"Love Seaweed, Love Sea Life" Outreach Campaign
Galveston Island is a popular beach destination, located on the Gulf Coast just 50 miles south of Houston. While the island receives visitors year-round, its peak months for visitation take place during summer when millions of visitors flock to its 32 miles of beaches. This heavy visitation period also coincides with the Gulf’s heaviest time for seaweed, which typically washes up on Galveston’s beaches May through August. The Galveston Park Board of Trustees, which manages the island’s public beach parks, does not remove seaweed from the beach because of its environmental benefits. Instead, it brushes seaweed away from the shoreline to create easier access to the Gulf for beachgoers. While some visitors don’t seem to mind the seaweed, a portion of vocal visitors find offense to the sight and smell of seaweed, labeling Galveston’s beaches as “dirty” in social media posts, complaints to the Park Board and other communications. In addition, for legal and budget purposes, in 2012 the Park Board altered its seaweed policy to no longer provide seaweed maintenance services to beach areas outside its jurisdiction. This change most drastically impacted the stretches of beach on the East End and West End where beach house rental properties are present.