Unusually low tides have left Siesta Beach covered in seaweed, causing beachfront residents, hotel owners and area tourism industry promoters to worry about photos of the seaweed-covered beaches on social media.
County staff said the amount of seaweed was unusual and was related to algae and sea grass exposed by low tides. But, according to an email from Sarasota County Parks and Recreation Director Carolyn Brown to the County Commission, it is not necessary to use county resources to remove the detritus.
“We are hopeful the predicted rain, wind and cold weather coming will help wash out the seaweed naturally,” Brown wrote in an email to County Commissioner Nora Patterson and Visit Sarasota County President Virginia Haley.
According to some in the tourism industry, however, that won’t be soon enough.
Haley brought the issue to the attention of the Sarasota County Commission on Monday, pushing for county staff to remove the detritus (even though most complaints were coming from areas that were not part of the public beach), citing reports from some hotel owners along Siesta Beach that guests were posting pictures of the seaweed-covered beach on social media, potentially shining an unflattering light on the area’s top tourism draw.
“I am hearing from properties, especially near Point of Rocks/Sara Sea Circle, that the seaweed is pretty bad on the beach, and it is not (being) picked up,” Haley wrote in a Jan. 14 email to Brown. “They are experiencing guest check-outs, and this being the age of social media, there are more and more pictures being posted on social media showing the uncollected seaweed.”
Brown said she would reevaluate the situation after Wednesday’s afternoon high tide at 1:09 p.m.
Contact Nolan Peterson at [email protected]