Volunteers from the Treasure Coast Surfrider Foundation joined residents of Vero Beach's Rock Ridge neighborhood to clean debris out of an Intracoastal Waterway canal that has been left unattended since the hurricanes of 2004. The canal, located along 3rd Avenue, just south of 17th Street, was full of foam insulation and other construction debris that had blown off nearby commercial buildings in the storms.
According to neighborhood resident and Surfrider member Charles Williams, both the city and county have been contacted on numerous occasions regarding the debris clogging this once-thriving ecosystem.
"Both the city and county informed us is that it was the neighborhood's responsibility to clean up the canal, so that's just what we did," said Williams, owner of Impact Surfboards in Fort Pierce. "Before the hurricanes, the canal was home to all kinds of marine life, including tarpon, snook, manatees. For the last two years it has been so full of garbage that marine life has seemed to avoid it."
Williams claimed that the water quality looks "pretty good" and hopes that the canal will return to its once thriving state.
"Most of the neighbors are senior citizens and would have had a lot of difficulty trying to remove all the trash themselves, especially in the summer heat," Williams added. All it took was one phone call to Surfrider and a team of volunteers showed up ready help."