By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
Red tide continues to concern Laguna Madre residents as fish kills have been spotted daily along South Padre Island’s gulfside beaches, as well as bayside accesses on both the Island and the mainland in Port Isabel.
According to red tide status updates available on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) website, moderate to high concentrations of red tide were reported along City beaches as of Monday, Sept. 28, the most recent day for which data was available.
Red Tide Rangers, working in conjunction with the UTRGV Coastal Studies Laboratory (CSL) on South Padre Island, have reported “high cell counts of Karenia brevis in the surf at Isla Blanca Park, at the boat ramp in Isla Blanca Park and in the Brazos Santiago Pass as of 8:30 a.m. (Wednesday) morning,” according to a statement released by CSL staffer, Lorena Longoria.
Local officials have scrambled to deal with the fallout from the toxic alga, including efforts to remove dead fish from city and county beaches, as well as making accommodations for various public events scheduled for this weekend.
“With the presence of red tide on South Padre Island, city officials have been closely monitoring cell concentrations and maintaining the cleanliness of our beaches,” said copywriter Nancy Botello in a statement released by the City Wednesday.
“City crews have been on the beaches every morning to clean up any fish that have washed ashore; the fish are then buried at the top of the dunes,” according to the statement.
“With Sandcastle Days taking place this weekend the City of South Padre Island will be taking extra precautions to keep the event running smoothly,” said Botello in the statement, adding that dust masks will be made available during the event, which is being hosted by Clayton’s Beach Bar.
Despite water samples still testing positive for moderate to high levels of the alga, things seem to be improving. On social media, local surfers have reported smaller fish kills and less severe respiratory symptoms.
For more information on the current status of red tide, visit online at http://tinyurl.com/pf6o5zc.
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