Monroe County is always looking to be resilient well into the future

Chief Resilience Officer for Monroe County, Rhonda Haag, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM yesterday morning to talk about what’s been going on in the county.  

The Twin Lakes project is going to be breaking ground soon.

Haag said, “We’ve certainly got that going. The county had to kick in some local funds at the end as did the aqueduct, FKAA, because they have some utility work. Then the rest was federal funded and state funded. So that’s really a project that took many, many hands and helpers to get that one going. But yes, we will have a groundbreaking soon. So that’s a $21 million project. And we did recently receive the grant for the Stillwright Point neighborhood for $20 million. That’s part of that $175 million in Hazard Mitigation grant funds. So $20 million in federal funds has now been formally set aside for the Stillwright Point neighborhood and now we have to finish the design that was funded by the state and then apply for hopefully some state funds to fund the other 50%.”

The Twin Lakes project in Key Largo is meant to help with some persistent king tide events that cause damage to public roads and private properties.

Haag said, “That’s our first road elevation project. That’s a demonstration project. So hopefully, we’ll learn a lot of things and apply them to all our other projects, although, some of the other ones are still moving forward. So we’re really happy.”

There will be 105 residential structures in the Twin Lakes subdivision.

Haag said, “Stillwright Point is another potential road elevation project in Key Largo. It’s just down the road from Twin Lakes. They also receive a lot of heavy flooding, doesn’t even take king tides anymore. Even rainy days. That’s a $40 million project. That’s a bigger neighborhood, a bit higher road elevation. We were happy to get the federal grants. So those funds have been set aside just for Stillwright, $20 million, so we still have to get another $20 million. We’re just determining whether we’re going to, I think we’re probably going to apply this July when the portal opens up again for the state funding, and we’ll see what we get. We have our road project, the US Army Corps, US 1 revetments, that kickoff meeting is tomorrow. So we’re really excited about that. That’s where we’re going to finish five different phases along the way, we’re going to do some shoreline revetments. And so Army Corps is leading that work and actually conducting the work, which is a little unusual, they don’t hire that out. That county as a local sponsor, but will be reimbursed through DOT. So the Department of Transportation is a very active partner also”

Canal restoration is also moving forward.

Haag said, “The Eaton Pines injection well is now operational, we just turned it on a day or two ago. So we’re going to wait and see how that performs. We just got a federal grant to help pay for some monitoring for that. So we can see how well these injection well projects perform. Then we’re also going to take a look at the whole master list, again, of all the projects we haven’t finished and see what we can do to make some of these projects cheaper. We’ve never be able to do some of the more expensive ones. So we’re going to take a revisit and look to see what we can do. The injection wells, for instance, they cost maybe about $300,000. So when you’re looking at a $40, $50 million backfill project, instead of spending that kind of money, maybe we can spend $2, $3 million on several injection wells in a canal system and hopefully, at least get the water circulating. It won’t fix the problem of the canals being too deep. But at least we’ll get the water circulating and increase the levels of dissolved oxygen and the overall quality of the canals.”