HARLINGEN — With the aid of wind, tide and current, South Padre Island’s beaches are clear of high levels of bacteria.
Two days after Texas Beach Watch issued a report of high levels of fecal bacteria in the Island’s waters, levels Thursday were deemed low at six monitoring stations and medium at the Bougainvillea station.
The high bacteria count added some insult to the come-and-go red tide problem along the resort beaches this summer.
City officials said this week no beach alert had been issued for the bacteria, and their prediction the bacteria colonies would quickly dissipate proved correct.
Environmental officials said the cold front which came through this week from the northeast pushed water flowing out of the Laguna Madre into the Gulf of Mexico southward from the Port Mansfield Cut. Usually the water is pushed north by a prevailing coastal current in the gulf.
That break in the barrier island at Port Mansfield is where the Arroyo Colorado’s waters flow into the gulf, and it was the arroyo which was responsible for the high fecal bacteria levels.
Officials said the high bacteria count in the arroyo is due to animal waste being washed into the stream by the recent heavy rains in the area.
The Red Tide Rangers, a group which monitors conditions along South Padre’s beaches, reported declining cell counts of red tide in gulf waters late Thursday afternoon.
The Rangers found red tide aerosol levels also had declined, describing them as “slight,” and no fish kills were observed.