Governor Rick Scott today wrote a letter to the commissioners of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) regarding the impacts that naturally-occurring red tide is having on Florida’s Gulf Coast. In his letter, Governor Scott thanked the Commission for their continued work to research and mitigate the impacts of red tide and urged FWC to take the following action:
- Create the Florida Center for Red Tide Research, a new resource for local communities impacted by red tide;
- Re-establish the Florida Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force; and
- Request an increase of funding for red tide research during the upcoming 2019 Florida Legislative Session.
In August, Governor Scott issued Executive Order 18-221 declaring a state of emergency due to impacts of red tide. To date, Governor Scott has directed grant funding totaling $13 million for communities impacted by red tide and blue-green algae. This is in addition to the $1.2 million announced for FWC’s redfish hatchery, $100,000 for Mote Marie Laboratory’s red tide response, and $500,000 for VISIT FLORIDA to create an emergency grant program to assist local tourism development boards in counties affected by the naturally-occurring red tide.
Red tide is naturally-occurring algae that has been documented along Florida’s Gulf Coast since the 1840’s and occurs nearly every year.
Please find the full letter HERE.