We were lucky for the last few weeks, but we’re now seeing the effects of red tide on our beaches.
Over the weekend (September 15 and 16), the Karenia brevis harmful algae bloom (HAB) had moved into our area “with a vengeance,” according to news reports. On Monday afternoon, WTSP Channel 10 Action News had this report.
Our partner, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, tells us that the latest daily water samples analyzed by Pinellas County for red tide are showing eight locations with high concentrations and three with medium along the coast as of Sunday evening.
From the latest VSPC advisory:
The high samples came from Indian Rocks Beach, Redington Shores, Redington Beach (La Contessa), Madeira Beach (Archibald Park beach access), John’s Pass, Treasure Island, Pass-A-Grille (22nd Ave. beach access) and the Gulf Pier at Fort De Soto Park. Medium samples came from Sand Key (Clearwater Pass area), Gulfport and the Bay Pier at Fort De Soto Park.
Visitors and locals can find updated beach conditions for our entire coast at BeachesUpdate.com, which is updated twice a day.
Pinellas County is continuing rigorous clean-up efforts with contractors for red tide related debris in both the Gulf of Mexico and intracoastal waterway, as well as on the beaches, as they did all weekend long. Reference Pinellas County’s page for information on who to call for clean-up assistance.
Forecasts over the next three days show net southern movement of surface waters and net southeastern transport of subsurface waters. The National Weather Service is predicting strong onshore flow through the middle of this week, which will continue to push the red tide toward the coastline.
Pinellas County Environmental Management has worked diligently with our beach communities to mitigate the volume of dead marine life washing ashore from the algae bloom that proliferated about 22 miles offshore. Still, by Monday afternoon (September 17), the odor of dying fish was overpowering in some parts of the county, including Treasure Island and Madeira Beach.
We have a variety of links that can help you understand the impact of red tide on our beaches, but please note that most of the readings for this harmful algae bloom ( HAB ) are taken on weekdays by MOTE Marine Laboratory, Pinellas County Environmental Management, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Their reports are available on the links below, but will often be a full day behind.
Here is the most recent set of news reports that we found with a Google search for Red Tide Pinellas County.
For those of you who want the most recent information about red tide and its impact along the Florida coastline, we suggest following these links:
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium for tracking app
Ocean Circulation Group for tracking harmful algae blooms
Florida Department of Health for precautions to take
Pinellas County Environmental Management for local impact
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater for visitor information and beach news
People whose respiratory systems are compromised are advised to wear filtering masks when they visit the beaches. Swimmers should be diligent about rinsing off after swimming in affected Gulf or Bay waters, and if your pets enjoy a romp in the surf, be sure to rinse their coats thoroughly after visiting the beaches.
Please visit our Chamber’s Facebook page for daily updates, and to share your observations.