• About the Commission
  • Mission Statement
  • Miami River Improvement Act
  • Commission Members

About the Commission

For years, the Miami River was greatly studied, but little understood. Its neighborhoods were neglected, its pollution a continuing problem, and public awareness was generally either non-existent or negative. Two grand jury reports in 1991 and 1998 issued scathing reports on the river’s neglect, and urged dredging and a comprehensive approach to improve the river. A 1997-98 study commissioned by the Florida Legislature and chaired by Robert L. Parks issued a blunt “call to action” urging the community to forge the political will to save the river.

In early 1998, the Florida Legislature answered the study’s call and created the Miami River Commission to improve the 5.5-mile Miami River and its surroundings, including the 69-square-mile water basin that includes much of the City of Miami and a portion of Miami-Dade County.
The law - sponsored by current Miami-Dade County Commissioner and MRC Board member Bruno Barreiro - created an 18-member board of Miami River stakeholders, including elected officials, neighborhood representatives, marine industrial business owners, environmentalists and members-at-large.

Today, two legislative acts govern the commission:

• The 1998 act (F.S. Chapter 163.06) established the commission as “the official coordinating clearinghouse for all public policy and projects related to the Miami River.” The act charges the commission with uniting government agencies, businesses and residents to “speak with one voice” on river issues.
• The 2000 Miami River Improvement Act (Chapter F.S.163.065) authorized the commission, Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami to develop a comprehensive plan for the river with “a range of varied components essential to a health urban environment, including cultural, recreational, economic and transportation components.”

Since its inception, the full commission and executive committee have held public meetings every month, as have subcommittees dedicated to dredging, greenways, stormwater, public safety and economic development. You can read their minutes and reports at the commission’s website, www.miamirivercommission.org

Under a joint planning agreement, the city, county and MRC conducted a two-year planning process and hosted 42 public hearings to create the award-winning Miami River Corridor Urban Infill Plan in 2002.  The private sector has used this blueprint in planning more than 8,000 mixed-income residential units along the Miami River’s multicultural corridor. Most of these are near downtown, creating a 24-hour neighborhood.
Only two years after the commission adopted the plan, more than half of its “implementation steps” have been brought to fruition, including dredging of the river; development of sections of the Miami River Greenway - in partnership with the Trust for Public Land - decontamination vessel services, storm water system retrofits, redevelopment, creation of six new waterfront parks, increased tree canopy, removal of derelict vessels, environmental education programs, volunteer clean-ups, extending the hours of Metromover stations near the river, and expansion of the Enterprise Zone economic incentives.

The MRC’s immediate priorities remain implementing its strategic plan. Once formed, the commission immediately went to work to create, maintain and harness the political will to improve the river, and coordinate efforts among the more than 30 local, state and federal agencies that share responsibility for the river and its surroundings. In 2008, the Miami River Commission celebrated its 10th anniversary with the completion of its signature Miami River Maintenance and Environmental Clean-Up Project. This long-awaited community-wide initiative, which was completed in October 2008, has significantly improved trade, jobs, business and the natural environment. The effort took 36 years of vision, more than 10 years of hard work, $89 million in local, state and federal funding, and the dedication, patience and creativity of hundreds of citizens, elected officials and stakeholders along the Miami River. The MRC is grateful for the project’s appropriations from Congress under the leadership of the Miami-Dade Congressional Delegation; the State of Florida, under the leadership of the Miami-Dade Legislative Delegation; the Honorable Governor Charlie Crist; the South Florida Water Management District; the Florida Inland Navigation District; the Honorable Mayor Carlos Alvarez Miami-Dade County and the Board of County Commissioners; the Honorable Mayor Manny Diaz and the Miami City Commission.

Our Current Goals:

  • Finishing the Miami River Greenway
  • Dredging Seybold Canal and Wagner Creek, which are contaminated with dioxins and other pollutants
  • Seeking non-guaranteed reimbursements from the federal government for the $21 million advanced in 2007-2008 by the Florida Legislature ($15 million); the South Florida Water Management District ($3 million) and the Florida Inland Navigation District ($3 million).
ABOUT THE LAWS CREATING THE COMMISSION
 Mission Statement

SECTION 5

1. (a) The Miami River Commission is hereby established as the official coordinating clearinghouse for all public policy and projects related to the Miami River to unite all governmental agencies, businesses, and residents in the area to speak with one voice on river issues; to develop coordinated plans, priorities, programs, projects, and budgets that might substantially improve the river area; and to act as the principal advocate and watchdog to ensure that river projects are funded and implemented in a proper and timely manner.
(b) The commission may seek and receive funding to further its coordinating functions regarding river improvement projects of the commission. Nothing in this act affects or supersedes the regulatory authority of any governmental agency or any local government, and any responsibilities of any governmental entity relating to the Miami River shall remain with such respective governmental entity. However, the commission may accept any specifically defined coordinating authority or functions delegated to the commission by any governmental entity, through a memorandum of understanding or other legal instrument. The commission shall use powers of persuasion to achieve its objectives through the process of building a consensus work plan and through widespread publication of regular progress reports.

