Cleanup Underway On South Mississippi Waterways

"It's been kind of smelly and we haven't been able to get these boats out of here," Camille Lott says.

So Lott was relieved to finally see the U.S. Coast Guard behind her slab, pulling debris from the Enger Street Canal in Pascagoula. Crews have been out working since last week.

"The water is finally moving again."

Lott is standing around hoping some of the items clogging the canal are her long-lost belongings.

"Pretty much anything that I could find that was ours, I would take."

Mississippi Department of Marine Resources staff officer Irvin Jackson says Lott's entire home could very well be in there.

"You'll find refrigerators, freezers, televisions, gas bottles," Jackson says. "You'll find everything. Furniture, roofs, houses. It's just amazing."

It's also amazing how long it takes to clean up waterways like this. Jackson says the Enger Street Canal, alone, could take six weeks to clean.

"Marine debris removal is normally a lot more hard to accomplish than land debris because you have to get into the water ways, you have to find suitable areas to put your equipment, you have to have people watching for different things like artifacts, should you find it, endangered species, should you come upon any of those."

Jackson says it's vital the debris is cleared from South Mississippi's waterways as soon as possible for the coast's marine economy to rebound.

"It's important for our seafood industry, for our recreational boating and fishing industries."

And it's important for people like Lott. These claws are her only hope of ever reclaiming anything from her past.

The Enger Street Canal is one of only three sites the U.S. Coast Guard is cleaning right now. Henderson Point and Jordan River Isles are the other two. DMR officer Irvin Jackson says those are the worst on the coast. Jackson says the Gulf is next on the list to be cleaned.