Working to balance economic growth with ecological concerns, Broward County Port Everglades Department staff met with approximately 60 Broward County residents and environmental experts on March 10, to generate ideas about how the South Florida seaport can further its environmental stewardship as its 20-year master plan is developed.

‘Port Everglades has a long history of successful environmental programs to sustain the ecosystem surrounding the seaport. We now need to look at the future as Port Everglades has to grow to support the growing regional economy,’ says Port Director Phillip C. Allen. ‘Since the Port is part of a dynamic urban and residential area, we believe it is essential for the public, our neighbors, to be part of the planning process when it comes to the environment in which we all live and work.’

The Port Everglades Department is in the process of selecting a consulting firm to develop a new 20-year master plan to guide the seaport growth and development. Port Everglades is a leading economic engine in South Florida as all the area’s fuel needs, much of its produce, retail commodities, construction products, and tourism from cruising, are dependent upon the Port.

Participants in the Environmental Workshop attended a presentation about the Port’s past and current environmental programs, and then broke into four groups to discuss their ideas and concerns about the natural habitat, water quality, air quality and using ‘green’ products and recycling. The breakout groups were then asked to share their top priorities with the entire audience of residents, environmental experts and Port staff.

Some of the ideas generated included:

  • Seeking alternative transport modes for passengers and cargo
  • Reducing traffic congestion and emissions
  • Protecting species
  • Further incorporating stakeholders and outreach
  • Changing the Port’s mission to include environmental stewardship
  • Avoiding and minimizing habitat impact, including essential fish habitat
  • Considering the cumulative impacts of port plans and other programs
  • Managing energy efficiently
  • Managing the solid hazardous waste stream
  • Encourage port tenant participation
  • Procuring green and recycled products
  • Becoming more proactive in monitoring ballast water and other discharges
  • Consider the impact of stirring up pathogens and diseases that could result from dredging
  • Enforcement of compliance for the Master Plan, current and future programs
  • Training and reviews

‘We were encouraged by the public’s enthusiasm for this type of workshop,’ Allen said. ‘Many of the ideas generated from the breakout groups are simple and can be implemented immediately.’

All the participants surveyed said they would like to see the Port Everglades Department host more workshops as the master plan is developed and for future expansion projects.