Company cleans up debris from Florida waterways after Hurricane Ian

Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

On Tuesday, Congressman Byron Donalds received a tour of the waterways off of Saint James City and Matlacha to see what work still needs to be done.

Ashbritt, the company contracted by the state to clean up the mess left behind by Hurricane Ian, led the way. Donalds said Southwest Florida had come a long way since the storm hit.

Ashbritt has picked up nearly 500,000 cubic yards of debris from our waterways after Ian, equivalent to nearly 700,000 tons. Remarkably, after all that progress, there’s still a lot of work to be done.

“It kind of helps to shape the policy decisions that you got to make and provide sense of urgency for some of the things that are needed,” Congressman Donalds said.

Congressman Donalds took a tour, led by Ashbritt, of the Southwest Florida waterways to assess the damage left behind by Ian. And, more importantly, see the work that still needs to be done.

WINK News reporter Michael Hudak was the only reporter invited to join him.

“It allows you to really put things in a proper priority list,” Congressman Donalds said. “And so that’s why, you know, coming out doing tours, seeing what’s actually happening on the ground was critical.”

Taking off from Saint James City and passing Matlacha, there was plenty of damage that remained. Derelict vessels are still in the mangroves. They may at first glance appear welcoming but are anything but.

Casey Streeter, who spearheaded a lot of the cleanup effort for Ashbritt, took Congressman Donalds through each step of their process. And Donalds saw how much has improved since the storm.

“I was like, Oh, wow, that looks that’s better. That’s better. That’s better,” Donalds said.

There are still about 100 derelict vessels scattered throughout Southwest Florida’s waters since Ian. And it’s not that Ashbritt or anybody else can’t get to them, it’s the legislative loopholes that prevent owners from going and getting their boat if it’s lying in the mangroves.

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