Message from Brevard County EOC
Water Tests For Red Tide Taking Place Along Brevard County’s Beaches
BREVARD COUNTY, FL. – Water tests conducted Tuesday with Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) and Wildlife Research Institute on a strip of Melbourne Beach at Ponce de Leon Park will be used to determine whether algae related to red tide has made it into the waters off Brevard County’s southern coastline. It’s anticipated test sample results will be available Wednesday.
Brevard County has been monitoring the spread of red tide which has progressed from the Gulf Coast of Florida to the east coast and gradually, up the coastline to Indian River County. “Brevard is fortunate that red tides don’t make it up the east coast to Brevard County very often and don’t usually last for long here. The state only adds testing on the east coast when symptoms arise,” said Virginia Barker, Director of Brevard County Natural Resources Management Department.
Natural Resources staff, however, is also pulling water samples from beaches further north as a proactive measure.
This week, reports from beachgoers between Sebastian Inlet and Indialantic have begun to indicate they believe red tide may have reached southern Brevard County. Coordination efforts were already underway in Brevard County, which has reached out to other agencies in the event problems associated with red tide, such as fish kills or health-related issues that could affect beachgoers, were realized here. Some sporadic reports regarding respiratory issues and minimal sightings of dead fish have been reported on south beaches since Monday.
Agencies already working with the County include the Florida Department of Health, FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Keep Brevard Beautiful and the Tourist Development Council.
According to the Florida Department of Health, breaking waves can cause red tide-related toxins to become mixed with airborne sea spray, creating problems for beachgoers, including eye, nose and throat irritation. Symptoms will likely subside once a person leaves the beach area, but people with chronic respiratory conditions like asthma or lung disease are advised to avoid areas with active red tides. Brevard County Fire Rescue Ocean Rescue, which has lifeguards stationed along the beach, has reported receiving some complaints from beachgoers, but beaches remain open.
The Department of Health has posted answers to frequently asked questions about red tide and its health risks at this link: http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/aquatic-toxins/red-tide.html.
Information can also be found at this FWC link: http://www.myfwc.com/research/redtide/contact/