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Halmos Researcher Aids in Modifying Port of Miami Anchorage

Miami Anchor Sharkbyte

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, in partnership with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and NSU, has modified the Port of Miami Anchorage Area in Miami Beach. Studies led by Halmos College research scientist Brian Walker, Ph.D. and conducted by DEP and NSU showed that anchorage modification was necessary to reduce reef damage to the northern portion of the Florida Reef Tract. This study led to the formation of a working group coordinated by USCG, DEP and NSU, where a group of varied stakeholders, including federal and state agencies, port pilots, Port Miami administration, university scientists and other shipping interests worked together to design the new configuration.

Changes in design and configuration will help protect over 600 acres of coral reef from future impacts by avoiding protected reef areas and reducing the current anchorage area by close to three square nautical miles. The anchorage area will now be divided into two separate areas, including an inner western anchorage for smaller vessels and an outer eastern anchorage for larger vessels, totaling 1.5 square nautical miles.

“This outstanding conservation management achievement is a testament to how local stakeholders can effectively work together to protect Florida’s ecologically and economically important coral reefs,” said Joanna Walczak, Southeast regional administrator for the Florida Coastal Office.