Red Tide Ranger class for volunteer training Saturday at SPI

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A Cameron County employee walks the beach picking up litter at Isla Blanca Park on South Padre Island on July 19, 2022. A trace of red tide was detected at two beach accesses there last week. (Denise Cathey | Coastal Current)

Registration for the annual Red Tide Ranger training is open for the classroom instruction that will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 30, at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Coastal Studies Lab at 100 Marine Lab Drive, in Isla Blanca Park, on South Padre Island.

The training is open to Texas residents and Winter Texans.

Registration is via email at [email protected]. There is a $15 fee payable to RGVCTMN, which will be collected the day of class; cash or check is preferred. Seating is limited to 25. Please arrive prior to 9 a.m. to sign in and get a receipt. Parking is available across the road from the Coastal Studies Lab building.

Red Tide Rangers are part of the Texas Coastal Naturalist program, which is sponsored by Texas Sea Grant, Cameron County, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Gladys Porter Zoo, Sea Turtle Inc., and the UTRGV Coastal Studies Lab.

Tony Reisinger, Cameron County Extension Agent for Coastal & Marine Resources with Texas Sea Grant at Texas A&M University, and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, supervises Texas Coastal Naturalist training. The Sept. 30 class meets a requirement for certifying as a Red Tide Ranger and Texas Coastal Naturalist. Reisinger also is one of the sponsors for the two Valley Texas Master Naturalist chapters: Rio Grande Valley Chapter and South Texas Border Chapter.

Reisinger created the Red Tide Rangers in the 1990s as a unique volunteer group to provide a public service and augment Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) real-time public health information gathering and dissemination during critical red tide conditions.

Texas Coastal Naturalists are trained first responders for coastal natural emergencies. They may also serve as interpretive guides and assistants for the Coastal Studies Lab’s marine science educational programs.

Texas Coastal Naturalist certification requires training in three areas approved by the program, two of which are required to be emergency responses: harmful algal blooms such as red tides; marine mammal strandings; sea turtle nest monitoring and cold stun events; and oiled wildlife.

Additional training courses may be offered, such as beach ecology, fish printing, weighmaster training and other advanced courses as deemed applicable, according to the Texas Coastal Naturalist website at

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A trace of red tide was briefly detected at South Padre Island