Water Quality Sampling in Biscayne Bay with Miami Waterkeeper

11 AM-2-1-1

D/Y M'Powered
Miami, Florida
January 29 2024


Research Team

  • Aliza Karim
  • Adeline Nagle
  • Laura del Mar Cruz

Project Overview

Miami Waterkeeper’s top priority is ensuring the safety of South Florida’s favorite waterways. By conducting regular water quality testing on land and by boat, MWK provides locals and visitors with information on the current bacteria levels in the surrounding waters. One can access these results, along with the Department of Health's (DOH) Healthy Beaches testing data, using the free Swim Guide App or Website.

Duration of Project

Ongoing; With monthly outings which began in October 2023

Expedition Summary

On January 29th, SeaKeepers took Miami Waterkeeper on a patrol through the Miami River, where we looked for sources of commonly reported pollution. In the Miami River, issues with stormwater run-off from construction sites and industrial complexes are often seen.

The team also responded to a report of some odd fish behavior within the turning basin near downtown Miami. The reporter notified Miami Waterkeeper about some fish that were twirling and swimming in circles. In order to investigate the cause, the team collected bacterial, nutrient and chlorophyll samples. Nutrient data is still pending as of this write-up, but chlorophyll and bacterial concentrations were relatively low - so any active algal bloom was ruled out. Dissolved oxygen in the water was also sufficient so it was not the same conditions as the 2020 fish kill. Miami Waterkeeper is still working with local research partners to understand the strange behavior.


Miami Waterkeeper and Department of Health sampling typically occurs from shore on Monday mornings with the latest test results available on Tuesday afternoon. If a site has high bacteria levels, Miami Waterkeeper will re-run the site’s samples again every day and alert the DOH of the pollution source until the issue is resolved.
The Environmental Protection Agency has set the following standards for water considered safe for swimming, which are used by DOH and Miami Waterkeeper:
0-70 CFU/MPN per 100 mL enterococci per sample: Safe for swimming
70+ CFU/MPN per 100 mL enterococci per sample: Not safe for swimming
SeaKeepers aims to assist Miami Waterkeeper in monthly offshore testing to provide the public with updated information on the health and safety of their treasured waterways.


Biscayne Bay, Florida

Partner Sites