Red Tide

EG Simmons Park


Red Tide Status in Unincorporated Hillsborough County
Levels at the mouth of Tampa Bay range from background (> 0-1,000 cells/liter) to Low (> 10,000-100,000), with the majority being in the Low concentration level.

Source: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

What is Red Tide?

A red tide is a harmful algae bloom caused by a higher-than-normal concentration of a microscopic algae. In saltwater marine environments along Florida’s west coast and elsewhere in the Gulf of Mexico, the species that causes most red tides is Karenia brevis, often abbreviated as K. brevis. The naturally-occurring phenomenon has been documented in the southern Gulf of Mexico as far back as the 1700s, and along Florida's Gulf coast in the 1840s.

As red tide blooms approach coastal areas, breaking waves can cause the toxins to mix with airborne sea spray. People in coastal areas can experience varying degrees of eye, nose, and throat irritation. When a person leaves an area with a red tide, symptoms usually go away. People with severe or chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic lung disease are cautioned to avoid areas with active red tides.

Clean Up Efforts by Hillsborough County

  1. Hillsborough County is actively monitoring County beaches and nature preserves adjacent to Tampa Bay which include Wolf Branch Creek and Cockroach Bay.

    Does Hillsborough County have a plan to place waste bins at several locations along local waterways or private canals?   
  2. Can waste be taken to the County’s solid waste locations? YES 
  3. The County has contracted with a vendor to clean local waterways, beginning with the most affected areas

Status of Public Beaches in Unincorporated Hillsborough County

Resources for Residents and Visitors

Resources for Businesses

Report Fish and Wildlife Impact

  • Fish Kill Hotline: Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, (800) 636-0511. Or submit a report online.
  • Wildlife Alert Hotline: (888) 404-3922