The Natural Resources Defense Council ranked the beaches by pollution and days closed. They say hurricanes and red tide became a big part of the problem.
The waters at Mashes Sands sparkle in the sun, just as they do on any other beach in Florida. But chemical tests lately prove the beauty is only skin deep. The water contains harmful bacteria.
Alan Rosier, a Wakulla resident, said, "I'm a little concerned about the beaches because it's one of our main tourist attractions and a lot of families who've lived here for years still enjoy it in the spring or summer."
The Natural Resources Defense Council Report from 2005 ranks Shired Island as the worst beach. Hagan's Cove is second, Cedar Island, Mashes Sands, Keaton Beach, Deckle Beach and Carrabelle Beach are all in there as well.
The group reports Mashes Sands is closed 73 percent of the time due to warnings or weather, but there's another problem. There's not much beach left. Wakulla County studies show the beach has lost around 200 feet to the Gulf waters.
Ray Gray with Wakulla Parks and Recreation said, "It's a shame it's been eroded so badly with the last few storms, and we've encountered such a problem just getting FEMA to put forward the money to make the corrections."
The county is tackling the issue two ways. First, they're working to get all surrounding homes off septic tanks and onto a sewage system. Second, they're asking for help from FEMA to shore up the shore line.
The county manager says he agrees with listing the beach as the one of the worst, and hopes the listing will get the beach some help. He says if this beach goes through two more rough storms there won't be a beach to worry about. It'll all wash away.
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