June Grass FAQ
Please read the whole FAQ before posting questions and comments. Thanks!
The June Grass Report does NOT do predictions! Please scroll down for more information.
What is June Grass?
Floating marine algae, probably 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 does not seem to be 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.
Where does June Grass come from?
I don’t know exactly but I have lived here for more than a decade and it seems to always come from the west, in the Gulf, NOT from the bays and freshwater inputs. It does seem like June Grass can be worse around freshwater inputs. I think this may be a nutrient issue.
When will the June Grass go away?
It varies widely and there is no way to know for sure. Sometimes it comes in then leaves…repeatedly…and sometimes it stays until October!
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, vacation as a family, and don’t want to deal with June Grass then I strongly suggest looking elsewhere.
We’re thinking about coming down, should we cancel our plans?
That is up to you. If there has been a lot of rain then, yes, get I would try to get my money back if it were me. Heavy rain causes runoff from the land, which fertilizes the Gulf and I suspect it 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?
I don’t know. My opinion is that it has something to do with increased nutrients in the water (see above).
What are these sea lice I keep hearing about?
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. However,the June Grass Working Group is developing a scientific way to measure June Grass. You can help with this.