Monroe County just completed an air curtain installation that blocks weeds from entering Big Pine Key’s Canal #287, one of the Keys’ 131 “poor”-rated canals.
This marks the end of the construction phase of the County’s original $5-million investment in demonstration projects that implemented four different restoration methods – air curtain weed gate installation, organic muck removal, culvert installation and backfilling– to restore six of the worst water quality canals in unincorporated Monroe County.
Water quality monitoring is underway to scientifically evaluate the results of each demonstration restoration.
“We are pleased that the early results show the restored canals are helping to bring back marine life,” Monroe County Sustainability Director Rhonda Haag said.
“We already have learned much from each type of project and still have more demo projects to complete to test new methods. It is a massive undertaking to clean up all the canals in the Keys that don’t meet the state minimum standards of water quality, and these demo projects will help us determine the most cost effective way to do so.”
The three-year program, conducted by Florida International University and funded by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, included one year of monitoring prior to construction to set a baseline and two years of monitoring following the completed restoration to determine the success rate.