below are resource management and habitat science activities in Biscayne Bay. If you are aware of an activity that should be cataloged please click here, so we can add it to the catalog.

Biscayne National Park - The Biscayne Bay National Park protect's one of the most extensive coral reef tracts in the world, the longest stretch of mangrove foreston the east coast, the clear, shallow waters of Biscayne Bay, and the northernmost Florida Keys.

Biscayne Bay 2014 Status Report - This report documents the results from four of the five primary components used to assess the Biscayne Bay. The first component is the Integrated Biscayne Bay Ecological Assessment and Monitoring Project (IBBEAM) which evaluates the condition of salinity, submerged aquatic vegetation, epifauna and mangrove fish communities in the Biscayne Bay coastal wetlands. The second is the status and trends of salinity in Biscayne Bay study outside the area included in the IBBEAM project. The third is Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management's assessment of water quality. The forth is Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management's assessment of submerged aquatic vegetation. The fifth component, the assessment of crocodile status and trends within Biscayne Bay, is included in the Florida Bay section.

Biscayne Bay Regional Restoration and Coordination Team - This team was formed to develop and implement an action plan to integrate and coordinate restoration, enhancement, preservation projects, plans, and activities to help maintain a functioning Biscayne Bay ecosystem.

Biscayne Bay Digital Library - A digital libraray of the Biscayne Bay history and annotated bibliography.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection - Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve - Biscayne Bay is home to two state aquatic preserves. The first, the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve was established in 1974 and runs the length of Biscayne Bay. The second, the Biscayne Bay-Cape Florida to Monroe County Line, was established in 1975. The two preserves are collectively known as the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve and comprise approximately 68771 submerged acres.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary - The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects 2,900 square nautical miles of waters surrounding the Florida Keys, from south of Miami westward to encompass the Dry Tortugas, excluding Dry Tortugas National Park.

South Florida Water Management District - The South Florida Water Management District is a regional governmental agency that manages the water resources in the southern half of the state, covering 16 counties from Orlando to the Florida Keys.

South Florida Regional Council - The South Florida Regional Council is one of Florida's eleven regional planning councils and covers Monroe, Miami-Dade and Broward counties. It was formed in 1969 as the Tri-County Jetport Council to address issues related to the proposed development of the "Everglades Jetport" in Big Cypress.

South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force - The South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force was established in 1996. The Task Force consists of 14 members from four sovereign entities. There are seven federal, two tribal, and five state and local government representatives. The primary focus of the Task Force is the the restoration, preservation, and protection of the South Florida ecosystem.

Miami-Dade County Environmental Resources Management - The Miami-Dade County Environmental Resources Management implements monitoring, education, restoration, regulatory and land management programs to protect Miami-Dade's natural resources.

Miami WaterKeeper - Miami Waterkeeper is a Miami-based non-profit organization that advocates for Biscayne Bay, its watershed, and its wildlife. Their goal is to educate citizens about the vital role of Biscayne Bay in Miami's clean-water economy, and to empower them to take an active role in the community's decision-making. They are a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an internationally recognized, citizen-led alliance working for clean water around the world.

Florida SeaGrant Biscayne Bay Waterwatch - Biscayne Bay Water Watch is a community-based volunteer water quality monitoring program developed and managed by the University of Florida/IFAS Sea Grant Extension Program in Miami-Dade County. The goal of the Biscayne Bay Waterwatch is to garner attention to the health of Biscayne Bay and promote awareness about the importance of water quality on our local environment and economy.

NOAA/Southeast Fisheries Science Center - Dolphin Monitoring - The Southeast Fisheries Science Center is the base for the Southeast United States Marine Mammal Stranding Program and authorizes organizations and volunteers under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to respond to marine mammal strandings throughout the United States.

NOAA/Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory - Coastal Ecosystems Services in South Florida - The focus of the COCA program is to support the development of decision-making networks and innovative transferable tools for characterizing risks posed by a changing climate, and the promotion and dissemination of this knowledge and these tools within NOAA, across the federal government, nationally, and beyond.

NOAA/Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory - South Florida Water Quality Project - The South Florida Water Quality project, and its associated field operations, have enabled scientists and resource managers to keep a watchful eye on the sensitive marine habitats found in the region and integrate data from environmentally and economically important areas, including three national parks (Biscayne, Everglades, and the Dry Tortugas) as well as the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program - The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) is a partnership between the NOAA Line Offices that work on coral reef issues: the National Ocean Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, and the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service. The CRCP brings together expertise from across NOAA for a multidisciplinary approach to managing and understanding coral reef ecosystems.

Everglades Restoration - The Everglades is recognized both nationally and internationally as one of the world's most unique natural and cultural resources. Spanning from the Kissimmee River basin north of Lake Okeechobee all the way south to Florida Bay, the Everglades is the focus of the world's largest intergovernmental watershed restoration effort.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - The mission of the EPA is to protect human health and the environment by implementing environmental laws enacted by Congress by writing regulations and setting national standards.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission - The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commision is authorized by the Florida Constitution to enact rules and regulations regarding the state's fish and wildlife resources.

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services supports and promotes Florida agriculture, protects the environment, safeguards consumers, and ensures the safety and wholesomeness of food.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's mission is to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service's major responsibilities are for migratory birds, endangered species, certain marine mammals, and freshwater and anadromous fish.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is involved in the protection and restoration of the Nation's environment including critical efforts in the Everglades, the Louisiana coast, and along many of our Nation's major waterways. They are also responsible for cleaning sites contaminated with hazardous, toxic or radioactive waste and material in an effort to sustain the environment.