Once is not good enough, tides and humans will always deposit debris in our waters. It is essential that we become good stewards committing to continued cleanup and maintenance, promoting education, and encouraging changes throughout the Florida Keys.
Habitat restoration, and to cleanup and protect the coasts, mangroves, and waterways of the Florida Keys.
On September 10th 2017, Hurricane Irma blasted through the Florida Keys. In the days and months following the natural disaster, residents realized they needed to assume the leadership role in the restoration and future preservation of their local community and its natural ecosystems. And hence the Conch Republic Marine Army (CRMA) was born after several ad hoc volunteer gatherings of dedicated residents working together to clean up the Florida Keys.
CRMA assembles, coordinates, and deploys volunteer cleanup and restoration teams to facilitate a quick recovery following natural disasters after the official (county or state) efforts have finished. We identify resources and capabilities with our partners, including community partners as well as public, commercial, and government entities in order to optimize our efforts. We coordinate recovery operations of canals, mangroves, shore lines and waterways within the Florida Keys to protect the people, environment and economy and to ensure a disaster-resilient county.
CRMA also seeks to encourage the public as well as private and civil sectors to take ownership of their communities’ vulnerabilities and engage in risk reduction and emergency management practices. Through communication, coordination, cooperation, education and collaboration, residents of the Florida Keys can apply new and innovative policies and practices to lessen the adverse impacts of future disasters.
Volunteer Clean Up Teams
Following a natural disaster, CRMA coordinates cleanup requests from community members and directs a multi-disciplinary volunteer restoration team to assist in recovery efforts. Monthly cleanup events can attract as many as 200 volunteers on both water and land to collect and remove debris. Because CRMA is a volunteer-lead and -driven organization, we use passive restoration techniques to reduce or eliminate the sources of degradation and permit enough recovery time to allow the site to naturally regenerate¹. Whenever possible, CRMA will employ practices such as booms and barriers to prevent debris from canals to flow into ocean waters, where it becomes nearly impossible to remove.
¹USEPA, 2000. Principles for the Ecological Restoration of Aquatic Resources. EPA841-F-00-003. Office of Water (4501F), United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC. 4 pp. To order single, free copies, call 1-800-490-9198 and request document number EPA841-F-00-003.