BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) – They’ve been a problem for years, long before Hurricanes Sally and Zeta impacted the coast, but now there’s movement at the state level to get sunken boats and partially submerged vessels out of Baldwin County waterways.
“We know we’ve got in Baldwin County about 40 identified vessels out there right now,” said Alabama State Senator Chris Elliott.
Strong storms are to blame for part of the problem, but some of these boats have just been abandoned over time and now the state is stepping in to clean it all up.
“For the first time in this budget in this session we have passed legislation that provides funding for that removal,” added Elliott.
Senator Elliott confirms $50,000 is now available in the general fund to start this project, but more money is on the way to make sure all of Alabama’s waterways are safe.
“There is another piece of legislation that will provide about $1.5 million a year statewide to deal not only with derelict vessels, but with debris removal,” he continued.
With hurricane season fast approaching action is needed now, he adds, before more debris is added to what’s already in our waterways.
“The timing on this is probably pretty immediate,” said Elliott.
The planning phase should begin soon, with work expected to begin sometime in the fall.