Debris cleanup in Bonita Springs waterways

Reporter: Taylor Wirtz Writer: Paul Dolan

Neighbors along the Bonita Springs waterways say it looks like a floating junkyard as debris from Hurricane Ian casually floats about.

Jim Foley and Scott Ross are Bonita residents and have seen this for a while since Ian.

“It seems like everybody forgot about it…I actually have a boat ready to get picked up. But there’s no way I could even get it to my house because it’s Estero Bay has everything from cars to houses to debris, just everything floating around refrigerators, appliances,” Foley said.

Ross and his family came across one east of Hickory Boulevard.

“The first time I saw it. It was kind of distressing. We’re just looking at that and wondering how anyone’s ever going to clear that out,” Ross said.

Chairs in the Bonita Springs waterway. CREDIT: WINK News

“Things from couches and sofas to garbage cans, and everybody’s debris and beat up boats jetski and that kind of stuff,” Ross said.

“The dog thought we were next to land and jumped overboard to land landed on her door, thinking it was safe to do that,” Ross said.

For Ross and his family, it became personal.

“That’s about a third of a mile from our house. So we were seeing stuff that had blown across the road and into the bay from the other side of the street on hickory Boulevard,” Ross said. “So we saw our possessions out there along with everybody else’s stuff.”

While clearly unaesthetic, local residents’ concerns go beyond mere appearances.

“They’re still going to have stuff underneath the water, the sand, there’s going to be no way to clean them up,” Steven Jensen, another Bonita resident, said.

As for who’s tasked with cleaning all of it up, the Fish and Wildlife Commission explained to WINK News the Department of Emergency Management is working closely with FWC, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Coast Guard, and local governments to identify and remove debris from waterways.

Click here to be taken to the Hurricane Ian debris removal website.

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