2. The Miami River Commission shall consist of:
(a) A policy committee comprised of the Governor, the chair of the Dade delegation, the chair of the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District, the Miami-Dade County State Attorney, the Mayor of Miami, the Mayor of Miami-Dade County, a commissioner of the City of Miami Commission, a commissioner of the Miami-Dade County Commission, the chair of the Miami River Marine Group, the chair of the Marine Council, the Executive Director of the Downtown Development Authority, and the chair of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce; two neighborhood representatives, selected from the Spring Garden Neighborhood Association, the Grove Park Neighborhood Association, and the Miami River Neighborhood Enhancement Corporation, one neighborhood representative to be appointed by the city commission and one neighborhood representative to be appointed by the county commission, each selected from a list of three names submitted by each such organization; one representative from an environmental or civic association, appointed by the Governor; and three members-at-large, who shall be persons who have a demonstrated history of involvement on the Miami River through business, residence, or volunteer activity, one appointed by the Governor, one appointed by the city commission, and one appointed by the county commission. All members shall be voting members. The committee shall also include a member of the United States Congressional delegation and the Captain of the Port of Miami as a representative of the United States Coast Guard, as nonvoting, ex officio members. The policy committee may meet monthly, but shall meet at least quarterly.
(b) A managing director who has the responsibility to implement plans and programs.
(c) A working group consisting of all governmental agencies that have jurisdiction in the Miami River area, as well as representatives from business and civic associations.

3. The policy committee shall have the following powers and duties:
(a) Consolidate existing plans, programs, and proposals into a coordinated strategic plan for improvement of the Miami River and surrounding areas, addressing environmental, economic, social, recreational, and aesthetic issues. The committee shall monitor the progress on each element of such plan and shall revise the plan regularly.

(b) Prepare an integrated financial plan using the different jurisdictional agencies available for projected financial resources. The committee shall monitor the progress on each element of such plan and revise the plan regularly.
(c)
Provide technical assistance and political support as needed to help implement each element of the strategic and financial plans.
(d) Accept any specifically defined coordinating authority or function delegated to the committee by any level of government through a memorandum of understanding or other legal instrument
(e) Publicize a semiannual report describing accomplishments of the commission and each member agency, as well as the status of each pending task. The committee shall distribute the report to the city and county commissions and mayors, the Governor, chair of the Dade County delegation, stakeholders, and the local media.
(f) Seek grants from public and private sources and receive grant funds to provide for the enhancement of its coordinating functions and activities and administer contracts that achieve these goals.
(g) Coordinate a joint planning area agreement between the Department of Community Affairs, the city, and the county under the provisions of s. 163.3177(11)(a), (b), and (c).
(h) Provide a forum for exchange of information and facilitate the resolution of conflicts.
(i) Act as a clearinghouse for public information and conduct public education programs.
(j) Establish the Miami River working group, appoint members to the group, and organize subcommittees, delegate tasks, and seek council from members of the working group as necessary to carry out the powers and duties listed in this subsection.
(k) Elect officers and adopt rules of procedure as necessary to carry out the powers and duties listed above and solicit appointing authorities to name replacements for policy committee members who do not participate on a regular basis. Hire the managing director, who shall be authorized to represent the commission and to implement all policies, plans, and programs of the commission. The committee shall employ any additional staff necessary to assist the managing director.

Section 6
(1) No item, motion, directive, or policy position that would impact or in anyway diminish levels of currently permitted commercial activity on the Miami River or riverfront properties shall be adopted by the Miami River Commission unless p-assed by a unanimous vote of the appointed members of the commission then in office.
(2) No item, motion, directive, or policy position suggesting, proposing, or otherwise promoting additional taxes, fees, charges, or any other financial obligation on owners of riverfront property or shipping companies or operators shall be adopted by the Miami River Commission unless passed by a unanimous vote of all appointed members of the commission then in office.

