National Guard called to assist in Grand Isle seaweed cleanup

FOX 8 photo
FOX 8 photo
FOX 8 photo
FOX 8 photo

GRAND ISLE, LA (WVUE) - The National Guard has been called to help remove piles of red seaweed from the beaches of Grand Isle.

Grand Isle Mayor David Camardelle states that National Guard officials evaluated the area Wednesday and began cleaning up seaweed Thursday morning.

It's a big relief for local business owners who were worried the beaches wouldn't be ready for the next big summer holiday.

"I was flabbergasted by what I saw, three foot deep, four foot deep, and coming in strong. Brown waves, I said well there goes our summer," said Rickey Collins who owns Jo-Bob's Gas and Grill.

But now, Collins says things are looking up. Grand Isle crews have been working around the clock to clear out red seaweed that started piling up a few weeks ago. After 12 days of 18-hour shifts, town beaches in Grand Isle are looking back to normal.

"The seaweeds not coming in anymore, thank God for that. Our next move is going in towards the state park," said Chris Hernandez the street supervisor.

The beaches at Grand Isle State Park and Elmer's Island still need work. With July 4 next Friday, the National Guard will focus its efforts there. The guard brought in 14 people, along with two bulldozers and two front-end loaders to help finish the job.

It's a little bit of reassurance for business owners like Collins.

"This Fourth of July is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, holiday. We couldn't survive without this time of the year," said Collins.

About a month ago, Grand Isle residents first started noticing the red, thick seaweed each wave brought to shore. Within a few days, the red stuff seemed to be everywhere.

Biologists with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries say its normal for seaweed to wash ashore this time of year, but this amount is highly unusual and they're not sure what's causing it.

So far there haven't been any adverse effects on marine life but Wildlife and Fisheries biologists continue to monitor the situation.

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