From the Nominator
In August 2020, Biscayne Bay went into respiratory distress. High water temperatures coupled with lots of phosphorus nearly killed the bay. Hundreds of fish and marine life dead. It was an ecosystem’s cry for help.
For decades, Florida International University (FIU) has led research initiatives on water, including the health of Biscayne Bay. One of our university’s two main campuses is located along the bay. Last spring, the university proposed a new initiative for a comprehensive monitoring network for the bay to identify potential problems before they become crises. The researchers have been actively pursuing funding opportunities to advance this effort.
When dead fish started popping up, FIU research teams of students and faculty responded immediately, deploying special autonomous surface vessels and buoys to measure temperature, dissolved oxygen, and chlorophyll to better understand what was happening and what was needed to stop it. They worked with local officials to help re-oxygenate the bay. Their work continues as the bay is continuing to show signs of an ecosystem in trouble. More than just science, their work is focused on communicating with local communities to educate them on the role they play in the health of the bay as well as the need for improved protections at the local and state levels.
Biscayne Bay needed saving. FIU had the expertise and the will to give a lifeline to this tropical lagoon that's ecologically and economically essential to Miami.
From the Judges
We all just loved this entry. They did an incredible amount with a $2,056 budget. We really liked the broad cross section of university staff involved in the project. Very strong on outcomes and media coverage. We really liked their comprehensive approach, their materials and website look. News stories used government and other experts to spread the word and get more advocates for the critical need of the campaign. This one was really outstanding.