Chances are you’ve started seeing work crews in the canals around Monroe County. The start of a huge cleanup has finally gotten underway, excellent news considering the impacts of Hurricane Irma. An article recently published by The Blue Paper outlines the project plans and funding to accomplish this major community project.
In short, the funding has come from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. The USDA has set up a program to help waterways impacted by natural disasters get cleaned up, as this may surprise you, but FEMA funding doesn’t cover waterway clean ups. The USDA Emergency Watershed Protection Program has provided the majority of the funding for the Key canal cleanup, with additional local funds from the Florida Keys Stewardship Act through Monroe County.
For the next couple hundred days, crews will be on barges in the canals removing debris left behind from last year’s hurricane. From cars and RVs to sunken boats and dock remnants, if it’s in the canals, it’s coming out. Once cleaned up the big task is to restore the canals to a healthy habitat, which is vital to life here in the Florida Keys.
Our canals are our bloodline. Island life as such is made better by the use of canals; we’re limited in roads for cars, but with canals transportation by boat is an excellent way to travel around the Keys. The cleanup will help the canals become usable again, but we also need to focus on the habitat of the canals.
A canal restoration project was already underway before Irma came blowing through the Keys. Monroe County began a series of restorations to return the canal waters to healthy and clean levels. With the hurricane compounding the issue, canal restoration has had to adjust a bit to deal with debris clean-up before it continues forward with the Master Plan for canal restoration.
We can all do our part to help restore the canals. One simple but effective way is to follow the Monroe County Best Management Practices for Boat Cleaning. Marinas and anyone catching fish around our waters are encouraged to follow fish waste management practices which leave our waters cleaner when it comes to fish debris. It takes a community to keep our environment thriving.
When it’s all said and done, maintaining clean canals is key to maintaining our Keys lifestyle in a sustainable fashion, which we can achieve together. Life’s good here. If you’re ready to experience Keys living year-round, or it’s time to sell, you can rely on my team and I to help you through the entire process. Please contact me, Jimmy Lane, for all of your real estate needs.