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Clearing hidden hurricane debris in the water

Posted at 5:58 PM, Nov 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-15 17:58:25-05

Four agencies teamed up to clear dozens of trees from the North Fork of the St. Lucie River Wednesday.  It's all part of "Operation Safe Passage."

“We want to keep Port St. Lucie safe. Part of that it’s not only on our streets but residential communities but also in our waterways," said Assistant Police Chief Richard Del Toro.

Boats with the Port St. Lucie Police Marine Unit, St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission scoured an 18-mile stretch of the St. Lucie River, looking for fallen trees and other hurricane debris.

“We’ve identified close to 100 trees that are unsafe for our boaters so we’re working with these agencies to get these trees removed," said Del Toro.

Officer Eric Druga truly stretched to the limit to corral a tree that had broken off along the riverbank. He got it secure, and then towed it back to shore.

“They’re big enough once they break loose with the outgoing tide. In the evening boaters coming through in the evening, that’s big enough to strike a hull and cause damage and possible injuries," said Officer Russell Jackson.

The department did not have a full tally, but they did say at least one person had been injured recently, and there was some serious damage done to a boat because of the debris in the water.

While this was just a one day operation, the police department says if you see any potentially dangerous debris in the water, give them a call.