Workers removing some of the sargassum from local beaches
In an effort to provide a satisfactory Memorial Day weekend for our incoming guests, Gulf State Park staff undertook a massive cleanup of the sargassum seaweed in front of beach access locations where beachgoers concentrate. The seaweed has been washing ashore in waves from Pensacola Pass all the way west to Mobile Pass as well as Little Lagoons beaches in Gulf Shores.
City of Orange Beach staff has also been working diligently to remove seaweed from its public swimming access points. Sargassum seaweed is a natural occurrence that renourishes the beach and provides further stability for sand dunes.
Orange Beach public works staff with assistance from beach chair vendors, did its best to clean up the immense amount of sargassum on its beaches, using tractors to drop the sargassum off at the dune line and then adding sand on top of it to help with decomposition. Sargassum is a natural solution for dune restoration and this method should promote dune growth.
Below are some interesting facts about this sargassum seaweed:
• Sargassum seaweed floats on top of the water like a raft and can stretch for miles in the open waters.
• This seaweed serves as an essential habitat for many marine animals. In fact, it acts as a nursery for young sea turtles, crabs, and many fish species like mahi mahi, jacks, triggerfish and more!
• When sargassum loses its buoyancy and sinks to the seafloor, it provides energy in the form of carbon to fish and invertebrates that live in these unique deep sea habitats. Thus acting as an important part of the food web.
• It is great for composting and is frequently used as fertilizer.