Green Guide

Algae bloom known as red tide back in parts of South Texas

Posted September 16

— It was a normal day on the beach, except for the eel and small fish dead on some parts of the shore.

Not even that stopped people from taking a stroll on the sand, dipping their toes in the water or sitting in a beach chair under the hot sun.

The Valley Morning Star (http://bit.ly/2csNqV2 ) reports they're not alone in continuing their enjoyment of the Gulf of Mexico in what appears so far as a milder case of red tide still hovering a ways off the shoreline.

Yummies Bistro owner Ernie Del Rio said the red tide that rolled in earlier this week has not made a big difference on the Island so far.

He said of the many customers who have dined in, only a few people have complained about the red tide bothering them.

"People should enjoy the beach, and be prepared if something does happen," said Tony Reisinger, Cameron County extension agent-coastal and marine resources, Texas Sea Grant and Texas Agrilife's extension service. "Red tide is something that we have to learn to live with it now."

Reisinger made sure to explain that red tide is not a monster.

"I encourage fisherman to go fishing," Reisinger said. "We have not seen any dead fish out on the bay."

He said there have been some reports of mild aerosol in some areas and moderate- to high-cell counts of red tide in the water.

Reisinger said the aerosol the red tide is emitting into the air is mild and a simple dust mask will help filter out the aerosol.

He said the Red Tide Rangers have been recording moderate cell counts over the week.

The red tide Rangers is group with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Coastal Studies lab on the Island.

Reisinger said the highest cell counts of red tide are at the Brazos Santiago Pass where it meets Laguna Madre near the boat ramp at Isla Blanca Park.

"It is in the bay but we have not seen any fish kills washing ashore on the Island," Reisinger said.

Reisinger said red tide is making more of an impact off shore.

On Wednesday a Red Tide Ranger volunteer reported large red snapper and about 30 fish were floating dead about 17 miles out from shore.

"It's not looking good out there," Reisinger said. "So far the Island has dodged the bullet."

He attributed the mild aerosol to the recent weather.

"The cells don't break a lot with light wind and waves," Reisinger said.

That's different from last year's red tide appearance, which was worse and later in the season. It lasted for several weeks and impacted beach events and tourism.

Red tide has been occurring more often now than in the 1980s and 1990s.

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