What is Sargassum?
Sargassum seaweed is a type of brown algae that drifts on the ocean surface, often accumulating in large, dense mats formed by wind and currents.
Sargassum itself is not harmful to human health, but tiny organisms that live in it can irritate skin with direct contact.
Sargassum Bloom Management
South Florida has been experiencing blooms of sargassum seaweed for many years. This year's bloom is the largest record-breaking bloom South Florida will experience. The Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt — the official name for the collection of floating brown seaweed that sprawls across 5,000 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the west coast of Africa — contained about 13 million tons of seaweed by the end of March, according to researchers at the University of South Florida’s Optical Oceanography Lab who have been monitoring the sargassum belt via satellite.
Research is ongoing about why these blooms are happening, and our Webinar featuring one of the world’s most respected sargassum scientists describes some of them. Broadly, scientists studying the sargassum blooms in the Caribbean agree that this is likely a symptom of global climate change, among other issues, including increased nutrient loads in our oceans.
The City is participating in the Sargassum Regional Exchange with Broward County, Miami-Dade County, Monroe County, Palm Beach County, and local municipalities to discuss the current state of the beaches and opportunities to coordinate the management of the Sargassum Belt's impact on our communities. We are committed to ensuring that our beach remains clean, safe, and enjoyable for everyone while protecting our natural environment. Broward Resilience Sargassum Overview
The City is required to have a permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to perform “beach cleaning” or the management of sargassum in our wrack line. With this permit, we can only run our beach tractor 10 feet seaward from the dunes and up to the median high water line (high tide line/wrack line). For public safety reasons and due to beach crowding, we run the tractor in the morning.
Because of all of these reasons, the beach is likely to have sargassum on the beach from the high tide line seaward after the tide comes in following the morning tractor run. We are not allowed within our permit to clean this section of the beach since the sargassum “wrack line” is an essential source of food for many animals we share the beach with, including sand pipers, crabs, and the endangered piping plover which may use our beach for feeding.
Our beach cleaning permit conditions do not change during these heavy strandings, and we remain diligent to complete our morning tractor runs.
Please note beach cleaning will diminish during inclement weather.
Beach Furniture and Flags
It is extremely important that the beach remains clear from pre-set furniture for the CIty to be successful with our daily clean up. In accordance with Sections 16-4 and 16-7 of the City Code, the practice of pre-setting beach furniture and the use of flags to designate areas on the beach are considered a violation of the City Code. Citations will be issued when this practice is observed. Beach furniture and other personal belongings cannot be stored on the beach and must be stored on private property.