Benthic Monitoring for the Florida Keys Canal Water Quality Remediation Project

Many residential canals in the Florida Keys are unhealthy with low oxygen levels, murky water, and harmful chemical conditions that have resulted in waters unsuitable for swimming and many sea critters. To fix these problems the US-EPA, Monroe County, cities within the Florida Keys, and even homeowner associations are helping to fund restoration efforts. The first stage of restoration includes the experimental installation of remediation technologies that could potentially improve canal conditions. Those technologies that are the most effective and cost-efficient can be installed in more canals across the keys. This first stage will assess the effectiveness of the different technologies by comparing canals with installed technologies against nearby, unaltered controls over a period of three years. The effectiveness of remediation technologies will be determined by using organisms, including seagrass, macroalgae, and fish that are commonly used to judge water quality in south Florida. We are also taking sediment samples to understand the source and composition of the accumulated organic material in the canal bottoms. Check out our work in the demonstration canals mapped below or visit the Monroe County's website on the project.

We have recently added six canals in Islamorada to our monitoring. These will be monitored as sewage changes from septic to municipal sewage.

Presentation to Canal Restoration Subcommittee Meeting - January 16th, 2015
Presentation to Canal Restoration Subcommittee Meeting - December 11th, 2015
Presentation to Canal Restoration Subcommittee Meeting - Feburary 26th, 2016
Presentation at Islamorada City Hall meeting - March 16th, 2016
Presentation to Canal Restoration Subcommittee Meeting - July 15th, 2016
Presentation to FKNMS Steering Committee - Sept 7th, 2016
Preliminary Report Feburary, 2016

Data - as of March 21, 2017

Canals part of a monitoring program

Dr. Fourqurean explaining the effects of poor quality canals

Pictures from fieldwork and sample anaylsis. See more pictures, along with data, by clicking individual demonstration canals in the map.