From our beaches, mangroves, seagrasses, and coral reefs to our surfers, divers, fishers and beach lovers, southeast Florida is a delicately balanced inter-connected community equation.

The health of the entire southeast Florida coastal ecosystem is dependent upon the health of its parts. Floridians benefit from healthy and productive coral reefs, and we all need to help ensure that a strong and balanced community ecosystem exists in the future.

The Importance of a Healthy Ecosystem

When the ecosystem equation is balanced, everyone wins. If our coastal habitats are healthy and managed wisely, we can have clean water, lots of big fish, thriving corals, a booming economy, and happy people.

Impacts Felt Throughout the Ecosystem

The entire ecosystem depends on balanced inputs. Many complex biological and physical components work together to maintain a functional ecosystem. If any one of the pieces in the equation becomes unbalanced or unhealthy, we risk severely altering the whole ecosystem. For example, if our water is polluted then the oysters, lobsters, and fish become sick or could die, which directly affects our local seafood supply.

Coral reefs protect our coast, provide a home for our seafood, and sustain our tourism-based economy. With more than six million residents living as part of this complex and delicate ecosystem, illegal activities, such as the unpermitted removal of mangroves (our living shorelines), extensive boat propeller scars over seagrass beds, vessel groundings, and irresponsible fishing practices on the reefs, erodes the quality of the habitat, the greater ecosystem, and ultimately the quality of our lives here in southeast Florida.

What You Can Do

We have a shared responsibility to manage the ecosystem wisely – be a part of balancing the equation.

Recycling as well as reducing the use of water, fertilizer and pesticides, can lessen impacts on our delicate coastal environment. Make sustainable seafood choices and buy seafood that is ethically harvested and not overfished. Practice responsible fishing and clean boating habits

When visiting your local reefs, don’t touch or stand on corals, and anchor in the sand or use mooring buoys where available.

Ecosystems need active stewardship to keep them healthy. Effective management options do exist, and everyone can play a role in the health of Florida’s coral reefs and associated ocean resources. Your voice is needed to help identify actions to ensure a future of healthy coral reefs in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin counties.