When a tourist visits a South Florida beach, they expect sand and sunshine. But huge patches of a seaweed called "sargassum" are filling the coast, leaving no room for beachgoers.
Chunks of slimy and stinky seaweed have been a common site at South Florida beaches since 2011, but have gotten worse in the last three years.
“We’ve seen an excessive amount of seaweed washing up on our county,” said Tom Morgan, Chief of Operations MDC Parks and Recreation.
Sargassum, better known as brown seaweed, extends 55-miles across the Atlantic and blankets parts of the Caribbean Sea. As sargassum travels, it builds into thick patches that become habitats for species like fish, turtle, birds, and crabs before nesting onshore.
To attack the problem, Miami-Dade County officials have begun to identify hot spots for seaweed removal. Beaches near jetties in Haulover and Bal Harbour and the sand between 26th Street and 31st in Miami Beach are just a few of the areas the county is sending crews to clean up.
To clear the nuisance, heavy machinery and dump trucks are being filled with the sargassum and are transported away from the beaches and into landfills.
The sargassum is not destroyed, but stored where it can maybe be useful in the future.