Overview - Beach and Water Quality

Columbus Day Weekend Update of Beach and Water Quality Conditions


Beach Cleaning

The Village's beach maintenance contractor will be on the job daily to remove seaweed and otherwise clean the Village beach.


Beach Water Quality: Bacterial Monitoring

The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) Miami-Dade most recent weekly sample collection for bacterial monitoring (Enterococus) in Key Biscayne took place on October 1, 2018. Results, available here, showed that all four sampling locations recieved a status of GOOD. The locations are Key Biscayne Beach (Beach Club), Crandon Park North, Crandon Park South and Cape Florida Park.


Red Tide Monitoring

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) launched a new interactive daily sample map on Thursday, October 4. The status of red tide water sampling is updated on a daily basis at 5:00 p.m. Click on individual dots in the map for sampling details at each location. Note that the map contains the last eight days of sampling.


Additional information is available at the FWC Red Tide Current Status webpage.


Sampling of beaches on October 1 by Miami-Dade County's Natural Resources Division included one Key Biscayne site in Crandon Park. The seawater samples were analyzed at the FWC laboratory. Results showed 13,000 cells per liter at two locations: at the swim buoy near the beach and in open water 1.5 miles east of the beach. 13,000 cells/liter is just above the threshold from very low to low as shown in the FWC table below.


Another round of sampling occurred this week that also included additional locations. Results are pending completion of laboratory analyses. They will be posted at the FWC Daily Sample Map.




Karenia breviscells/liter

Possible Effects (K. brevis only)



background levels of 1,000 cells or less

None anticipated



>1,000 to 10,000

Possible respiratory irritation; shellfish harvesting closures > 5,000 cells/L



>10,000 to 100,000

Respiratory irritation, possible fish kills and bloom chlorophyll probably detected by satellites at upper limits



>100,000 to 1,000,000

Respiratory irritation and probable fish kills




As above plus discoloration

King Tides

Be advised that the annual King tide cycle will begin on October 6 and continue through October 12. The highest of the King tides will be at 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday, October 9th as shown in this tide table.

Standing water may occur, without rainfall, in roadways and low elevation parking lots as seawater comes up through the ground.






The beach is an integral part of life in Key Biscayne. The Village maintains the beach with routine daily raking and grading. Additional cleaning activities have been added to deal with excessive seasonal seaweed (Sargassum) accumulations in recent months.


Saltwater quality is checked weekly at four Key Biscayne Atlantic beach locations by the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) as part of their Healthy Beaches Program. Supplemental testing was implemented in September 2018 at three locations (two Atlantic beach, one Biscayne Bay); this effort is a partnership of the Key Biscayne Community Foundation, Miami Waterkeeper and the Village.


Small to moderate amounts of Karenia brevis, a naturally occurring marine alga that causes most red tides, were observed in Palm Beach County waters by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in late September 2018. Precautionary testing is underway in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Results are available at the links below. 


Follow the links below to more information on these topics.

  • Seaweed Information and Beach Maintenance
  • Beach Water Quality
    • Red Tide (K. brevis) Monitoring
      • Update 10/4/18: Village officials participated in a conference call at 2:15 pm with officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC), Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM), Miami-Dade County Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Florida Department of Health Miami-Dade (FDOH-MDC) and local municipalities. Our objective is to prepare, but not scare, people by providing information about red tide. We are monitoring the sampling, led by DERM, and analyses led by FWC. Residents should be aware of possible respiratory effects that are associated with red tide. Higher levels of red tide, called blooms, could result in fish kills. If you see dead fish on the Village beach, call (305) 365 5555 as soon as possible. 
      • Breaking News 10/4/18: Miami-Dade County and Mayor Gimenez tweeted red tide test results. Results for Haulover Park in North Dade were moderate; Haulover and beaches to north were closed as a precaution. The Mayor reported that samples off Key Biscayne and Miami Beach show very low to low presence of red tide; see Memorandum here (PDF). We are waiting for official statements from the authorities, including the Department of Health in Miami-Dade County (Environmental Health), Miami-Dade Environmental Resources Management (DERM) and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC).
      • External Link: FWC Red Tide Status web page
      • External Link: FDOH Aquatic Toxins-Red Tide web page
      • External Link: Mote Marine Laboratory Daily Beach Conditions website

"To provide a safe, quality environment for all islanders through responsible government."


© 2013 Village of Key Biscayne   |   88 West McIntyre Street   |   Key Biscayne, FL   |   33149   |   (305) 365-5511   |   feedback@keybiscayne.fl.gov


Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records.
If you do not want your email address released in response to a public records request,

do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing.