Tides still bringing, removing seaweed from county beaches

Red drift algae lines the shore on Lido Beach in early August. Photo by Norman Schimmel

Sarasota County beaches are continuing to show the effects of tidal activity with accumulations of seaweed on beaches, a county news release reported Aug. 15.

Subsequent tides are removing sizable portions of the seaweed, the release added.

Sarasota County Parks and Recreation staff is continuing to monitor all the beaches on a daily basis, the release said; large amounts of seaweed left after two complete tidal cycles are scheduled for cleanup.

Some beaches can be cleaned only by hand, depending on environmental conditions on a specific beach, the presence of threatened or endangered species, weather and crowds, the news release points out. No cleanups had been scheduled as of Aug. 15, the news release said.

Because Tropical Storm Debby in June resulted in the loss of almost all the stakes around sea-turtle nests in the county in June, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has advised both county staff and private beach-cleaning firms that no mechanical beach grooming on dry sand will be allowed until Sept. 8, at the earliest.

Mote Marine Laboratory had asked for the intervention, a DEP advisory said, to protect turtle nests.

Parks and Recreation Manager George Tatge told members of the Siesta Key Association during their Aug. 2 meeting that staff’s primary concern with any beach clean-cleaning efforts was public safety.

The latest county news release also pointed out that “seaweed, algae and other wrack line debris along the shoreline can help build and stabilize beaches and dunes. In addition, the organic matter contained within the wrack line provides a foraging and nesting habitat for resident and migratory coastal beach nesting bird species.”

Residents and visitors may call 941-BEACHES (941-232-2437) to get the latest reports on beach conditions. The hotline is updated twice a day, the news release says.

For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000 or visit www.scgov.net.