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Environment

Oil Spill Money May Help Grow Corals In The Keys

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Coral Kingdom Collection
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NOAA

Almost five years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, some of the fines collected will go to help the environment in the Florida Keys. This week, the Monroe County Commission is set to decide how to spend the money. 

Monroe County received almost $1.2 million under the RESTORE Act. Florida counties along the Gulf of Mexico got money collected after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

The top two contenders to receive some of the funds are a coral reef restoration project led by The Nature Conservancy and a county canal cleanup program.

For the coral project, more than 52,000 staghorn corals would be raised in offshore nurseries. The baby corals would be replanted along the reef tract from Key Largo to the Dry Tortugas to replenish areas where corals have died off.

The county’s project would clean up canals that have had little water circulation and built up sediments over the years. Most of the Keys have only recently come on line with central sewage systems. Before that, the islands used septic tanks and cesspits, which led to water pollution.

The proposal would cover the cleanup at 126 canals throughout the Keys.

The County Commission meets Wednesday at the Murray Nelson Government Center, mile marker 102.5 in Key Largo. The RESTORE Act funding is scheduled to be heard at 9:45 a.m.