Florida: Governor Ron DeSantis Directs the Department of Environmental Protection to Expedite Waterway Debris Removal Following Hurricane Idalia
The Floridant/10244656

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. ~ Governor Ron DeSantis has directed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to begin the removal of storm debris from waterways in the Big Bend region following Hurricane Idalia. DEP has already tasked an existing contractor, AshBritt Inc., with the removal of debris, and mobilization has begun.

"Many communities impacted by Hurricane Idalia make their livings and support their families on the waterways of the Big Bend region," said Governor DeSantis. "Expediting debris removal will support full economic recovery and help these communities get back on their feet."

Debris in coastal areas can pose environmental concerns such as water quality, flooding, and navigational hazards, as well as affect Florida's economy. To ensure a quick response to storm damage, DEP is utilizing a contract already in place to task AshBritt Inc. with the removal of debris from waterways, including fallen trees, vegetation, and construction material from damaged homes and properties.

"Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, the state is taking an all-hands-on-deck approach to disaster response," said Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Shawn Hamilton. "We are ready to utilize our emergency resources and work together across state agencies to respond to and continue recovery in the hardest hit areas."

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Aerial and ground assessments have been completed for major waterways and canals in the Big Bend region, with a focus on addressing needs in fiscally constrained counties. Work will first take place in Horseshoe Beach canals and Steinhatchee River before moving onto Econfina River and Suwannee River.

In addition to working with local partners, DEP has activated 71 Disaster Debris Management Sites statewide for temporary storage and processing of hurricane-generated debris including three sites in Dixie County and Taylor County. These sites are essential for expediting cleanup efforts while reducing environmental impacts.

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is also assessing waters for displaced or derelict vessels while setting up a hotline (888-404-3922) for people to report vessels lost or rendered derelict due to the storm.

Governor Ron DeSantis' directive is aimed at helping communities affected by Hurricane Idalia recover economically by expediting debris removal from waterways in Big Bend region. DEP is utilizing existing contracts while working with local partners such as FWC to ensure swift response times for disaster relief efforts across state agencies.

Filed Under: Government, State

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