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Posted on: October 22, 2018


Photo of hurricane Irma marine debris being removed from Canal 257 in Marathon during project using

MONROE COUNTY, FL – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has approved 28 more canals for the Monroe County-led $49.2 million project to cleanup Hurricane Irma marine debris.

These 28 canals are located in the Lower Keys – and they are in addition to the 144 canals located throughout the Keys that NRCS already had approved. This brings the total to 172 canals that will be cleaned under this grant.

In the first 65 days of the 220-month project:

  • 26% Complete with canals (45 of 172 canals complete)
  • 13% of the grant funding budget for removal has been used ($5.9 million of $45.8 million)

The funding is from the USDA NRCS’s Emergency Watershed Protection program.

Nine crews have been working in six geographical parts of the Keys called Damage Survey Report (DSR) areas. The hurricane marine debris is being taken to nearby debris management sites before being hauled to Homestead for proper disposal.

For up-to-date information on the cleanup, including a master schedule of the work and the new list of canals approved for this project, go to The master schedule should be viewed on a computer due to the amount of information.

A total of $49.2 million is available under this grant ($45.9 million for marine clearing activities and $3.3 million for monitoring). It is divided as follows: $35.2 million for unincorporated Monroe County, $7.5 million for Marathon and $6.5 million for Islamorada.

Tavernier-based Adventure Environmental was hired by the County to lead the cleanup that is scheduled to last 220 days. Adventure Environmental and subcontractor Arnolds Towing of Stock Island have a combined workforce of about 60 people committed to the project using 4 grapple trucks, 5 sonar boats and 15 barges specifically built to perform in the Keys environment with minimal impact.  Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions, Inc. is monitoring the work.

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