According to the Adopt-A-Canal Brochure of the South Broward Drainage District, “Litter and pollution in our canals is a growing and potentially hazardous problem. Litter carried by wind, traffic, animals, and water can restrict water flow, pollute the water with unhealthy chemicals, trap, or harm wildlife, provide a breeding ground for mosquitos, and damage canal structures and equipment. It also negatively impacts all property values”.
On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, my wife and I decided to take a look for ourselves.
We conducted an informal survey of the thirteen canals around Smokehouse Bay. We developed the survey approach using documents from the Marco Island Water Quality Workshop of April 29, 2019. These workshop reports are available to the public on the City of Marco Island web page. We drove the boat close to the docks and I filled out the forms we created, one for each canal.
We found three pieces of trash floating in the 13 canals surrounding Smokehouse Bay. One was an empty water bottle and two were Styrofoam “clamshells” used for fast food. Marker 13 in Smokehouse Bay is no longer visible as this concrete pole has fallen into the water. The Ospreys that had nested there moved their nest to Marker 15 which is now leaning over and probably will collapse as well. The birds should have moved to Marker 16 which seems to be doing well so far. Two “neglected” boats are parked in Smokehouse Bay, but these are well known, as they have been there for years.
There were no dead fish in the water. There were no collapsed seawalls or collapsed docks. There were no algal blooms. There were a few coconuts and palm fronds, but not very many. Crustaceans were observed on the walls of many of the canals. Crustaceans are bi-valves and can help to keep the water clean and clear. Oyster beds are reported to still exist in Collier and Robert’s Bays. Eleven of the thirteen canals were in perfect condition with no observations. Nothing to see there.
Residents apparently care about the cleanliness of our canals. There were 107 “mini-reefs” observed under the docks in these canals. Enjoy the water, everything is fine on Smokehouse Bay.