With 109 miles of seawall in the City of Punta Gorda, the Canal Maintenance Division has a big job.

The Canal Maintenance Division is responsible for the maintenance of seawalls and dredging of canals located within the Burnt Store Isles and Punta Gorda Isles canal districts. Other duties include depression filling, seawall patching, cap patching, and cap replacement, maintenance of aids to navigation, inspections, and related tasks. Seawall replacement, channel and inlet dredging, seawall stabilization, and mangrove trimming projects are also managed by the division and are accomplished by outside contractors selected through the competitive bid process.

Each of the canal maintenance districts is governed by a canal advisory committee. The Burnt Store Isles Canal Maintenance District is responsible for the maintenance of 18 miles of seawall, dredging nine miles of canals, and mangrove trimming/alteration within the district canal system. The Punta Gorda Isles Canal Maintenance District is responsible for the maintenance of 91 miles of seawall, dredging over 45 miles of canals/inlets, and mangrove trimming/alteration within the district canal system.

Both committees are charged with making recommendations to City Council on effective maintenance of existing canals, waterways and navigable channels within the district together with the maintenance and reconstruction of seawalls. They are also charged with holding public hearings and making determinations on petitions for special permits.

The Canal Maintenance Division also performs an annual assessment of the seawall systems. This assessment records condition data of the seawall and it is mapped in a GIS (Geographical Information System) system. GIS mapping allows the division to prioritize maintenance and replacement tasks. The data will allow the division to continue the forecasting of estimated seawall longevity.

Approximately 8,000 linear feet of seawalls are replaced every year. By utilizing the Annual Seawall Assessment data, the Seawall Replacement Work Program is planned a year in advance (seawalls that fall into the canal unexpectedly or a seawall that is inspected and found to be at extreme risk of failure is given a priority). The address list of the FY2021 Seawall Replacement Work Program is available at bit.ly/3ihVMn7.

The program is generally published in September for the upcoming year. Scheduled seawall replacement projects take approximately three to four weeks from start to completion (weather permitting). Prior to starting the work a contractor’s representative contacts the homeowner to discuss sprinkler systems, electric and water lines, etc. A video explaining the process is available on the city website under the Canal Maintenance tab. Residents are encouraged to report problems or concerns, especially depressions and cracks, or to request navigational dredging by calling the Canal Maintenance Division of Public Works by calling 941-575-5050 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; after hours emergency calls can be made to 941-575-5070.

The Punta Gorda canal maintenance program is a unique benefit to waterfront property owners. It is yet another reason that Punta Gorda stands out as Florida’s Harborside Hometown.

Readers may reach City Manager Greg Murray at citymgr@cityofpuntagordafl.com or by calling 941-575-3302.

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