3 To Know: Goliath grouper workshops scheduled for October

Marco Eagle

1. Goliath grouper workshops scheduled for October

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will continue gathering public input on the management of goliath grouper this month at several in-person workshops scheduled across the state. The FWC is seeking input on goliath grouper management, including the possibility of a limited harvest in Florida state waters.

A total of 16 in-person workshops will be held altogether, with the Naples event scheduled for Oct. 18 at the Collier County Public Library’s South Regional branch, 8065 Lely Cultural Parkway.

Scuba divers come from around the world to see goliath grouper that gather off the coast of the Palm Beaches from late August through September every year.

For those who missed a workshop in their area or cannot make an in-person workshop, an on-demand virtual workshop is available. This newly-added online feature can be found on the public workshops webpage at MyFWC.com/Fishing by clicking on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Public Comments/Workshops” and “Workshops.” Once you’ve viewed the workshop, you can take a workshop survey, which is identical to a survey given at the in-person workshops. Additional written comments may be submitted online at MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments.

2. What's that smell in Naples? Stench coming from Collier landfill

A strong sulfur smell has been emanating from the Collier County Landfill and spreading throughout the area, the Collier County Solid Waste Department reported Sunday.

Increased garbage intake after Hurricane Irma has mixed with recent rains, causing the oppressive scent, officials stated.

Winds are pushing the smell from the landfill along Interstate 75 west of Collier Boulevard toward the Gulf — right over southeastern Golden Gate Estates and other areas of the county, a report said.

Dirt, mulch and shells are being dumped on the landfill in efforts to cover the stench, with hopes of fully containing the odor early this week.

3. Hurricane Irma's tab continues to climb in Collier County

Hurricane Irma’s tab in Collier County is at $64 million and rising. That’s the amount the county government has spent or set aside in the first month after the storm on overtime, salaries, generators, food, equipment and cleanup efforts. More than half of the money, $38 million, has been spent clearing debris from roads and curbsides.

That number is expected to top $100 million over the four to six months it will take to clear all the piled branches and trees. The costs will keep rising as the recovery from the storm continues.

Crews pick up trash along Chapman Avenue in Bonita Springs on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, three weeks after Hurricane Irma.

The county has paid $7 million to the Sheriff’s Office for overtime accrued during the long days immediately before, during and after the storm, according to county records. It has spent $6.2 million repairing water, sewage and storm-water systems. The county has also set aside $2 million for landscaping and $2.5 million to repair county parks. A total of $350,000 has been spent on beach renourishment.

With a federal disaster declared, all of the money spent responding to the storm will qualify to be reimbursed by the federal government. That process can take years, and the challenge for the county will be to make sure it has enough cash on hand in reserves and in banks to pay for the recovery while making payroll and keeping the government open until checks start arriving from the feds.