Monroe County officials expect to receive $34 million from the federal government to clean up 103 canals throughout the Florida Keys that remain filled with debris seven months after Hurricane Irma.
The money would come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Though not complete as of Thursday, county officials have cleared the first hurdle.
"We are awaiting final approval," said Rhonda Haag, the county's director of sustainability and projects.
After Irma, Monroe County was left with 513 canals in need of cleanup. The total cost for the cleaning is estimated at $52.6 million.
Hurricane winds sent motor homes and roofs of houses into some of the canals.
So far, the Keys has received a $10 million loan from the Department of Environmental Protection, with plans to reimburse the state through FEMA funding. Of that, $6 million is for unincorporated Monroe, while Marathon and Islamorada got $2 million each.
Of the estimated 100,000 cubic yards of debris in the canals, about 3,000 cubic yards have been removed since the work started in February.
The federal Emergency Watershed program staff deemed 103 canals eligible for funding. Eight are in the Upper Keys, 23 in the Middle Keys and 72 in the Lower Keys.
On Feb. 15, Monroe County submitted five application packages for Irma marine debris removal to the regional office of the NRCS.
"The county is anticipating receiving an agreement soon," said county spokeswoman Cammy Clark.
Until that agreement is in place, no work can move forward. All the potential funds would go through the county.
There is a local match of 25 percent.