Eight months after Hurricane Irma, canals in the Florida Keys are still choked with debris, while county and Federal officials are debating how to pay for the cleanup. Meanwhile, according to the Miami Herald, the aftermath of the hurricane has also complicated the recovery of seagrass in Florida Bay.
To date, only 16 canals in the Keys have been cleared, involving about 3,000 cubic yards of debris, leaving another 97,000 cubic yards (with everything from awnings to RVs) to go. The debris is blocking boats from using the canals; it also is blocking the canals for manatees and other marine life.
The Coast Guard has removed hundreds of boats from the canals, but other debris has to be cleared by local authorities. One problem is that FEMA and county officials have argued about money to clear the canals to a navigable depth. FEMA wanted to clear to a six-foot depth; county officials wanted to go deeper. The state stopped cleanup efforts on April 18 and is now figuring out how to continue its work.
On Florida Bay, Irma killed 40 percent of the mangroves, which complicated recovery from a die-out three years ago that wiped out more than 60 square miles of seagrass. Read more: