March 8, 2018
West Palm Beach, FL – The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board today approved a partnership with Collier County to improve flood protection for the Immokalee area by clearing the State Road 29 Canal of trees and debris.
"This canal, which acts as a major outflow to drain neighborhoods and businesses around Immokalee, has been overrun by vegetation and experienced debris obstructions at times that have impeded its water flow," said SFWMD Governing Board member and Big Cypress Basin (BCB) Board Chairman Rick Barber. "While not a District-owned canal, flood protection for our residents is SFWMD's primary mission, so this Governing Board felt it necessary to partner with Collier County to make sure these residents get improved controls over floodwaters."
The canal was maintained by Collier County and the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) for decades. Recently, it was discovered DOT technically did not have right of entry to maintain the canal. As a result, this led to a lapse in maintenance and the canal being compromised by vegetation and debris.
It was imperative that something be done since this canal acts as one of the major outflows of stormwater from Immokalee. Blocked canals can pose an increased risk of flooding, especially after storms.