Preparing for Sargassum Influx: City Collaborates with County to Keep Beaches Safe and Clean

Over the next few months, you may observe a greater quantity of sargassum (seaweed) along our coastline. The city is collaborating with Miami-Dade County Parks to safely eliminate the excess seaweed from our beaches. Clean-up personnel are actively working every day to gather, remove, cut, and turn the accumulation of seaweed on the waterline throughout our 7.5-mile beach.

Before operating heavy machinery, a group checks for sea turtle nests and hatchlings every morning. After the survey is done, beach operations workers proceed to clean the beach until sunset, regardless of tidal conditions.

Why is it not possible to extract sargassum from the water before it reaches the shore?

Seaweed removal from the water before it lands on the beach is restricted by County, State, and federal environmental regulations.

Is sargassum harmful to beachgoers?

As sargassum decomposes, it emits a substance known as hydrogen sulfide, according to the Florida Health Department. Hydrogen sulfide has a foul odor, like rotten eggs. Although the seaweed itself is not hazardous to humans, tiny sea creatures that live in sargassum can cause skin rashes and blisters. Hydrogen sulfide can also irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions are more susceptible to these symptoms. However, the levels of hydrogen sulfide in areas such as the beach, which have a large amount of airflow, are not expected to cause health problems.

What are the advantages of sargassum?

Sargassum is essential for many marine species, including endangered sea turtles. After hatching on our beaches, the turtles travel to the sargassum to spend their juvenile years feeding and growing among the seaweed mats. It is also a significant component of shoreline stability. It provides nutrients to the coastline and can replenish areas damaged by hurricanes and storms, helping to maintain the resilience of our coastlines.