Seaweed swallowing up Galveston's beaches

GALVESTON, TX (KTRK) -- It's being called the worst seaweed invasion since the 80's, and Texas A&M researchers said Friday, it won't be going away anytime soon.

For miles along Galveston beaches, tall mounds of seaweed or sargassum are rotting and have become Galveston's worst attraction.

"I've never seen anything like it," said Gary Palmer who is visiting the Island with his family from Kansas. "It's pretty amazing. Didn't even know there could be this kind of seaweed here."

On Friday, Palmer and his young children used the seaweed to build dams and other sandy sea creators.

"It overwhelmed the system and not just Galveston, but the whole Texas coast suffered the same thing," said A&M researcher Robert Webster. "Is this something that dealing with the climate, or just a part of the cycle just outside of the realm that we've studied so far?"

Palmer said seaweed invasions usually happen every 6 years, but never like this since the 1980's. Palmer said the reason for the heavy season is because of cold fronts that kept the seaweed in nutrient-filled waters longer. And the sargassum keeps coming.

"Hopefully it doesn't stay around for too too long," said Seawall business owner William Cram. "If at all anything, we are using it as a learning experience for our surf campers."

The clean up will take some time. It's cost Galveston millions of dollars. And Palmer suggested things may not get much better for the Fourth of July weekend.
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