Water debris removal in Collier County

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen Writer: Paul Dolan

Pieces of people’s homes, docks, and chunks of boats are in the Southwest Florida water. From the surface, our beaches may look okay, but it’s what is underneath that we need to look out for after Hurricane Ian.

People want to get back to swimming in the Gulf, although they’re also nervous about what’s in the water.

Collier County posted on Facebook that waterway debris cleanup would begin on Monday, but a county official told WINK News that was a messaging error.

Getting debris out of the Collier County waterways. CREDIT: WINK News

The Florida Department of Emergency Management surveyed the waterways on Monday.

FDEM went to debris hotspots in hopes that they’ll figure out a work plan to haul the debris out of the affected areas.

The choppy waters in Naples weren’t why Denise Derr didn’t go in the water on Monday.

“The debris. I just feel safer here in the sand. We’re just gonna hang out for a few hours and enjoy the beach,” Derr said.

But, for the time being, Collier County isn’t sure when that’ll happen since there’s no start date for waterway debris collection.

That being the case, Michael Guarino decided to visit with his family from Massachusetts. They only went in the water to their ankles because they were wary about the water quality in the Gulf.

“So we’ve been noticing it a little bit in the canals and channels, so I would definitely, as a boater myself, be on the lookout, extra vigilance,” Guarino said.

Captain Calvin Green confirmed he’s been up and down the Southwest Florida waterways towing derelict boats away.

“There’s a complete house in Estero Bay, so there’s cars, houses, sheds, kayaks, pretty much anything you can imagine sits in a backyard, in a beach house is out there right now,” Green said.

One boater at Naples Bay told WINK News debris has moved around a lot since Ian, because of the tide and sinking, but there’s always the chance of coming across something pretty big.

But there’s no word on when the cleaning will begin.

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