MONROE COUNTY, FL – The Monroe County-led $49.2 million project to cleanup Hurricane Irma marine debris is at 78 percent completion, with 134 of the 172 federally approved canals completed.
The project has used only $14.2 million (38 percent) of the available $45.8 million marine debris clearing budget for unincorporated Monroe County, Islamorada and Marathon. The remaining $4.2 million funding of the project grant is being used for monitoring services.
The project is funded with an Emergency Watershed Protection program grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Monroe County is using Florida Keys Stewardship Act funds for its 25 percent match
“The project is totally funded with state and federal money,” Monroe County Sustainability Director Rhonda Haag said. “Not one cent of County money has been spent on this, with the exception of staff time.
The project is ahead of schedule to meet the 220-day grant deadline that ends March 21, 2019.
The USDA’s NRCS is the entity that approves which canals can receive the grant funding after reviewing comprehensive submissions provided by the County.
The County also has submitted 34 canals to NRCS for sediment approval and 18 of them – located in unincorporated Monroe County, Marathon and Islamorada – are currently being considered.
Marine debris cleanup of approved canals is completed in Islamorada and only one canal is left in Marathon. The work continues in unincorporated Monroe County.
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 monroecounty-fl.gov/irmacanalcleanup. The master schedule should be viewed on a computer due to the amount of information.
The project 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. Adventure Environmental and subcontractor Arnolds Towing of Stock Island have a combined workforce of about 60 people committed to the project using four grapple trucks, five 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.