Local environmental groups help clear waterways of Hurricane Ian debris

When Hurricane Ian destroyed homes along Florida's gulf coast, all that debris went everywhere, including into the water. In Englewood, scrap metal, parts of roofs and so much more are still visible in the water. 

Hurricane Ian took a lot from residents at Holiday Estates in Englewood, a 55+ community, and it left even more in the water behind homes. 

"I winched out what I could on my side," Wayne Newsome, a resident working to fix his Englewood property. "I hadn’t been in the canal yet to do anything, but anything I could pick up, I’ve picked up and pulled out."

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As homeowners continue with their own cleanup on land, groups, like the Suncoast Waterkeeper are doing what they can to help in the water.

"A lot of the homes were completely destroyed, and a lot of that debris went right into the canals around the community," said Abbey Tyrna, the executive director of Suncoast Waterkeeper. 

Aluminum, wood, Styrofoam and even full roofs remain floating in canals leading to Lemon Bay.

"There's a lot of disruption that was caused by debris in the aquatic ecosystem," said Tyrna. 

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With homeowners dealing with so much clean up on land, groups are stepping up to help them clear the water. That includes Suncoast Waterkeeper, Sarasota Bay Watch, Suncoast Aqua Ventures and Lemon Bay Conservancy. 

"It's really important, because styrofoam lasts in the environment forever, so it’s really important that we go pick it up, take it out so that the turtles, fish and birds are not impacted," said Tyrna. 

It's their way of giving back and helping not only residents on land, but those who call the waterways, home. 

"Sarasota groups were largely spared by Hurricane Ian, and unfortunately, our neighbors to the south weren’t so lucky," said Tyrna. "We have the resources."

The cleanup will be held Sunday, December 11 at 9 a.m at Holiday Estates, located at 1245 Kingfisher Drive in Englewood. Volunteers are needed along with kayaks and jon boats. 

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