TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Part of Dunedin Causeway beach will be closed on Thursday as officials work to clean up the red tide that’s been impacting Pinellas County.
A spokesperson for Pinellas County says a “small portion” of the beach will be closed, but the causeway itself will stay open to traffic and pedestrians.
“The beach immediately southwest of the Dunedin Causeway drawbridge will be blocked off today while crews conduct Red Tide cleanup,” the spokesperson said. “A dumpster will also be located in that area throughout the course of cleanup.”
Tony Fabrizzio a spokesman for the county tells Eight On Your Side beachgoers may want to consider their options.
“The beaches on the opposite end of the county looked pretty good. Ft. Desoto to the south and Fred Howard in Tarpon Springs to the north. So even when red tide is present, it’s generally not present at all of our beaches,” Fabrizzio said.
According to the county, the beaches and boat launch further west of the area will not be impacted.
Small boats will be in Dunedin and around Clearwater Harbor to retrieve dead fish as part of the cleanup Thursday. Crews will also be cleaning and raking beaches as needed.
The county issued a red tide update on Wednesday after staff members flew over waterways to observe conditions. County staff also noted they’ve been getting reports of dead fish washing up on shores.
Here’s what they say they found, as of Wednesday afternoon:
- A bloom was spotted along the shoreline from John’s Pass to Clearwater Pass.
- A bloom was seen about one mile west of Clearwater Beach. The bloom extends to Caladesi Island and Honeymoon Island.
- Bloom activity described as “light in color” was noticed in the Intracoastal Waterway from the Anclote River to Belleair Causeway.
- “Significant numbers” of dead fish were reported at the seawall in Dunedin.
The Visit St. Pete Clearwater website is actively updating red tide information for local beaches. Notices were posted for the following beaches as of Wednesday night:
- Honeymoon Island: Medium levels of red tide conditions reported
- Clearwater Beach: Medium levels of red tide conditions reported
- Sand Key: High levels of red tide conditions reported
- Belleair Beach: High levels of red tide conditions reported
- Indian Shores and Indian Rocks Beach: High levels of red tide conditions reported
- North Redington/Redington Beach: Low levels of red tide conditions reported
- Madeira Beach: Medium levels of red tide conditions reported
- Treasure Island: Medium levels of red tide conditions reported
- Pass-a-Grille: Low levels of red tide conditions reported
Beachgoers like Jessica Chilton say it was a fun day out on the water albeit a bit foul smelling.
“We saw a lot of dead fish. Just floating around. Like every wave we would hit there were fish. The fish smell was horrible. And we went out on the jet ski’s and there are fish everywhere. It’s pretty sad,” Chilton said,
According to Pinellas County, conditions “suggests that the bloom activity is still moving north.” Researchers with the University of South Florida predict red tide blooms will continue moving north over the next four days, the county said.
- Tourists visiting Caspersen Beach were hoping to find shark teeth, not dead fish from red tide
- Manatee Co. ramps up red tide response, aims to keep dead fish, debris off beaches
- Sharks seen in Longboat Key canals are trying to avoid red tide, experts say
- ‘Death everywhere’: Tampa Bay residents continue to rally for policy change to protect local waters
- ‘This is an emergency’: Pinellas County residents call for change in state’s response to red tide