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Punta Gorda Success Story

Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program

Aerial view of Punta Gorda

On August 13, 2004 Hurricane Charley hit Florida’s southwest coastline.  The City of Punta Gorda sustained a direct hit from this Category 4 hurricane.  The storm was heading toward Tampa; however it made an unexpected turn and slammed into this coastal city.

Punta Gorda is a waterfront town and has miles of canals which is where much of the debris ended up. 

NRCS officials meeting with Punta Gorda officials




Four days later the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) was on the scene offering federal assistance to the city.


canal debris


The debris consisted of sunken boats, trees, mobile home parts and screen enclosures. Shingles and asphalt also made their way into the canals.  City officials were concerned with the health hazards that this debris posed. 

David Drury

David Drury, Finance Director for the City of Punta Gorda, "We had never heard of NRCS, but listened to what they had to say.  Within days the work had begun.  It is so hard to believe that something could be accomplished that quickly by a government agency."

Anthony Triuizi

Anthony Triuizi, Punta Gorda Resident."It didn’t take long before we started to see the barges laden with debris taken from the canal. It was a quick process and I wish that all of the other recovery went as smoothly as the NRCS part."

Richard Benson


Richard Benson, Supervisor of Roads and Canals, City of Punta Gorda, "The NRCS showed up here shortly after the storm.  They funded this project.  In less than 2 ½ months we have taken 600 tons of debris from these canals."

barge removing aluminum from canal

barge cleanup




For more information go to the Florida EWP website.