Section 7
The Miami River Commission shall terminate July 1, 2003, unless the Legislature, in a review of the creation, operation, and accomplishments of the Miami River Commission during the 2003 regular Session, determines that the commission should be continued and reenacts provisions providing for its continuation.

Section 8
This act shall take effect upon becoming law.
Approved by the Governor June 10, 1998
Filed in Office Secretary of State June 10, 1998

 
ABOUT THE LAWS CREATING THE COMMISSION
 Miami River Improvement act
(1) SHORT TITLE - This section may be cited as the “Miami River Improvement Act”

(2) FINDINGS: PURPOSE:
a. The Miami River Commission was created by Chapter 98.402, Laws of Florida, to be the official coordinating clearinghouse for all public policy and projects related to the Miami River.

b. The United States Congress has provided funding for an initial federal share of 80 percent for the environmental and navigational improvements to the Miami River. The governments of the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County are coordinating with the Legislature and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to determine how the 20 percent local share will be provided.

c. Successful revitalizing and sustaining the urban redevelopment of the areas adjacent to the Miami River is dependent on addressing, through an integrated and coordinated intergovernmental plan, a range of varied components essential to a healthy urban environment, including cultural, recreational, economic, and transportation components.

The purpose of this section is to ensure a coordinated federal, state, regional, and local effort to improve the Miami River and adjacent areas.

(3) AGENCY ASSISTANCE - All state and regional agencies shall provide all available assistance to the Miami River Commission in the conduct of its activities.

(4) PLAN - The Miami River Commission, working with the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County, shall consider the merits of the following:

b. Development of a greenway/riverwalk and blueway, where appropriate, as authorized in s.260.101, to provide an attractive and safe connector system of bicycle, pedestrian, and transit routes and water taxis to link jobs, waterfront amenities, and people, and contribute to the comprehensive revitalization of the Miami River.

Section 27. Except as otherwise provided in this act, this act shall take effect upon becoming law.

Approved by the Governor June 2, 2000
Filed in office of Secretary of State June 2, 2000

ABOUT THE COMMISSION
 Our Members
Florida Gov. RICK SCOTT
Designee: Ms. Patricia "Patty" Harris
Chair: HORACIO STUART AGUIRRE
Chair: Miami River Commission
JAY CARMICHAEL, Esq.
Vice Chair: Miami River Commission
Member at Large Appointed by the Governor
Mayor TOMAS REGALADO
Mayor of the City of Miami

Rep. JOSE FELIX DIAZ
Chair, Miami-Dade Delegation
Designee: Rep. David Richardson

Commissioner FRANK CAROLLO
City of Miami
Commissioner
Mayor CARLOS A. GIMENEZ
Miami-Dade County Mayor
Designee: Mr. Frank Balzebre
Ms. ALYCE ROBERTSON
Executive Director, Downtown Development Authority
Designee:
Mr. Eric Riel
Commissioner BRUNO BARREIRO
Miami-Dade County Commissioner
Designee:
Ms. Marlene Avalo
Mr. BARRY JOHNSON
Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
Designee: Ms. Sandy O'Neil
KATHERINE FERNANDEZ RUNDLE, Esq.
Miami-Dade State Attorney
Designee:
Mr. Gary Winston, Esq.
Mr. ED SWAKON
Chair of Marine Council
Designee: Phil Everingham
Mr. DANIEL O'KEEFE
South Florida Water Management
Designee:

Ms. SALLYE JUDE
Neighborhood representative appointed by the
Miami-Dade County Commission

Mr. BRUCE BROWN
Chair, Miami River Marine Group
Designee: Mr. Richard Dubin

Ms. SARA C. BABUN
Member at Large Appointed by the Miami-Dade County Commission
Designee: Mr. Duber Lazardo

Dr. ERNEST MARTIN
Neighborhood representative appointed by the City of Miami Commission
Designee: Mr. Thomas Kimen III
Mr. MANNY PRIEGUEZ
Member at Large
appointed by the City of Miami Commission
Managing Director MR. BRETT BIBEAU
Ex-Officio Members:
Congresswoman ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN
Designee:
Ms. Debbie Zimmerman
Capt. Austin J. Gould, USCG, Captain of the Port of Miami

MRC Committee Chairs

 

Eric Buermann
Former Chair
South Florida Water Management District Governing Board

Robert Parks
Former Chair
South Florida Water Management
District Governing Board

Irela Bague
Former Chair
South Florida Water Management
District Governing Board

Horacio Stuart Aguirre
Current Chair


C/O Robert King High1407 NW 7 Street, Suite D, Miami, FL 33125305-644-0544Fax: 305-642-1136Contact us email