The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) approved 76 additional Monroe County canals for Hurricane Irma marine debris removal. The newly approved canals fall under the same Emergency Watershed Protection grant used to clean Hurricane Irma marine debris from 172 previously approved canals.
The Tavernier-based Adventure Environmental, Inc. (AEI) crew is working throughout the Monroe County including the cities of Islamorada and Marathon. Wood is continuing to monitor the work in all canals.
The additional canals fall under the initial $45.8 million Hurricane Irma marine debris removal clearing project budget. As of July 15, $24.5 million has been spent. With the addition of the 76 canals, the County has applied for a no-cost time extension to NRCS to extend the completion date from Aug. 18 to Dec. 31, 2019 to allow time to clear the 76 canals.
“The County is thankful for the continuing efforts of NRCS for their support in canal debris and sediment removal sustained from Hurricane Irma,” said Rhonda Haag, Monroe County Director of Sustainability, who oversees the project. “The debris and sediment removal activities in 258 canals throughout Monroe County is a triumph for the overall Florida Keys environment.”
The NRCS is the entity that approved which canals received the grant funding. The County submitted additional side scan sonar and underwater photographs to NRCS as part of the project applications and may request additional marine debris and sediment removal canals be approved.