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Mote's Beach Conditions Report(TM) Now Includes Information on Oil Impacts on Florida Beaches


The Beach Conditions Report(TM), created by Mote Marine Laboratory in 2006 to provide up-to-date information about red tide impacts on local beaches, expanded on April 30, 2010, to include impacts from the oil spill created when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig sank in the Gulf of Mexico on April 22.

So far, there have been no reports of oil on any of Florida's beaches.

The Beach Conditions Report covers 33 beaches along Florida's Gulf Coast from the Panhandle south to Collier County. Reports, provided by specially trained observers, are updated twice daily at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. 365 days a year. Each report is time stamped so that the public knows when it was last updated.

Reports are provided by lifeguards, parks personnel and beach patrol officers who use PDAs to upload information directly to the web via special interface designed by Mote. The Reports can be viewed online at www.mote.org/beaches. The public can also sign up there to receive reports about particular beaches via e-mail or call 941-BEACHES to listen to Reports over the phone.

The Beach Conditions Report(TM) already included several types of information:

  • Whether dead fish are present and whether there is respiratory irritation among beachgoers
  • Water color and wind direction
  • Whether and where red drift algae are present
  • At beaches with lifeguards, reports on rip currents are also provided.

Now, the Beach Conditions Report will also include a category called "Gulf Oil Spill Impact" with the possible responses of "none," "in the water" or "on the beach."

Adding the new category and receiving information about impacts from those workers stationed at Florida's beaches will allow Mote to gather regular snapshots of what's happening along Florida's coast.

Since the oil rig sank, Mote has received numerous inquiries from the public regarding the oil spill and what will happen in Florida, so it was only natural to find a way to incorporate the information into our beach reporting system, said its creator, Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick.

"We created the Beach Conditions Report in 2006 so that we could provide information that the public needed and wanted concerning red tide," Kirkpatrick said. "Over the years, we've continued to add new categories that give the public additional information about our beaches. The potential impacts from this oil spill are quite large, so we thought it important to add this new category as well."

Florida beaches included in the Beach Conditions Report are:

  •     Escambia County: Pensacola Beach
  •     Okaloosa County: Fort Walton Beach, Henderson Beach State Park and Destin Beach
  •     Gulf County: St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, both Gulfside and Bayside
  •     Franklin County: St. George Island State Park, both Bayside and Gulfside
  •     Pinellas County: Caladesi Island, Fort DeSoto Park
  •     Manatee County: Manatee Beach, Coquina Beach
  •     Sarasota County: Lido Key, Siesta Key, Nokomis, Venice North Jetty, Venice Beach, Manasota Beach
  •     Lee County: Bowditch Point Park, Lynn Hall Beach Park, Lovers Key State Park, Bonita Beach, Tarpon Bay Beach, Lighthouse Point, Newton Park and Little Estero   Island/Holiday Inn
  •     Collier County: Barefoot Beach, Vanderbilt Beach, Seagate Beach, Lowdermilk Park, Naples Pier, Tigertail Beach, South Marco Beach

Mote is seeking funding that will allow the Beach Conditions ReportTM to remain in effect past June, when the grants that currently support it are scheduled to end. For information on supporting the Report, please contact Mote's Development Office at (941) 388-4441, ext. 509.


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