Sea Lettuce (Ulva lactuca)

Sea Lettuce

Rhode Island is blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in the Northeast. Facilities are generously spaced along the coastline, and each has attractions of its own. Some areas, though, are also vulnerable to sea lettuce.

Sea lettuce, or Ulva lactuca, is green algae that lives near and below the low tide mark. When it becomes stranded on the shore, it can form large mats. As these mats decay they can produce a foul, rotten egg odor. Once the sea lettuce begins to decompose, it becomes gelatinous and is nearly impossible to remove. There is little that can be done to eliminate the foul odors.


The best way to protect against odors from sea lettuce is to Get it While it's Green! When the tides deposit sea lettuce along the waterfront border of your property, grab some gloves and a rake, gather it up and dispose of it in yard waste bags. For further information please contact the department.