Ten Mile Canal one-year update: Much work done; much more to do, residents say
What do you get when you funnel record-breaking stormwater into a system designed for a once-upon-a-time rural area? A wet mess, as survivors of 2017’s Ten Mile Canal area flooding will tell you.
Starting last Aug. 25, record rains fell for five days, with some areas logging almost 30 inches. The resulting misery dominated news for the next two weeks, until Hurricane Irma stormed in to steal the show, compounding the woes of the already hard-hit area. Yet unprecedented as the initial disaster was, it’s a wonder it didn’t happen sooner, say residents who’ve spent the last year studying the event and trying to prevent its repeat, growing increasingly frustrated with Lee County in the process.
Concerned history would repeat itself, Bob Clements joined the Ten Mile Canal Community Group, one of several citizen initiatives that have coalesced since the flooding. He has lived for 21 years in The Forest, one of the hardest-hit developments.
Members are carefully watching the work Lee County has done over the last year, including cleaning and regrading area canals, culverts and swales, improving access and installing level monitoring systems.
They’re also calling it out for not doing enough — focusing on addressing the flooding's effects; not its causes, says Ted Ehrlich, one of the community group's leaders.