Looking back at stories that made a difference in 2022

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Florida. – The final Don’t Trash Our Treasure of 2022 takes a look back at the stories that made the biggest impact over the past year.

Local 10 News’ ongoing mission with this franchise is to educate and engage more of South Florida, care about our local environment and make a difference.


The year 2021 was the deadliest on record for Florida’s manatee population. More than 1,100 died, most starving to death from the massive loss of their only food source: seaweed.

Thousands of hectares of seagrass have been lost to human pollution.

“It’s heartbreaking that these animals are starving because there’s simply no food,” said Tom Reinert, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission regional director and manatee expert.

In February, Local 10 News was the first to document an FWC emergency feeding station being set up at an inlet channel at the Florida Power & Light facility at the Indian River Lagoon, where about 2,500 manatees congregate each winter in search of warmer water.

“Some animals came in and started eating, and we think the crunch of lettuce attracted the others,” Reinart said.

The hungry manatees were fed 2500 pounds. salad per day.

Although the number of recorded deaths is lower this year, with 783 dead so far, those watching over the gentle creatures say the crisis is far from over.

number 4

With more than 100,000,000 sharks killed worldwide each year, President Biden last week signed into law the monumental Shark Fin Elimination Act, banning the commercial trade in shark fins in the United States. This follows enhanced protections for 54 shark species just passed by world governments in November.

But here in South Florida, there is controversy.

“The state of shark populations around the world is definitely something to worry about,” said Florida International University shark researcher Diego Cardenosa.

It’s about a shark fishing tournament that took place off the coast of Palm Beach in July that ended with 11 bull sharks killed.

Local anglers claim that the shark population has been booming in recent years, with more and more sharks stealing their catch.

“They lose 50 percent of what we hooked on sharks,” tournament organizer Robert Navarro said.

Scientists dispute this claim, believing that instead of sharks in the water, there are more boats. Florida now has a record of over 1,000,000 registered vessels, so more shark interactions are bound to happen.

“I wouldn’t call this a shark boom,” said FIU marine biologist Yannis Papastamatiou. “Keep in mind that these were populations that were historically overexploited.”


From a ruthless charter boat crew popping balloons into the waters of Coconut Grove Marina’s bay, to a man tossing a beer bottle straight into Biscayne Bay on a wave runner, and more recently a group of trash beetles , who were seen wreaking havoc on a tiny island in Biscayne National Park, all caught on camera.

The videos shared with Local 10 News went viral and sparked outrage, but perhaps more importantly, sparked action by law enforcement agencies to prosecute all polluters and hold them accountable with arrests and fines.

The message was loud and clear: environmental crimes will not be tolerated.

“Because of the awareness that Channel 10 has brought to this matter, we are receiving tips,” said former interim Miami-Dade Police Gov. Joerg Perez. “This is just further proof that our community trusts their police force… and we took immediate action.”

No. 2

Just two years after an unprecedented fish kill in the summer of 2020, when Biscayne Bay lost over 27,000 marine species, it happened again in late October.

Although not as devastating as 2020, more than £4,000 after a week. of dead fish were removed from the northern basin of Biscayne Bay.

“It’s pollution from septic tanks, stormwater runoff, sewage leaks and fertilizers,” said Dr. Rachel Silverstein, executive director of Miami Waterkeeper. “But why the fish kill is happening on that particular day in that particular week we don’t understand yet, that trigger.”

number 1

In November, Miami-Dade commissioners approved a plan by developers to expand the urban development boundary and convert farmland in south Miami-Dade into a new warehouse and commercial complex near Homestead.

“That’s the problem with this project, it’s in the wrong, wrong place at the wrong time,” said Hold the Line Colaition’s Laura Reynolds. “It will never be the right project for this area.”

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava attempted to veto the measure, but by an overwhelming majority, the commissioners were able to override that veto and proceed with plans to relocate the UDB.

But not so fast.

Longtime Miami-Dade resident Dr. Nita Lewis, has filed a legal challenge asking the state for a formal hearing to review the commission’s decision.

The Hold the Line Coalition supports the challenge.

“We can’t let that stand,” Reynolds said. “And I think we must wholeheartedly reject that.”

The fate of the restoration of Biscayne Bay, the Florida Everglades and southern Miami-Dade agriculture is at stake.

Copyright 2022 by WPLG Local10.com – All rights reserved.

https://www.local10.com/news/local/2022/12/29/dont-trash-our-treasure-reviewing-stories-that-made-a-difference-in-2022/ Looking back at stories that made a difference in 2022

Sarah Y. Kim

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