SEPTEMBER 18, 2018 UPDATE:
SIXTEEN ADDITIONAL ISLAMORADA CANALS APPROVED FOR CLEANUP THROUGH
THE USDA NATIONAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION GRANT
An additional 41 canals in Monroe County were recently approved for cleanup under a second phase of the Hurricane Irma canal cleanup project, bringing the total to 144 canals Keys-wide to be cleaned of debris. Of the 41 additional canals, 16 are in Islamorada, with nine on Plantation Key, one on Upper Matecumbe Key, and six on Lower Matecumbe Key. With the additional 16 canals, a total of 20 canals in Islamorada will be cleaned of hurricane debris.
Through week four of the project, five Islamorada canal cleanups had been completed. Three of these were located on Lower Matecumbe and two on Plantation Key. A total of 432 cubic yards of debris had been removed from these five canals during the first month of work. The debris included construction and demolition waste along with vegetative material.
AUGUST 24, 2018 RELEASE:
CANAL DEBRIS CLEANUP PROJECT IS UNDERWAY
WITH USDA NATIONAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICES GRANT
A nearly $50 million canal debris cleanup project following Hurricane Irma last September has begun in the Florida Keys. Cleanup crews staged in five different areas throughout the Keys are under a 220-day contract to clean up hurricane-related marine debris simultaneously in these
different locations throughout the island chain. The first phase of the project started on August 16th and will target 103 of the most heavily impacted canals in the Keys. It includes a crew of 60 people working on the water, including dive teams, 15 barges and five sonar boats.
Of the 103 canals, eight are in the Upper Keys, 23 in the Middle Keys and 72 in the hardest hit Lower Keys. Cleanup was completed in under a week in the first of Islamorada’s canals on Lower Matecumbe Key adjacent to Iroquois Drive and Sunset Drive from which 95 cubic yards of debris was removed. Four Islamorada canals were initially selected for cleanup; however, the Village has applied to have an additional 29 canals cleaned under this same project.
This work is being completed through grant money obtained by Monroe County from the Emergency Watershed Protection Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. A total of $49.2 million is available under this grant. Florida Keys officials initially struggled to acquire funding from the federal government for the clean-up efforts. Islamorada worked with Monroe County during the process to secure alternative grant funding and greatly appreciates all the time, efforts and coordination by county staff and the support from local and elected officials that resulted in the award of this grant.
Rowell’s Waterfront Park in Key Largo is being used as the staging area for debris in the upper keys before it is trucked to landfills on the mainland. Monroe County has contracted with locally based Adventure Environmental, Inc. to conduct the cleanup. The work is being overseen by WOOD Environment and Infrastructure Solutions, Inc.
All photos are of the Sunset Drive/Iroquois Drive canal cleanup provided by Peter Frezza.
For more information about the hurricane debris cleanup from canals in Islamorada, please contact Environmental Resources Manager Pete Frezza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 305-664-6427.
Additional information about the county-wide efforts is available at https://www.monroecounty-fl.gov/772/Hurricane-Marine-Debris-Cleanup.