The canal restoration project funded by Florida Department of Environmental Protection Keys Stewardship Grant is underway in Key Largo. For the past five years, Monroe County has been working on a plan to restore the water quality in local canals and to increase the levels of dissolved oxygen to acceptable marine quality standards. The county has been working in conjunction with local governments and top industry experts in the planning and development phase of the project. Work is now advancing on canal number 84 - a top priority for the county.
Canal number 84 is located within Key Largo’s Rock Harbor community, and has been consistently rated as having poor water quality in the past. To aid in the restoration, a complex multi-step process began earlier this year. Over the past 60 days, project leaders have removed more than 30 huge truckloads of rotting and decaying vegetation from the bottom of the canal. It is the decaying organic matter that contributes to the poor water quality and depletes the oxygenation levels of the canal. Residents often complain of a rotten smell coming from the water, which should be remedied by this removal as well. Following the removal of dead vegetation, the canal is being backfilled. For this process, project engineers will bring in approximately 235 truckloads of fill materials to bring the bottom of the canal to seven feet in all places. Some areas are currently too deep, and backfill will even it out at approximately seven feet. According to the engineers and marine scientists, seven feet is an ideal level to promote and allow the tidal flow of the waters in the canal to properly flush it out and keep it healthy and thriving. This process will allow oxygenation levels to reach optimal levels and promote overall marine life health as well.
The completion of the restoration of canal 84 is scheduled for June 2022. Though a detailed and lengthy process for residents of Rock Harbor homes in Key Largo, the result is well worth it and important for the preservation of the island. Canal restoration not only benefits the immediate area, but also contributes to the health of all near-shore waters throughout the Keys.
More canals throughout the Florida Keys are also in need of restoration. The project will continue as funding allows. Read for more information on the canal restoration project of the Florida Keys. Residents of Key Largo real estate, and more throughout the county should be on the lookout for information about their local canals in the coming months.