My region is a mecca for sun worshipers and more recently gamblers…..
I live on the Gulf Coast and we have people on our beaches year round…..but for the last couple of months the beaches have been empty…..the only activities has been the machines used to groom the beaches…..why is this?
Ship Island Excursions has survived hurricanes, global recessions, a world war and a host of economic challenges since the ferry company began taking passengers to the barrier islands that dot coastal Mississippi in the 1920s. But this year, a new threat has emerged: an explosion of blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, that has shut down virtually all of Mississippi’s beaches since July 4.
No one knows when the algae will disappear, and many wonder how many businesses that operate in the region will survive the hit.
“Beach vendors have been wiped out,” said Louis Skrmetta, operations manager for Ship Island Excursions. “I’ve never seen something so dramatic. It’s very similar to the BP oil spill…people are frightened to just walk in the sand.”
Scientists have never seen anything like this before in the ocean off’s Mississippi coast ― blue-green algal blooms are normally confined to fresh-water species. Mississippi officials say the bloom is the result of record flooding this year in the Midwest, which has pushed a deluge of polluted, nitrogen-rich water down the Mississippi River. It has forced state officials to issue water and health advisories warning people to stay out of the water and to avoid contaminated seafood.
Oysters are big business down here and 90% of the reefs are dead and will take years to come back.
The only creatures that are enjoying the serene days are the several bird species that use these beaches for nesting.
Plus the casinos have helped some of the businesses survive this down turn….a hit below the belt to a region that depends on the waters and beaches of the Gulf for their livelihood.
We will make it through….we did for Katrina and then from the BP spill and now this…..a lot of hits and the people keep smiling and trying…..am hardy bunch indeed.
“Lego Ergo Scribo”