Dead Wood Sunrise

Biscayne National Park got 45 acres larger overnight last week. In lieu of a complicated science fiction plot, all that was needed to increase the size of the park in an instant was a simple yes vote from the Miami-Dade County Commission. Which it got.

At the same meeting where South Florida's National Parks were recognized for their years of operation, the board unanimously approved the transfer of the county land to the Parks Service in the hopes that it will help control the salinity in the park's waters.

The 45 acre plot is just north of Black Point Marina along the Biscayne Bay. According to the County's Property Appraiser's office, the land has a market value of $679,755 and it temporarily wasn't zoned for any specific use.

The vacant land was already being used as part of the larger Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, and it was utilized as part of the Biscayne Bay Wetland Phase I in the easement of water flow.

According to the resolution read before the board, the county was not using the property now did not foreseeable any use for it.

"Approving this item is a fitting way to celebrate the centennial of our National Parks System, which turns 100 on August 25, 2016," said Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava in a statement. "We are ensuring that Biscayne National Park is preserved for future generations."

In the same release, Levine Cava's Office states that the Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands is important to South Florida's ability to adapt to sea level rise "by protecting our aquifer from salt water intrusion."

Many in the environmental movement blame Florida Power and Light's Turkey Point Plant, which is directly next to Biscayne National Park, for the above average saline level. Many have laid the blame for the salty plume on the utility's cooling canals. Recently the company was mandated by the state to find a solution within the next 10 years.

Last month when the utility asked for an increase in rates, collectively over a billion dollars, many community leaders opposed the raise. Levine Cava was one of those in opposition. While her stance did not blame FPL like many who stood around her, she did call for an increase in renewable energy technology.

At the meeting Levine Cava reminded the residents of Miami-Dade how lucky they were to live near a variety of national parks, saying "we are unique."

She recognized the City of Homestead for embracing the parks and becoming a "gateway" to the parks, as well as Councilman Stephen Shelley for thinking up creative ways to market the connection. For instance the photography exhibit at Miami International Airport.

The commissioner reminded the residents that the National Parks belonged to everyone and "not by a king or government, but the people of the United States of America."

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