Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency due to impacts of red tide in Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
As a result of this executive action, more than $100,000 in additional funding will be given to Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium to increase response to red tide impacts.
Additional biologists and scientists will be made available to support local government's response to red tide as well. FWC has mobilized all available resources to mitigate red tide and officers have been actively helping with animal rescue and red tide reconnaissance work.
VISIT FLORIDA will also create a $500,000 emergency grant program to assist local tourism development boards in counties affected by the naturally-occurring red tide.
The governor released the following statement:
“As Southwest Florida and the Tampa Bay area continues to feel the devastating impacts of red tide, we will continue taking an aggressive approach by using all available resources to help our local communities. Today, I am issuing an emergency declaration to provide significant funding and resources to the communities experiencing red tide so we can combat its terrible impacts. This includes making additional FWC biologists and scientists available to assist in clean-up and animal rescue efforts, more than $100,000 for Mote Marine Laboratory and $500,000 for VISIT FLORIDA to establish an emergency grant program to help local communities continue to bring in the visitors that support so many Florida families and businesses.
“In addition to the emergency order, I am also directing a further $900,000 in grants for Lee County to clean up impacts related to red tide – bringing total red tide grant funding for Lee County to more than $1.3 million. While we fight to learn more about this naturally-occurring phenomenon, we will continue to deploy all state resources and do everything possible to make sure that Gulf Coast residents are safe and area businesses can recover.”
To see the full release from the governor's office on the emergency order, click here.