On Feb. 26, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) approved 10 canals in Monroe County for sediment removal caused by Hurricane Irma.
The County submitted 34 canals to NRCS for funding for sediment removal eligibility determination. The 10 approved canals are located on Lower Matecumbe Key, on Sombrero Beach and Tingler Lane in Marathon, and on Big Pine Key on both sides of Hibiscus Lane, Avenue I, 4th Street, and 5th Street.
Monroe County hired Tavernier-based Adventure Environmental, Inc. to do the hurricane marine debris removal work, which started Aug. 17, 2018 with crews working at several sites simultaneously. As of Feb. 25, 2019, 87 percent of the approved canals have been completed - 149 of 171 canals. The marine debris removal portion of the project is expected to meet the 220-day deadline and to be completed underbudget. To date, $17.5 million of the NRCS-budgeted $45.8 million for debris removal has been used. The new sediment removal projects will be included in the original NRCS budget.
Monroe County also submitted a 60-day, no-cost time extension request to NRCS to revise the grant agreement end date from March 21 to May 20, 2019 to allow extra time for the sediment removal in the 10 canals. NRCS is reviewing the time extension request.