The uplands surrounding Biscayne Bay have changed dramatically in the past century. Natural
tributaries were channelized and additional canals were dug to drain the Everglades, resulting
in pulsed-point sources of freshwater. Two inlets created through barrier islands on Miami Beach
changed the natural circulation patterns in northern Biscayne Bay and there are now compartments or
basins separated by causeways in the northern part of Biscayne Bay. Wetlands were filled and
shorelines bulkheaded so that business and residences could be constructed. Raw sewage emptied into
the bay for a period of time until diverted to a sewage treatment plant in the early 1950s.
Dredging operations that created causeways and spoil islands deepened parts of the bay, resulting
in loss of natural benthic communities and increased the amount of turbidity. Despite this, the bay
has rebounded in many ways and considered highly productive, with both dense and patchy seagrass
communities as well as hardbottom and soft bottom communities.
Coastal construction projects can pose a risk to
water quality and natural communities in Biscayne