- Associated Press - Saturday, September 26, 2015

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) - An estimated 8,000 volunteers removed trash from 21 Texas beaches on Saturday in a cleanup effort that had to be scaled back due to a “red tide” algae bloom, a state official said.

The 29th annual Texas adopt-a-beach fall cleanup stretched from Beaumont to Corpus Christi, said Renee Tuggle, a Texas General Land Office official who coordinated the effort.

She said nine beaches farther south, some with fish kills, were dropped from the cleanup due to the red tide - a reddish bloom that that can cause fish kills and shellfish poisoning in humans who consume it, and can emit vapors that can cause breathing troubles.

“People are talking about it, which is a good thing, because we definitely want to get the word out that it’s not safe to be out in that kind of environment,” Tuggle said. “We didn’t want to put anybody at a safety risk.”

Tuggle, who has been involved in the program for 13 years, said she believes it’s the first time in the cleanup’s history that a red tide forced areas to be avoided. Beach cleanups were dropped in Port Aransas, and southward to South Padre Island in the Rio Grande Valley.

The algae bloom showed up this month along coastal parts of the state, according to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, which reported concentrations near Pelican Island, Port Aransas, Port O’Connor, Corpus Christi Bay, South Padre Island, the Lower Laguna Madrea and the Brazos Santiago Pass.

Tuggle said the cleanup usually draws about 10,000 volunteers, but it still did well with the smaller number of people. She spent Saturday morning at the beach cleanup in Galveston.

“This is a family-friendly event. We do have all ages here, from 3-year-olds to all the way up to senior citizens,” Tuggle said. “Everybody likes to do their part.”





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