Derelict vessels by the Hathaway Bridge will be removed next week
Bay County Officials say contractors will remove first two derelict vessels near the Hathaway Bridge and in Watson Bayou on Tuesday morning.
Officials say contractors will remove four derelict vessels from St. Andrews Bay in total as the start of a $3 million effort to remove hurricane debris and storm-impacted vessels from waterways this summer.
Officals say it will cost $18,600 to remove the first four boats, located by the Hathaway Bridge and in Watson Bayou. The money comes from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Abandoned and Derelict Vessel Program and Boating Improvement Funds.
“Derelict vessels cause an array of potential problems, from obstruction of waterways to potential pollution and degrading the shorelines and coastal habitats,” Bay County Extension Office Director Scott Jackson said. “They also retain rainwater, creating an ideal breeding ground for mosquitos.”
It is estimated Hurricane Michael left 1,370 destroyed or damaged vessels in local waters. Officals say 1,100 of those have been removed or repaired.
“Bay County has long been focused on clearing our waterways of derelict vessels,” Bay County Commissioner Bill Dozier said. “Prior to the storm we had made significant progress with the removal of all but a few of these eyesores. We started over and then some after the storm, but this project will go a long way to getting our waterways back in shape.”
The UF/IFAS Extension, in partnership with FWC, Bay, Gulf and Franklin Counties, received another $3 million in funding from NOAA to fund removal of more than 800 pieces of Hurricane Michael debris, including around 120 vessels, weighing more than 1 million pounds from Bay, Gulf and Franklin counties.
Residents can report a Hurricane Michael-affected vessels by email to the removal team at email@example.com or call (850) 378-2330.