Seaweed cleaned up on Siesta and Lido beaches

According to county protocol, workers waited a couple of days after seaweed began washing ashore on Siesta Public Beach before they cleaned it up, waiting to see whether it would wash back into the Gulf of Mexico. Photo by Norman Schimmel

On Saturday, Sarasota County workers cleaned up seaweed that had come ashore on Siesta Key Public Beach starting Thursday, July 19, George Tatge, a county parks and recreation manager, told The Sarasota News Leader today, July 23.

Workers probably would haul the approximately five truckloads of seaweed to the county landfill late today or on Tuesday, July 24, Tatge added. It has been drying out in area off the beach.

“It’s not terrible,” Tatge said of the beach situation. “It’s a very low-level seaweed issue at this point.”

The seaweed has been reported from Manasota Key all the way to Longboat Key, Tatge said. However, county workers are unable to reach many beaches to clean them, he added. “Siesta is probably the easiest beach to clean because it is so flat and stable.”

Tatge pointed out that workers did not clean up the area north of the public beach because beach-nesting birds feed on the vegetation.

Maintenance crews were redeployed to Lido Beach on Wednesday, July 25, Tatge said, though he had no information about how many truckloads of seaweed they removed from that beach.

Tatge added that he believed the situation was improving along the length of the county’s coastline. He had had no phone calls about seaweed July 26, he said. “They call me when it’s really bad.”

He said he suspected the combination of drift algae and seagrass was a product of Tropical Storm Debby’s effects on the Gulf of Mexico. The storm sat in the Gulf for several days before finally coming ashore in the northern part of the state on June 26.