Governor Rick Scott today announced that he is directing an immediate $765,000 to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to support red tide response. This funding will be used to support the response of additional scientists and fund additional field and laboratory equipment. Governor Scott also announced that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has committed nearly $1.3 million in grant funding to Atlantic Coast Communities to support efforts to mitigate the impacts of red tide. This includes a commitment of more than $522,000 to Indian River, $500,000 to Palm Beach, $100,000 to St. Lucie, almost $75,000 to Brevard, and $100,000 to Miami-Dade counties.
Governor Scott said, “As red tide has affected Florida’s coastlines, we have taken action to combat the effects of this natural phenomenon. To date, more than $12 has been provided to communities impacted by red tide and the additional funding we are directing today will go directly to local governments as they combat red tide’s effects. As we fight red tide, nothing is more important than supporting local efforts to protect our environment and we will continue to provide every available resources to mitigate this issue and help our communities recover.”
Eric Sutton, Executive Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said, “The continued support from Governor Scott is vital in our continued response to this event. Additional equipment and staff will enhance our ability to generate and transmit near real-time data on the location and severity of the bloom statewide.”
This funding is part of the grant program that was launched in July by DEP, which has identified a total of $12.4 million in funding for red tide. This is in addition to the nearly $2.2 million to test innovative technologies to mitigate the effects of red tide, including expansion of Mote Marine Laboratory’s Ozone Treatment System, $1.2 million announced for FWC’s redfish hatchery,$100,000 for Mote Marine 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.
In total, DEP has provided funding to support efforts to battle red tide in the following counties:
- Committed more than $5.3 million for Pinellas County;
- $750,000 for Manatee County;
- More than $265,000 for Collier County;
- Nearly $1.5 million for Sarasota County;
- More than $330,000 for Charlotte County;
- Committed $500,000 for Palm Beach County;
- $100,000 for St. Lucie County;
- Nearly $75,000 for Brevard County;
- Committed $522,000 for Indian River County;
- Committed $100,000 for Miami-Dade County; and
- $3 million for Lee County.