‘No Swim’ advisory lifted for Siesta and Longboat; south county beach advisory continues

UPDATE: The  “No Swim” Advisory that has been in place at Siesta and Longboat Key Beaches since Thursday, Sept. 29 has been lifted today, according to an announcement from the Health Department at 4:39 p.m. Sept. 30. The advisories at Turtle, Nokomis and North Jetty Beaches remain in effect.

Red tide bloom has resulted in wrack lines containing numerous dead fish and other marine organisms, Health Department says

Image courtesy Florida Department of Health
Image courtesy Florida Department of Health

As a precaution, Sarasota County health officials have issued a “No Swim” advisory at the following beaches, the Health Department announced just after 4 p.m. on Sept. 29:

  • Longboat Key, located at 3495 Gulf of Mexico Drive on Longboat.
  • Siesta Beach, located at 948 Beach Road on Siesta Key.
  • Turtle Beach, located at 8919 Midnight Pass Road on Siesta Key.
  • Nokomis Beach, located at 100 Casey Key Road in Nokomis.
  • North Jetty, located at 1000 Casey Key Road in Nokomis.

“The amount of enterococcus bacteria found during water quality testing on Wednesday, Sept. 28, was outside acceptable limits,” a news release says. The beaches remain open, but wading, swimming and water recreation are not recommended because of the potential negative effects on people’s health, the release adds.

“The rapid response teams from Sarasota County and the Town of Longboat Key have determined that the cause of the elevated bacteria levels is likely due to natural sources,” the release explains. “The current red tide algae bloom at these beaches has resulted in wrack lines containing numerous dead fish and [other] marine organisms. These wrack lines provide food for shorebirds and wildlife, which can contribute to elevated readings, the release points out. Recent rains in the area that wash accumulated pollutants — including bacteria from birds, pet feces and wildlife — into local waters are also an important factor in the situation, the release adds.

“Red Tide” advisory signs also are posted at all Sarasota County beaches because of the red tide bloom off the coast, the release notes.

The ‘No Swim” warning signage on the Longboat Key, Siesta, Turtle, Nokomis and North Jetty beaches will stay in place until follow-up water testing results meet the EPA’s recreational water quality standard, the release points out. The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH-Sarasota) expects to have the next round of test results available on Friday, Sept. 30, the release says.