On Wednesday Governor Ron DeSantis announced he would be committing nearly $14 million in the next state budget to help combat red tide. The funding will go to research FWC is conducting and the Mote Marine Laboratory, in addition to providing grants through the DEP for red tide cleanup.
With Wednesday’s investment, since 2019, $40 million has been invested in addressing red tide, from detection to mitigation.
$4.8 million is included in the budget for the Center for Red Tide Research at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. 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.
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.