Trees to be cleared to help prevent erosion, flooding concerns along Hillsboro Canal

Canal banks to be cleared by end of summer

BOCA RATON, Fla. - The trees and lush vegetation that hundreds of suburban Boca Raton residents have grown to love will soon be demolished. Crews will tear down the banks of the Hillsboro Canal to protect against erosion and flooding. 

A canopy of trees provides shade and privacy for homeowners along the canal, but not for long. 

"It's going to be totally barren, it will look like a road in your back yard," said Barry Haberman, who lives near the canal.

The South Florida Water Management District is already clearing trees and debris to stabilize the canal banks west of State Road 7.

It's all in preparation for a dredging project designed to prevent flooding. The district says the canal is clogged with silt and debris because of erosion. 

"The problem with erosion is it limits your ability to move the water out, and that's why these canals are there in the first place, is to move the water into the ocean to prevent it backing up into their houses," said Randy Smith with the South Florida Water Management District.

Barry Haberman lives near the canal and tried to convince the district to limit what trees would be cut down. 

"As you can see being here, the beauty of it and enjoyment will be gone We're not against doing things that are beneficial, but at what cost to homeowners and neighborhood, to everyone," said Haberman.

Harris says crews will try to keep what they can, but anything tall enough to fall into the canal will be removed. 

"When we get a big storm they're going to fall in the canal and that's worse than the silt that is built up on the bottom because the trees will go up against the structure and stop it up," said Harris.

The bulldozers will be working east of the Turnpike by the end of the summer. The entire project including the dredging won't be complete until October 2015.

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