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Mangrove removal adds to Miami show controversy

City of Miami workers illegally removed mangroves from 300 feet of shoreline for the relocation of the Miami International Boat Show.

City of Miami workers illegally removed mangroves from 300 feet of shoreline for the relocation of the Miami International Boat Show, giving ammunition to critics of the move to an area they say is too environmentally sensitive for the event.

A Miami-Dade County environmental regulator discovered the removal of the mangroves when checking out a pile of tree debris just west of the Miami Marine Stadium, according to the Miami Herald.

Federal officials estimate that northern Biscayne Bay has lost 82 percent of its mangroves. Cutting a mangrove in Miami-Dade County has required a county permit since 1996.

More than 300 feet of shoreline had been stripped of trees, including red and black mangroves, which provide protection from erosion and shelter for fish and nesting birds. A city manager told environmental regulator that the work was being done to ready the site for the boat show.

A city of Miami project manager said the city had obtained a city tree permit, but those permits only cover upland trees. The county is drafting plans to restore the mangroves and mitigate for the destruction of 2,000 square feet of canopy, said county spokeswoman Tere Florin. It’s not yet clear whether the city will face any fines.

The village of Key Biscayne has been opposed to the show due to traffic and environmental concerns. The show organizer, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, has responded to those concerns. Organizers said they will work with all agencies to meet any requirements during the permitting process.

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