Governor Rick Scott today announced that, at his direction, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), with assistance from the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM), has signed an agreement with Monroe County to assist in the clean-up and removal of marine debris caused by Hurricane Irma. Following the significant and widespread damage caused by Hurricane Irma, Monroe County expended its available funding resources for clean-up activities.
The state has now agreed to cover the costs of debris removal to ensure that this important marine debris clean-up work can begin immediately since the local government has used all available funding. The state will be reimbursed by the county once Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reimbursements are received.
Under the agreement, DEP will provide $6 million and immediately begin overseeing the cleanup of marine debris in impacted canals and nearshore waters in Monroe County. The county will provide local coordination for the clean-up effort and FDEM will assist the county in applying for reimbursements from FEMA.
Governor Scott said, “Since Hurricane Irma impacted our state, communities across Florida have been working tirelessly to clean-up and recover from this destructive storm. The Florida Keys undoubtedly experienced significant damage when the storm made landfall at Cudjoe Key. We’re doing everything we can to help Monroe County and the Florida Keys as they continue to recover from Irma and I am proud to direct DEP to enter this agreement and immediately get to work removing debris. In Florida, we know that our pristine environment is a big part of what drives our booming tourism industry and this is especially true for the Florida Keys.”
DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein said, “The Florida Department of Environment Protection’s top priority is protecting our state’s world-renowned natural and water resources. We are honored to partner with Monroe County to help with this unprecedented and complex clean up.”
FDEM Director Wes Maul said, “I am proud that we were able to help Monroe County enter into this agreement with the Department of Environmental Protection. Thanks to Governor Scott’s leadership and support, working directly with DEP will be the best and fastest way to clear the debris remaining in these waterways following Hurricane Irma’s devastating impact. FDEM staff will continue working hand-in-hand with our state and local partners to ensure not only that impacted communities recover successfully, but that every available federal reimbursement dollar is delivered as quickly as possible.”