June Grass Reaches Emerald Coast Beaches

By: Drew Steele Email
By: Drew Steele Email

As the month of august rolls on the beaches of the Emerald Coast are experiencing warmer temperatures and calmer waters. Perfect environment for an aquatic plant known as "June Grass" to thrive.

"Well it gets the name June Grass because it typically comes in every June. But last month we had a lot of red flags and a lot of surf, so it's now august and we're getting the June Grass in" said South Walton Lifeguard Supervisor Chris Lambert.

The plant-like algae is seasonal to the area. It usually grows for a few weeks before the surf washes it ashore to decompose or carries it back out into the gulf.

"When it's near shore and they have to walk through it, it's kind of like soup. We nickname it pocket snot because it gets in everything” said Lambert.

"It can come as fast as overnight and it can go away just as quickly, but we do get it on occasion" said Visit South Walton Communications Director Jon Ervin.

A few years back the algae piled up as high as three feet in some areas of the beach.
Ervin says the green algae does have a purpose though, giving back to the ecosystem it came from.
"It's an important part of the ecosystem in fact in some of the nutrients that comes to shore and feeds the dunes so it has a purpose" said Ervin.
Not all beaches are experiencing June Grass. Lifeguards say it all just depends on climate.


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