Please read the whole FAQ before posting questions and comments. Thanks!
What is June Grass?
Filamentous, floating marine algae from the genus Cladophora is called “June Grass” in Florida. It is not really a grass and it is present on Panhandle beaches in June and many other warm months.
Is June Grass harmful to people?
No, June Grass is not harmful to people who are enjoying the beach. Consuming it is probably not a good idea. It will get in your hair and in your bathing suit if you choose to swim while there is a lot of it in the water.
The worst thing about June Grass is that it can be smelly when it accumulates in large concentrations along the shore and begins to rot. This process can be harmful to fish and other marine life because the bacteria that are decomposing the alga can deplete the oxygen in the water in a process called eutrophication. I have seen this happen a few times when the June Grass is very bad. Odor and slime aside, June Grass is actually thought to be very beneficial and nourishing to our beautiful beaches.
When June Grass is heavy there may be other organisms in the mix such as sargassum, jellies (some sting, some don’t), and you may hear people talking about “sea lice”. Don’t be alarmed: there are no actual sea lice.
In this part of Florida the term “sea lice” refers to nearly-transparent stinging pieces of jellies, that have been broken off from the larger organism, usually because of stormy, rough ocean conditions. They can give you an itchy rash if they come in contact with exposed skin. Fortunately, this is usually very minor and is not directly related to the June Grass phenomenon.
Is there any objective measurement in the June Grass Grossness Index?
No, there is not. I just made it up and it is completely subjective. I make the measurements based on my observation of beach conditions. I may make it more scientific in the future, but I mostly do it to give readers an idea of what they will encounter when visiting local beaches.
Where do you make the June Grass reports from?
Most of the time I make my observations from the main beach access in Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. It is the easiest beach for me to access regularly. I sometimes make reports from Okaloosa Island or Dune Allen Beach. If I happen to post an observation of June Grass from another location I will specify the beach at that time. Beginning in 2014 I established the POST BEACH CONDITIONS HERE page, so readers could post updates themselves and I began taking reports from readers who emailed me photos.
Is this blog affiliated with any government agency or business?
No, it is not. I do it purely to amuse myself and others. That being said: the observations and opinions in this blog are my own and are intended for entertainment purposes only. I am not responsible for anything bad that may happen as a result of you using information from this blog. I am thinking about selling a few ads. However, you will always get a free and honest June Grass Report. Advertisers will never influence the content of beach reports. All subscriber contact information is 100% private and I will never share it.
Who takes the pictures?
I do, unless otherwise specified, and all rights are reserved on all images. Please contact me if you want to use something from this blog. In 2014 I started posting photos submitted by readers. By submitting photos readers agree to let me use them as I see fit but I always give them credit.
Why isn’t there a current June Grass Report posted?
I write The June Grass Report blog as a hobby. I have a lot of other outdoor hobbies that don’t necessarily involve the beach. Plus, I work full time. I do not post reports on red flag days because I do not encourage anybody to go in the water on a red flag. I will try my best to make sure there will be at least one June Grass Update per week from Memorial Day Weekend until Labor Day. During the off-season I may make occasional posts if I feel like it.
I want to visit during ________(insert month here). Will there be June Grass?
I don’t do predictions on The June Grass Report. Chances are that if you visit the Emerald Coast, during a month that (American) public schools are not in session, you will encounter June Grass in one form or another. It’s natural and there’s nothing to be done about it. If this is a huge problem for you then visit in a different month. October is especially nice here and so is April, if you can avoid the spring breaker college kids. If you have school-age children and vacation as a family then I strongly suggest southwest or east coast Florida, or perhaps south Texas if you really want to avoid the June Grass.
We’re thinking about coming down, should we cancel our plans?
If there has been a lot of rain then, yes, get your money back. Heavy rain causes runoff from the land, which fertilizes the Gulf and makes the June Grass worse. Plus heavy rain also increases the bacteria count in the water and the beaches get closed anyway. Sometimes a tropical storm will disperse the June Grass but not always. DO NOT COME IF THERE IS A TROPICAL STORM! You will just get evacuated!
We’re here and we already paid for our vacation. How can we avoid the June Grass as much as possible?
Our family/friends have been living here for years/we’ve been coming here for years. Why does the June Grass keep getting worse?
This is just my opinion but here’s what I think is going on: more people visit the area every year. All of them flush the toilet…a lot. Wastewater treatment may keep disease germs out of the Gulf but even treated water has increased “nutrients” (chemical compounds that help plants grow, like algae. Think lawn fertilizer). More people = more nutrients = more June Grass.