MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Morningside Park is just east of Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood.
A fish kill in Biscayne Bay has area residents holding their noses as they wonder what the heck is going on.
The problem, it seems, is that there is little to no oxygen in the water and the fish are dying.
On Friday, several of the dead fish were left steps away from Miami City Hall.
“What’s coming next? Climate hell? Climate catastrophe?” said Nicholas Vazquez, who along with Solange Jativa, put the fish there to get the attention of local leaders.
“We are going to bring the fish to you then so you can see what it looks like” said Jativa who wants something done. “I live on Biscayne Boulevard. I smell this. I see this. I kayak in the water. We swim in the water. We go boating.”
Dr. Todd Crowl, FIU Institute of Environment Director, is helping investigate the problem and describes what’s happening as “a perfect storm”.
“You’ve got high temperature, you’ve got what looks like low wind, the bay is not mixing, and then you have all this water running over land bringing all the contaminants, fertilizers, weed killers. It all hit the bay. All those things happened at once,” he said.
Crowl said the average water temperature this time of year is 82.6 degrees. Right now, it’s approaching 90.
He also pointed out that the usual amout of rainfall in July is around 6 inches. This year, there were ten inches, which means more stormwater drained into the bay.
Data from a new high-tech buoy showed Thursday night, sea life are suffocating.
“Oxygen levels went to zero. So, it’s not surprising all the fish are dead,” said Crowl.
He and his team are now working on a plan to pump oxygen into the bay as a short term solution.
“We’ve been seeing the warning signs for years,” said Dr. Rachel Silverstein, the executive director of advocacy group Miami Waterkeeper.
She said there has to be a long term solution to protecting Biscayne Bay, like permanently fixing sewage leaks and avoiding fertilizer, especially, in the rainy summer months.
“Here we are. Not enough has been done and clearly because we are reaching conditions where the bay is no longer supporting life,” said Silverstein.
The county, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission employees, and FIU are working now to narrow down the exact sources of what’s depriving the bay of oxygen.