David Beckham's Stadium Spot Already Home to Artificial Coral Reef, Says Marine Biologist

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Coral Morphologic
Less than a week after David Beckham unveiled his ambitious plan for a Major League Soccer stadium atop the FEC boat slip downtown, the location was back in the headlines yesterday. One politician was angry with other politicians for slipping the slip stuff past him, or something.

There is real news about the proposed stadium site, however, and it's that the FEC boat slip isn't the empty bath tub full of "brackish" water that it's been made out to be. Instead, it's home to a thriving artificial coral reef, according to marine biologist Colin Foord.

"The developers are saying that filling this slip is like going from a Chevy to a Cadillac," Foord tells Riptide. "Well, wait a minute. There is a reef here!"

See also: Ten Things You Need to Know About David Beckham's Proposed Bay-Front Soccer Stadium

Last Thursday, Beckham's business partner Marcelo Claure and his real estate adviser John Alschuler laid out the group's plan for a 20,000-seat soccer stadium where the boat slip sits.

Alschuler dismissed concerns over filling the slip as tantamount to complaining that your Chevy had been upgraded to a Cadillac. Miamians wouldn't miss the slip, where the water doesn't circulate into Biscayne Bay and is "brackish" and dirty, he said.

(Indeed, the slip appears so stagnant that even opponents of the stadium plan prefer to focus on possible future uses of the site rather than what's there now.)

But under the surface, the slip is home to some amazing lifeforms, Foord claims. Instead of eating barbecue and attending the Heat game, the spiky-haired marine biologist spent his Memorial Day diving into the turbid water next to American Airlines Arena. Even Foord, South Florida's native coral nerd, was surprised by what he found.

"If you go to the FEC slip right now, it's full of garbage," Foord admits, "but it's not always like that. It's like that now because of the Port [of Miami] dredge."

Foord, half of the experimental science/art group Coral Morphologic, filmed his foray into the FEC slip.

"We've got lobsters, green moray eels, and phosphorescent brain coral down there, right along Biscayne Boulevard," he says in amazement. He says the slip -- and more generally Biscayne Bay -- is a unique ecosystem created by the mix of city sewer water and fresh ocean water pulled in through Government Cut.

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23 comments
realjunglekat
realjunglekat

I wonder how many of the nay sayers have ever put a mask on and snorkel around Biscayne bay, by Fisher Island, Barecut, Cape Fla. Park and even by Brickell.  You would be surprised all the life that thrives on our waters (I have no idea how with all the silt that runs through and rain runoff too).  Its not just barnacles and a few fish, its a complete ecosystem of survivors. 


It surprises me how most people don't realize that Biscayne Bay with its seemingly boring grasses is the Most Important Source of our fisheries.  Our bay is a nursery for lobsters, crabs, snappers and what not.  If our bay keeps on being polluted, dredged and more, we are going to run out of fish to eat, which means we will have to pay $$$$$$$ to eat fish from somewhere else (until that spot is also demolished).  Its not all about money people, we cant eat money.  We must protect our natural environments for us and for your own children and their children.  There is no excuse in today's day and age to be on denial of the immense responsibility we have to take care of what is left.  Otherwise your grandchildren will have to face a Brave New World life.. just like the book predicted. its already happening.

MarcosMacedo
MarcosMacedo

Let`s move on and find another possible place for this soccer stadium. The Museum Park is going to be destroyed. 

Thank you Mr. #DavidBeckham. We, residents of the area, who really are improving and revitalizing the neighborhood, are more than happy with the #MuseumPark that will be open to the public next week. The plan made by you, apparently, had so many flaws that it is already a joke.

48months
48months

It will take 3 to 4 years to get close to getting permits to fill the FEC slip.  No guarantee of approval.  City, County, State, Federal... Then Appeals... In other words, "No way Jose".  

Jhawzlyn Khoręllo
Jhawzlyn Khoręllo

Why can't they train elsewhere? Miami has enough losing teams..... Stop the madness :(

Vince Witty
Vince Witty

Stfu about your high rise first world problems, your entire building was an eye sore for another building while being built but you live in it right now but youll cry about when even more good progress with no tax use starts up to bring even more world class amenties to miami right at your door step but first world problems of seeing a construction zone of a stadium is too much for you?

DrumRollPlease
DrumRollPlease

After getting permits the sheet steel seawall can close off the area.  Pumps can bring the water level down and a marine biologist can take and remove any important sea life.  This slip is a spec of dust.  Slips like this design do nothing but trap muck which stains a boats finish. 

Carl Martin Jr.
Carl Martin Jr.

Yeah and dredging of the port is going to silt and destroy the bay and not mention the wildlife already accumulated in the port and govt cut

rey0
rey0

They are worried about a few fish and corals ?  WOW, they can easily relocate it. How about worrying about humans that get killed in downtown Miami ?

Alexis Gonzalez
Alexis Gonzalez

There are bums taking dumps in the water next to the Julia Tuttle artificial reef. This is a weak argument. The port or Miami/Watson island tunnel didn't destroy any marine life?

Carl Martin Jr.
Carl Martin Jr.

It doesn't matter the stadium is going to be an artificial reef when the ocean rises over Miami

Eugenio A. Alonso
Eugenio A. Alonso

There is no public monies to funnel to my sister's brother in law's company, granny's landscape and catering in Broward, etc, etc. This is the only reason they don't want this. You can't steal private money, unless you tax it. Its prime real estate, something is bound to be built there. Also, the train to Orlando is about to go forward in the corridor behind the Freedom Tower, another reason the government doesn't want the stadium. It plans to build parking there. Another governmental monstrosity that will go nowhere. The owners of condos in the area will have to contend with more traffic and more homeless. I would sell my condo now.

Anya Turayeva
Anya Turayeva

I don't want the stadium to be just in a front of my house. The Museum Park is about to be finished, I don't want my windows face another construction again. I'm pretty sure there must a lot of other places in Miami area where the stadium can be located.

Raul Salas
Raul Salas

We created it. We can relocate the marine life to another artificial reef we create. I don't understand the point of this post. Should we not go forward because a few fish live in that spot. It's a pretty big bay.

James G. Camp
James G. Camp

You know, barnacles form on just about anything left in the water long enough and that doesn't make it an artificial reef.

realjunglekat
realjunglekat

@rey0  man... its not easy to relocate corals and much less fish.  Why must we keep on destroying Biscayne Bay... don't people understand that Biscayne Bay is the MAIN source of fisheries for us?  Even if we don't give a hoot about the beautiful creatures.. I wonder if people would care when dolphin, lobsters, stone crabs, snapper etc are GONE and we have to pay $50 a pound to eat fish...

realjunglekat
realjunglekat

Alexis, the tunnel did destroy marine life.  The company that did the tunnel had to pay a fee to the city to balance the damage. 

marcpink13
marcpink13

The point of a tunnel is to go underground not  underwater you moron.

Exiliado
Exiliado

Oh!

It's ALL about YOU.


What else can we do for YOU, your highness?

realjunglekat
realjunglekat

We should not go forward because its stupid to keep on cementing our waterfront.  What is the point of having a beautiful waterfront location to build a huge wall blocking the view and open enjoyment?  Its bad enough they got away with the AA arena and museum park (which should have been left for a central park for all to enjoy, like real cities do)...

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