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Galveston Seaweed Invasion

Giant seaweed threatens Galveston's beaches on Memorial Day, but officials insist it's a friend

Galveston seaweed 2014 KHOU 2
The tons of seaweed that's poured onto Galveston's shores this week might be a problem for beachgoers. KHOU 11 News
Galveston seaweed 2014 KHOU 1
Vehicles are at work clearing the shore for Memorial Day. KHOU 11 News
Galveston seaweed 2014 KHOU 2
Galveston seaweed 2014 KHOU 1

While many Texans flock to Galveston's beaches to celebrate the Memorial Day weekend each year, there's a potentially plan-changing menace looming this holiday weekend.

Enormous mounds of seaweed have piled up on Galveston's shores as of late, causing a rather messy and smelly situation for beachgoers.

"It's smooshy and stinks really bad," Houston resident Amanda Molina tells Houston's KHOU Channel 11. "We are really disappointed that it's like this, it's really gross."

 "I think people who come down here regularly are used to it. It doesn't really bother them." 

Scientists at Texas A&M University say this is the second huge wave of seaweed that's deposited itself on Galveston's shores this year, and more may be expected before Memorial Day Monday.

Galveston's Convention and Visitors Bureau notes the seaweed is a natural phenomenon which serves a purpose — preventing erosion and providing a habitat for wildlife.

"Seaweed is our friend," Galveston Convention and Visitors Bureau rep Ivette Wilhelm insists to KHOU. "It's nature's way of protecting our environment."

Galveston officials will not remove the seaweed, but will be moving it to allow beachgoers access to the water as it naturally decomposes. 

"Crews are out every single night, they start at midnight (and) work through the morning hours," Leah Cast of the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau tells the Houston Chronicle.

Tourism officials said they don't expect the recent mounds of seaweed to impact business on the island.

"I think people who come down here regularly are used to it," Wilhelm said. "It doesn't really bother them."

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