Where machines cannot reach, volunteers help clean up red tide mess

Manatee County is calling on volunteers to help clean up the putrid mess that red tide continues to dump on its shores.

On Wednesday, volunteers were asked to meet on the south side of the Palma Sola Causeway for a clean up event starting at 7:30 a.m. The effort comes a day after county officials declared a state of emergency due to red tide.

Manatee County has tried to keep up with the smelly situation by hiring private contractors to clean up and remove more than 100 tons of dead fish, but officials said the contractor’s equipment can’t reach every part of the shoreline. So, they’ve asked for volunteers to help in areas that can only be reached by human hand. 

Red tide can actually feed off of the fish and animals it kills, wildlife officials said, so it’s important to remove decaying marine life as quickly as possible. 

Red tide FAQ: What is it, and where does it come from?

Parks and Natural Resources staff members will provide pitchforks, latex gloves, buckets and basic masks to volunteers who want to help. Officials are also encouraging volunteers to bring their own equipment to add to the effort. 

Volunteers should wear comfortable clothes that they don’t mind getting wet, as well as closed-toe shoes. For safety reasons, those with breathing issues or respiratory sensitivities are asked not to put themselves at risk by participating in these clean-up events. 

Volunteers on Wednesday were asked to meet on the south side of the causeway, across from the boat ramp and should look for a truck with the word “Ranger” on the side. A second clean up event will be held Thursday, August 23, at the Perico Reserve from 7:30 to 9 a.m. 

For more information, click over to the official Facebook event.