Galveston plagued by worst seaweed in decade

May 13, 2011 3:31:48 PM PDT
If you're heading to Galveston this weekend, you'll find more than sunbathers and seashells along the beach. You'll probably also find seaweed -- and a lot of it. We're told the problem on the island is the worst it's been in 10 years. Some of us don't mind it on a plate, but not wrapped around our feet.

"I never know what's in it," said Galveston resident Travis Martin.

Growing piles of seaweed are becoming a growing nuisance on Galveston Island.

One visitor said, "It's dirty looking and it stinks."

Leah Boyd with the Galveston Convention and Visitors' Bureau said, "This is the most seaweed they've seen in about 10 years."

Boyd expects the influx of the slippery, stinky, slimy seaweed around this time every year. The downside is that it coincides with the peak tourism season. Marjory Zoberski is visiting from California. It's her first time on the island.

"I've never seen so much," she said.

The beach patrol and park board clean up the shoreline. Their solution, for now, is to push the seaweed off, then eventually pile it up, where it dries up in the sun, and disappears over time.

"State regulations don't allow us to actually remove the seaweed from the beach, because it is a natural occurrence that helps the beach," Boyd explained. "So we can't remove it but we can push it away so that people can enjoy the beachfront."

Enjoy might be going overboard -- for now, they'll just make the best of it.

Martin said, "I just try to walk around it, walk through the patches in it, you know. Try to avoid it, because it is kind of icky."

Right now clean up is focused along the seawall between 16th and 61st streets.

When you get into the west end of the island, there's more private property which presents an issue of permitting in order to clean up the seaweed.


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