Environmental

Red-Tide Sludge Could Flood Miami During King-Tide Season, City Warns

Red-Tide Sludge Could Flood Miami During King-Tide Season, City Warns
City of Miami
click to enlarge CITY OF MIAMI
City of Miami
King-tide season is coming soon. That's when huge swaths of Miami-Dade County flood on sunny days as the moon pulls South Florida's already-rising oceans onto the land.

But this year, toxic algae has brought stinking, poisonous, fish-killing red tide to town. And though scientists have not yet confirmed whether the algae behind the disastrous phenomenon has reached Biscayne Bay, the City of Miami is already encouraging residents to avoid touching any floodwater.

"The City of Miami will be conducting water quality tests along Biscayne Bay today out of an abundance of caution due to the approach of red tide to beaches in Northern Miami-Dade County," the city announced today in a media release. "The City of Miami will continue monitoring the situation ahead of king tide this weekend. King tides are expected to start Saturday, October 6, through October 13, 2018. City Officials recommend avoiding contact with floodwaters during this time."

Miami-Dade officials today closed Haulover Beach, which sits on the north end of the county. News outlets filmed local cops driving ATVs on the beach while wearing Mad Max-style gas masks in a perfect visual representation of what Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature have done to the state in the past eight years:
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber announced today that red-tide concentrations in his city are, for now, in the "very low to low" range, compared to the "medium"-level algae floating by Haulover. In Broward County, beachgoers have spotted dead fish and gross piles of seaweed lining the shore in Deerfield and Fort Lauderdale.


To put things mildly, red tide is bad for South Florida. Other areas of the state have been dealing with the scourge for weeks or months, and some beachfront businesses have had to close because of the toxic fumes wafting from the sea. The brown sludge is also killing fish and manatees. Visitors and first responders have told local TV outlets they were forced to leave the beach after suffering coughing fits. Sounds great for tourism!

This ecological disaster is unquestionably the fault of those running Florida. Though red tide does occur naturally, water pollution and lax monitoring standards contribute to algae blooms. As New Times noted earlier today, Governor Scott chopped roughly $1 billion from local water-management districts and loosened standards that let people dump septic waste into waterways.

Scott, who could still win the 2018 Senate race against Bill Nelson, was chased by environmental protesters at a September campaign event in Tampa. "Red Tide Rick" ducked out a back door to avoid talking to anyone.
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.