Sargassum removal was officially underway on some South Florida beaches Friday as crews began cleanup efforts of the pesky patches of seaweed.
South Florida's beaches are a hot spot for tourists, as well as locals, but the recent seaweed build-up has driven some beachgoers away. On Friday, the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces department decided to do something about it.
Beaches in the area between 26th and 31st Street in Miami Beach were the first to be cleaned, and the department will fund the removal of seaweed by Haulover Beach and Government Cut next week, according to a press release.
Heavy machinery will dispose of the build-up at a landfill. The magnitude of the sargassum build-up changed the way it is traditionally disposed: buried in the sand for natural decomposition.
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.
The seaweed poses health risks and definite economic impacts. Researchers have said the sargassum seaweed problem is not likely to go away anytime soon but for now, the short-term fix of seaweed removal will be of great benefit to South Florida.