Hurricane Irma debris still clogging up Seminole waterways

Crews in Seminole County say they’re finally cleaning up some of the lingering debris left almost a year and a half ago by Hurricane Irma.

This week county crews started debris removal along Howell Creek; the first of several watersheds they will tackle.  Using heavy machinery and boats, the crews are traveling the creeks and waterways to remove the debris that’s still damming up the waters’ natural flows.

As they break the debris free, workers then release it into the water’s natural flow where it is eventually caught in a wire netting downstream and removed from the waterway.

"Some really big trees have just completely taken over,” said County Watershed Manager Marie Lackey.

Lackey said the work has taken so long to get going because the work isn’t covered by FEMA; her office had to seek grant money to get it done. While low on the list of clean-up though, Lackey said it’s of vital importance that those streams be able to flow as nature intends.

"When it rains the water's going to flow in a different direction. Not only that, but it's also going to cause problems with homes possibly flooding,” she said.

The work will be completed by mid-April under the terms of the Grant. Lackey said local cities in Seminole have also performed this work or are planning to in areas of the waterways that fall in their jurisdictions.