Town Officials Using Heavy Equipment To Clear Vegetation Away

POINT LOOKOUT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The hot summer weather has been a mixed blessing for Long Island beaches — bringing large crowds, but also helping to fuel the growth of unwanted seaweed.

As CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported Wednesday, the sticky and stinky vegetation has fouled the beach at Point Lookout on the South Shore in particular.

Small children play along the piles of seaweed on the shore. They, like the adults, agree that the mucky piles of vegetation look disgusting.

“Yuck,” one of them said after picking up some of the seaweed.

With each wave, more of the seaweed rolls ashore, clumping several feet thick as far as the eye can see.

“It gets stuck in your toes,” said Sarit Ebrani of Great Neck. “Every wave that crashes is green. It’s horrendous. I can’t stand it.”

“Seaweed is just all up in your legs and your bathing suit,” said Danielle Krouse of Jersey City, N.J., “and you have to rip it out. It’s uncomfortable.”

“And it makes you not want to come to the beach sometimes,” added Devin Zorn of Merrick, “because if it’s too hot, you don’t want to sit by it and just have that smell engulfing you.”

Some beachgoers have been walking to the western edge of Point Lookout, beyond the jetty that is helping to steer seaweed toward the center of the beach. Town officials said they are using heavy equipment to try to clear it away.

“We do it twice a day – once before the beach opens and once after the beach closes,” said Hempstead town spokesman Mike Deery. “We obviously can’t do it while beachgoers are on the beach.”

The town said there is seaweed on the beach every summer, and that hot, humid weather is fueling its explosive growth this year. But some beachgoers said the town should be doing more.

“It’s probably hard to get every bit of seaweed, but I definitely think that they should have more people come help,” said Brooke Perry of Plainview.

Beach managers said they are making a dent in the mucky mess, and that cooler weather should help. But cooler weather is not in the forecast anytime soon.

Town officials also questioned whether nitrogen from sewage releases at the nearby Bay Park county treatment plant could be contributing to the rapid growth of the seaweed, CBS 2 did not receive a response Wednesday evening from Nassau County officials.

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