Miami Herald: Written by Jenny Staletovich. May 11, 2018.
Eight months after Irma slammed into the Florida Keys, canals choked with debris, damaged mangroves and a hurricane-size mixing of Florida Bay continue to spread water woes across the region.
Only a fraction of the debris in more than 500 canals has been removed as Monroe County officials and federal emergency managers continue to wrestle over the $52.6 million cleanup cost, Sustainability Director Rhonda Haag told the South Florida Water Management District governing board on Thursday during a field hearing in Marathon. Meanwhile, Irma may complicate Florida Bay's recovery from a massive seagrass die-off after damaging wide swaths of the mangroves ringing the bay.
Only 16 canals and about 3,000 cubic yards of debris have been cleared, Haag said, leaving an estimated 97,000 cubic yards of awnings, roofs, downed trees, RVs, broken docks and other debris blocking canals not only for boats but manatees and other marine life.