Crews to clear debris from Golden Gate canals before hurricane season


A $3 million clean-up job to get rid of Irma debris in the Golden Gate main canal is helping prevent more damage before the next big storm.

The clean-up job is to get rid of what’s left on the edges of the canal so homes nearby don’t flood.

Until June, crews will remove trees and other vegetation that line the canal that runs from the I-75 bridge east to the Santa Barbara bridge.

Lucille Kirby, a long-time resident in Golden Gate, returned the day after Hurricane Irma struck to find a mess in her backyard.

“A couple of trees floated away and there was a bunch of junk from our canal in our yard,” she said. “We had to rake the whole thing.”

That’s what happens when large tree branches block waterways. So South Florida Water Management District is taking a proactive approach.

“When we have a storm, we need to be able to move water. If we have a lot of trees on the bank and debris in the canal, that causes a lot of issues,” said Matthew Vanleeuwen, a SFWMD contract inspector.

The plan is to remove nearly 4,000 trees over the span of six miles, a move that won’t just save taxpayers money in the long run, but will also keep homeowners safe.

Representatives have gone from house to house letting residents know if they’re attached to a tree, they can go ahead and replant it outside of the clearing zone before it gets taken down.

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