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Governor Announces Nearly $14M in Funding to Fight Red Tide

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Photo courtesy NOAA
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This money will support dedicated research efforts through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Mote Marine Laboratory, in addition to providing grants through the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for red tide cleanup.

Clearwater - Wednesday May 4, 2022: In Clearwater on Wednesday Governor Ron DeSantis announced that nearly $14 million in funding is available in the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 budget to combat red tide.

This money will support dedicated research efforts through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Mote Marine Laboratory, in addition to providing grants through the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for red tide cleanup. Since 2019, $40 million has been invested in addressing red tide, from detection to mitigation.

“Not only do red tide blooms affect our coastal waterways, but impacts of blooms can also negatively impact businesses and decrease tourism.," said Governor Ron DeSantis. "We will continue to proactively work with local partners to ensure Florida is at the forefront of innovative technologies to mitigate against harmful blooms.”

$4.8 million is included in the budget for the Center for Red Tide Research at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI). The center was created at the request of the Governor in 2019 to improve statewide red tide monitoring techniques and conduct research to better track, predict, and mitigate the effects of red tide on Florida communities. As a result of Governor DeSantis’ leadership, since 2019, red tide sampling has increased by 68% and involves more than 60 partners across the state. Additionally, offshore sampling, where red tide originates, has doubled since 2019.

The Florida Red Tide Mitigation and Technology Development Initiative will receive $3 million to continue developing prevention, control, and mitigation technologies to decrease the impacts of red tide. In his first Legislative Session, Governor DeSantis signed Senate Bill 1552 to establish the Florida Red Tide Mitigation and Technology Development Initiative. The initiative is a partnership between FWC and the Mote Marine Laboratory and has an annual appropriation of $3 million for 6 years, totaling $18 million. Through this initiative, there are 25 projects currently underway, with some of the most promising having moved to field testing.

The Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget makes $20 million available for innovative technologies to combat harmful algal blooms and to support county governments in red tide cleanup efforts, with a minimum of $5 million dedicated to the red tide emergency grant program. These grants will support county governments with cleanup efforts in areas affected by red tide in order to mitigate the effects on visitors and residents in the affected areas. This $20 million investment will double the amount available in the current year budget.

The Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget also includes $1 million to the Department of Health to study the long-term effects of exposure to harmful algal bloom toxins, including red tide, on human health.

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Image courtesy Governor's Office
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