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Water-Related News

Pinellas County cleanup nets nearly 1K tons of red tide debris

Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long told a panel of environmental scientists and Gulf Coast business leaders Wednesday efforts to mitigate red tide are in full swing and will continue as long as the massive algae bloom threatens Florida beaches, fisheries and recreation.

Pinellas County has 13 boats collecting dead fish and conducting monitoring activities in local passes and intracoastal waterways. In addition, the county also deployed four beach rakes, four loaders, five all-terrain vehicles, one lift operator and 22 temporary laborers to clear local beaches and shorelines affected by red tide.

As of Sunday [Oct. 14], the county had collected 973 tons of red tide-related debris, including 165 tons following Hurricane Michael, which hit Florida’s panhandle Wednesday and pushed the algae bloom closer to shore.

Experts had hoped the hurricane would break up red tide or push it further offshore, mitigating adverse effects. That didn’t happen; instead, the storm pushed more dead fish to shore.

County water quality monitoring Monday showed high concentrations of red tide at Sand Key Park, Redington Shores and Indian Rocks Beach. Other sample sites showed lower levels than previous reports.

The next county monitoring will take place Wednesday [Oct. 17].