[Coral-List] Coral City Camera under threat of development for Disney Cruise Line, public comments wanted

Coral Morphologic coralmorphologic at gmail.com
Fri Sep 25 17:49:04 UTC 2020

Dear Coral Listers,

It has just recently come to our attention that PortMiami quietly submitted
an application for Berth 10 this summer, which is earmarked for Disney
Cruise Line. Miami-Dade County approved a $335 million bond for Port
improvement projects in July and they seem gung-ho with development despite
the obvious uncertainties of the cruise industry post-COVID19. Despite the
30 day public comment period now past, the Army Corps is graciously
allowing public comments since a determination hasn't been made over
whether to issue it. You can read/hear more about this story from the local
NPR station:

Besides the social/educational benefits that the CCC has provided people
from across the globe during the pandemic this past year, it is also
serving in an important scientific capacity. Researchers at NOAA are using
the Camera as a scientific instrument to observe changes in fish abundance
and activity over the course of the year, as well as studying fragments of
corals that are native to the urban shorelines nearby compared with corals
used for restoration brought in from offshore nurseries. Preliminarily we
noted that all five genotypes of Acropora cervicornis from offshore
bleached and perished in the last weeks of summer, while the two genotypes
of urban Acropora prolifera didn't bleach and have been continuing to grow
well (and fast!). 27 genotypes of Pseudodiploria strigosa on the nursery
sourced from mother colonies along Miami's urban shorelines have all
survived with minimal stress from what has been the hottest year on record
here. There were multiple days this summer where water temps exceeded 92F
at the nearby NOAA weather station at Bear Cut on Virginia Key. These
'urban corals' that have self-recruited to the industrialized shorelines at
PortMiami may provide insight as to how corals globally may be capable of
adapting and evolving to anthropogenic conditions. I believe that they have
a lot of secrets of survival to share with us. I suspect that the riprap
shoreline along the northeast side of PortMiami on Dodge Island harbors the
highest biodiversity anywhere in North Biscayne Bay. To date we have seen
at least 125 species of fish, a menagerie of reef invertebrates, and a
multitude of manatees on a near-daily basis (5 so far today). Additionally,
federally-protected Orbicella spp. corals have naturally recruited to the
riprap boulders all along this shoreline. A private firm that conducted a
biological diversity survey of the entire length of shoreline that is
slated to be developed only noted two colonies, with a formal estimate of 5
colonies to be expected over the area. This is likely an undercount, as
there are two colonies visible within 6' radius of the CCC alone.
Furthermore, their plan for relocating corals plans is to move them to an
artificial mitigation reef site offshore in 30' of water, which in my
opinion is not an ideal or equivalent habitat for corals that are naturally
adapted to life in the subtidal zone less than 10' deep.

If you have found benefit from the Coral City Camera (
www.coralcitycamera.com), or oppose the development of more cruise ship
berths during a pandemic, please consider writing a letter of comment to

Army Corps senior project manager Megan Clouser
Megan.L.Clouser at usace.army.mil
Zach (William) Boudreau at the Florida Department of Environmental
Protection: William.Boudreau at FloridaDEP.gov

Thank you!
Colin Foord
Coral Morphologic <http://www.coralmorphologic.com>
Coral City Camera <http://www.coralcitycamera.com>

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