MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - There’s quite a stench in the sand in Miami Beach and other areas across the shores of South Florida.
That’s because a massive pileup of seaweed is once again causing a major mess, and getting a permit to chop it up has not been easy.
Blankets of seaweed have been stretching across Miami Beach for miles, emitting a bad aroma that makes it impossible for tourists to enjoy their visits to the beach, but the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has apparently been slow to give the green light to the county to clean it up.
“So I think we have someone who bureaucratically processes these [permits] that doesn’t quite understand the urgency on cleaning up the seaweed in order to maintain the tourist economy,” Eileen Higgins, commissioner for Miami-Dade District 5, said. “Fish and Wildlife Commission has not approved a permit for us to clean seaweed from our beaches since July 23.”
Under law, the county must obtain weekly permits from the state before cleaning up the beach with heavy-duty machinery. Before approval is given, FWC makes sure the impact to marine life, like sea turtles, is minimal.
“We can clean up the beaches and protect our sea turtle population,” Higgins said. “We’ve been doing it for years. It’s a sad situation that we have to apply for this every week when we have years of track record. It is the mission of the parks department.”
The county and Miami Beach Commissioners are urging the governor and state leaders to help them with the smelly situation.
“I would like to see that we get a season-long permit, given that the seaweed crisis … It happened last summer, it’s happening now,” Higgins said.
“There’s a new challenge, and we’ve got to change our rules and procedures to adapt to this new challenge,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said.
The FWC and the state approved Miami-Dade County’s permit to clean up the seaweed starting on Friday.
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