Having a baseline level of presence and distribution of habitats, composition and abundance of
species that depend on those habitats (including salinity and temperature ranges), and updated
maps to graphically represent these parameters and how they change over time are all essential
tools needed to effectively manage BBAP. Addressing issues such as marine debris is important in
assessing the overall health of Biscayne Bay. Marine debris presents a real and chronic threat to
wildlife and public safety. Entanglement, ingestion and toxins are issues related to debris of
various materials. The presence of debris detracts from the aesthetic value of natural landscapes.
Marine debris can include paper and plastic products, construction debris, derelict vessels and
derelict fisheries gear.
The Little River, fouled by marine debris.
Sea level rise and climate change are also major issues affecting the
health of the bay's resources. New research suggests that while at large the ocean floor covered
by aquatic vegetation is less than half of one percent, these communities sequester up to 70 percent
of the earth's carbon dioxide emissions and keep CO2 sequestered for hundreds or thousands of
years, beyond the scale of rainforest trees which is merely decades. Beyond that, these communities
- such as seagrasses, mangroves, and macroalgal communities - are being lost at a rate faster than