Miami-Dade County is internationally recognized for its beaches and pristine waters. Beyond the beaches are ecosystems that are unique, diverse and directly linked to water management. So valuable are these critical resources that two national parks, a National Marine Sanctuary, State of Florida aquatic preserves and water conservation areas have been created. Underlying all of South Florida is the Biscayne Aquifer, a shallow, porous limestone formation that has historically provided all urban and agriculture supply of fresh water.
Vulnerable natural resources have been altered throughout the years. Progressive environmental programs seek to protect, restore, and minimize harm to these resources, but major paradigm shifts are upon us, and we must continue to act.
• Maintain exceptional quality of air, drinking water, and coastal waters used for recreation
Continue to achieve the best air quality rating at least 90 percent of the year and exceed drinking water quality standards. Prevent degradation of our Outstanding Florida Waters
• Protect and enhance Biscayne Bay, the Everglades, and vital ecosystems
Restore and enhance more than 500 acres of coastal habits and wetlands, and preserve more than 24,000 acres of environmentally endangered lands
• Reinvent our solid waste system
Reduce or divert 75 percent of our solid waste by 2020 through reusing, recycling, and generating electricity
"Practically without exception, areas that have been turned over to the Service as national parks have been of superlative value with existing features so outstanding that if the Service were able to merely retain the status quo, the job was a success. This will not be true of the Everglades National Park. The reasons for even considering the lower tip of Florida as a national park are 90 percent biological ones, and hence highly perishable. Primitive conditions have been changed by the hand of man, abundant wildlife resources exploited, woodland and prairie burned and reburned, water levels altered, and all the attendant, less obvious biological conditions disturbed."