Photo: Katie Atkins, Miami Herald
“A photo of manatees in a Florida Keys canal surrounded by Hurricane Irma debris posted to Facebook has sparked outrage online.
The photo was posted Dec. 7 in the Facebook group ‘Irma Big Pine Key’ and it was later clarified the canal is in Marathon’s Key by the Sea condo complex, mile marker 50.5 oceanside. As of this week, the canal is still full of debris.
‘The manatees come up through windows of the RVs in the canal. It’s just sickening,’ said office manager Angela Sanders.
She lives in the park and ‘knows it by heart,’ she said, adding she believes there are 16 trailers in the canal.
‘There are sheds in there, trailers and everything that was in these homes,’ Sanders said. ‘Their furniture, their silverware, their dishes, their shampoo, bleach, oil, propane tanks — anything you’ve got in your house right now, 16 of that is in the canal…’
‘Last weekend, we went in and started clearing the canal ourselves but there was only so much we could do,’ Sanders said.
As for the manatees, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation representative could not say how many have been affected by the debris or whether there have been any deaths directly caused by it…
It could be January, four months post hurricane, before cleanup of canals begins. Each municipality has to work out a memorandum of understanding with the state Department of Environmental Protection and the FWC, said county public information officer Cammy Clark.
At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, City Planner George Garrett said canal cleanup in Marathon will probably start Jan. 1… ”
— Katie Atkins, Miami Herald