Florida Keys

The Keys can add 76 canals to its Irma cleanup list, feds say

Florida Keys canal filled with storm debris months after Hurricane Irma

Big Pine Key residents and county officials try to address the canals on the key filled with debris from Hurricane Irma.
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Big Pine Key residents and county officials try to address the canals on the key filled with debris from Hurricane Irma.

The Florida Keys may use federal money to clean out Hurricane Irma-related debris in 76 additional canals from Big Coppitt Key to Key Largo, the county has announced.

This brings the number of canals worked on since the Sept. 10, 2017, storm to more than 250. About 500 canals run through the Keys.

There is no new money coming to Monroe. The additional canals fall under the initial $45.8 million Hurricane Irma marine debris removal clearing project budget. That money came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“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 canals are in the following Keys:

  • 17 on Big Coppitt, Geiger Key, Saddlebunch Keys and Sugarloaf Key
  • 20 on Cudjoe Key, Summerland Key, Ramrod Key and Little Torch Key
  • 2 on Big Pine Key
  • 17 on Conch Key, Tavernier and in Key Largo.
  • 7 in Islamorada
  • 13 in Marathon

As of July 15, $24.5 million has been spent. With the addition of the 76 canals, the county has asked to move the completion date from Aug. 18 to Dec. 31, 2019.

“The debris and sediment removal activities in 258 canals throughout Monroe County is a triumph for the overall Florida Keys environment,” Haag said.

To keep up with the canal debris cleanup, click here.

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