Bird Key is being threatened with the establishment of Arkhaus, a new floating social club raised on four platforms with two story decks surrounding an interior pool. This floating club has applied for a lease to be located next to Bird Key. The island has sustained various anthropogenic activities, such as jet skis and boat landings, that have negatively impacted the area. This includes disturbing wildlife, uprooting seagrasses, and reducing the aesthetic value of Biscayne Bay. Specifically, it is suspected that the bird rookeries (a collection of nests) have moved from Bird Key to Mangrove Island off of Morningside Park, now proposed for increased protections (see next Advocacy item below). This calls for further protection and conservation of Bird Key, not the establishment of yet another disturbance for local wildlife. The development of Arkhaus only provides more threats to the Bird Key area and 1) is not consistent with the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve’s management plan 2) does not encourage activities that conserve or enhance the biological and aesthetic values of the Bay, and 3) is necessary to conduct water dependent activities with no reasonable alternative outside of the preserved.
Read the Biscayne Times Article here. There is no action at this time, but stay tuned for further developments.
More recently, Frigate birds and Brown Pelicans have been observed roosting in Mangrove Island (see photo below). Although there is education signage posted around the area informing users of the present bird rookeries, the area is still heavily used causing disruption to the nesting birds. These observations call on essential research to establish a critical wildlife area (CWA) around each of the islands, designate a “non-motorized vessel” zone and an “idle speed no wake” zone around the rookery and on the Intercoastal Waterway Channel next to the islands. Additionally, we call for increased patrol of the areas to enforce these designations. The resolution that was passed last week to protect the birds of Mangrove island was stripped of important language at the last minute. Many of the boating restrictions put forth were not implemented, which means our fight to protect the bird rookies continues. To read more, view the story here and read the most up to date story here. You can take action here.