Rachel Silverstein

Miami Waterkeeper
Florida, United States

Rachel Silverstein is a Waterkeeper Warrior.

Florida’s Biscayne Bay is a shallow, tropical lagoon, famous for its crystal-clear waters and diverse marine life. At any given time, you might see a pod of dolphins or manatees brush against lush beds of seagrass. It’s the perfect spot to swim. One of the best sailing bays in the world. And a world-renowned destination for bonefishing.

But it’s more than just a beautiful place.

It’s also home to the only nearshore coral reef in the continental United States. This reef provides a wave buffer during hurricanes… protecting beaches and homes… and ensuring the coastline is shielded from harm.

That’s why Miami Waterkeeper Rachel Silverstein is leading the charge to defend it.

Over 80 percent of this reef has disappeared since the 1970’s. And it just suffered another man-made catastrophe when large amounts of coral were smothered in sediment during the Port of Miami expansion project. This never should have happened, but the plan was flawed from the start…and no one was thinking about the reef.

So Rachel and Miami Waterkeeper stepped in. They went to court to protect this national treasure under the Endangered Species Act. They rescued hundreds of threatened corals, and restored thousands more.

But they are still fighting today. Because the next dredge project to expand the Port of Miami is already being planned.

So Rachel and Miami Waterkeeper will keep fighting… to win for our waterways.

Listen to Rachel’s story:

Photographed by © Rose Marie Cromwell, courtesy of Culture Trip, with story voiced by Marcia Gay Harden

Waterkeeper Magazine

Learn more about Rachel in the two-part 20th Anniversary edition of Waterkeeper Magazine.

Return to the full Waterkeeper Warriors gallery.