GULF SHORES, Ala. (WALA) - Recent rough surf and storms in the gulf caused Alabama's normally white, pristine beaches to turn brown with seaweed. This led Gulf Shores city leaders to take measures to clean it up.
The Goetz family and friends have spent the last week enjoying their vacation on Gulf Shores' west beach. Besides rough surf last weekend and the heat, they've had one more problem. Seaweed blown ashore during the rough surf littered the beach in front of their rental home.
"It was about ten feet wide of seaweed right here all concentrated in a line all the way down through here," said Jeff Goetz from Kentucky.
The Gulf Shores City Council approved $11,000 Monday night to pay a contractor to clean the beaches from the public beach- west to Laguna Key. Work started Tuesday and was completed Friday morning.
"Seaweed on the beach is a very difficult thing to deal with when you have amenity beaches and when it gets old and starts to decay, the organisms in the seaweed - they start to rot," explained Grant Brown with the city of Gulf Shores. "It becomes a public safety issue as well as being unsightly to our industry which is the tourism industry."
The contractor used hay balers to gather the seaweed and then pushed it into piles. Once the contractor gathered all the seaweed, they dug holes in the surf line and buried it a minimum of three feet deep.
"Fish and Wildlife Department is who we look to take good care of our resources and our environment along the coast, and they suggested and we did what they suggested and that is that you clean this up, remove any trash that's in the seaweed, clean it up into rows and bury it about three feet into the sand," Brown said. "It will very quickly decay."
For the Goetz family, having a nice, clean beach for the last few days of their vacation was a welcome sight.
"Like we had to jump over it a lot because like when we were walking down to the beach it would hit our feet and hurt," said young Emma Brasher.
The last time Gulf Shores had to put this many resources towards seaweed cleanup was during the BP oil spill. That seaweed was gathered and taken to a designated landfill.
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