Beaches north of Haulover Park reopen after moderate red tide algae levels found

HAULOVER BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - City officials have reopened Miami-Dade beaches north of the Haulover Inlet Friday morning, just a day after they were closed due to moderate levels of red tide algae in the water off Haulover Park.

The county received results late Wednesday, and out of an abundance of caution, all public beaches north of the Haulover Inlet were temporarily closed. The beaches have since reopened.

However, signs and warnings will still be posted in the area, notifying beachgoers of the hazards involved with the red tide.

For a while, red tide seemed to be strictly a West Coast issue, but it appears that it has made its way to South Florida.

Four areas in Miami-Dade County were tested including:

  • Haulover Beach
  • 79th Street
  • 22nd Street
  • Key Biscayne

Three of the four — near Miami Beach and Crandon Park — were found to have low to very low levels. However, the results were listed as moderate at Haulover Park.

County officials then decided to shut down these beaches.

“Haulover Inlet north to the county line, those beaches are actually closed in Miami-Dade County,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. “Those are the only places we actually got low to moderate; a little bit higher than low, which is moderate levels of bacteria, I guess red tide, and so that’s why we made that decision.”

Gimenez said that it’s not the same levels as it is on the West Coast. Our neighbors to the west have seen the algae blooms kill countless marine life. Gimenez told 7News that he’ll be looking to city leaders there for guidance.

Red tide produces toxins that can affect marine life as well as humans. Health officials advise people with respiratory conditions to avoid red tide areas.

“I bring my dog here. I come almost every day,” said beachgoer Dorian Zeidenweber. “It’s upsetting. It’s sad. We have our natural resources. In my opinion, they’re the most important thing we have, and we should take care of them.”

Some Haulover Park regulars are rethinking weekend plans.

“No, no, maybe a couple of days. I think by Monday, Tuesday, it should be nice, but there goes the weekend,” said Haulover beachgoer Normal Levin. “I get the coughing after 10-15 minutes. I get the coughing.”

Meanwhile, tourists from Russia said the red tide won’t stop them.

“We are from Siberia. If we are alive from Russia from Siberia, so nothing is going to stop us. Nothing is going to kill us here,” said Haulover beachgoer Katya Yogodina.

The beaches that are closed have been shut down for the safety of residents and visitors.

“We didn’t want somebody going out there and getting affected and then us not doing what we have to do and alert the people, ‘Hey, there’s red tide here, there’s moderate levels of red tide here,'” Gimenez said. “We’re going to continue to get counts.”

Earlier this week, all beaches in Palm Beach County were shut down due to red tide. However, officials decided Thursday that they will also reopen Palm Beach County beaches from Jupiter to Boca Raton Friday morning.

They said all marine life washed up on the sand will be picked up.

Palm Beach officials noted that although this is a hazard at the moment, they decided to open the beaches and continue to sample the water weekly to decide what level their beaches are at.

Beaches in Broward County are still waiting for their results. The sample taken earlier this week had an issue, delaying the test results. Results will be ready by Friday.

“While we wait on the official test results, we can tell you that based on our observations, we are seeing conditions that lead us and the Fish and Wildlife Commission to believe that the red tide algae is present off the waters of Fort Lauderdale Beach,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis. “Fort Lauderdale and other beaches in Broward County are open.”

Despite the lack of confirmation of red tide, lifeguards in Deerfield Beach are flying red and purple hazard flags, asking beachgoers to stay away from the water.

“As soon as I go near the water, I start sneezing and my nose burns,” said beachgoer Leah Sosa. “We’ve been here for like an hour, and we’re like, ‘We gotta go.'”

Some saw dead fish wash on the shore in Deerfield Beach.

“We saw a whole bunch of dead fish,” said beachgoer Cheyenne Rebbert, “a barracuda, jellyfish, red snapper, a big blue fish, and they keep cleaning it and cleaning it, and there’s just more and more coming.”

Beachgoer Courtney Jones said the fish were large. “As they run over the fish, you can see the dead fish underneath they had previously already run over,” Jones said. “We’ve never seen this, and we go out after hurricanes. Even after hurricanes, you don’t see this many dead things. It’s sad.”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wants the public to contact them if they see dead marine life washing up in their area.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott decided to allot $3 million to the red tide crises, but many 7News spoke with said he should have done something a long time ago.

Red tide can cause headaches, eye and throat irritation and problems for people with respiratory issues.

With these beaches reopening Friday, the Florida Department of Health says swimming is safe at most of them, but people with severe respiratory problems should still avoid those red tide areas.

Still, some beachgoers said they won’t let the red tide hamper their vacation.

“It’s OK to come out and enjoy the sun. I don’t think we’d go in the water,” said beachgoer Pat Jones. “We’ll stay away from the water for the time being. We’re monitoring the situation here. They’re supposedly coming out with the results today.”

For more information on red tide, click here.

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