Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announces funding for red tide research, mitigation

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds a news conference Wednesday in Clearwater. (Florida Governor Pool)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday announced nearly $14 million in the 2022-23 state budget will continue to support red tide research and mitigation technologies.

DeSantis made the announcement at an afternoon news conference in Clearwater.

This funding will support research efforts through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Mote Marine Laboratory in addition to providing grants through the Department of Environmental Protection for red tide cleanup.

With the latest investment, since 2019, $40 million has been invested in addressing red tide, from detection to mitigation.

“Since my first week in office, I have been focused on protecting Florida’s environment,” DeSantis said. “Not only do red tide blooms affect our coastal waterways, but impacts of blooms can also negatively impact businesses and decrease tourism. We will continue to proactively work with local partners to ensure Florida is at the forefront of innovative technologies to mitigate against harmful blooms.”

In the upcoming budget, $4.8 million is included for the Center for Red Tide Research at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.

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.

The upcoming budget also 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 budget.

The upcoming 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.

DeSantis has said he will sign the 2022-23 budget in the coming weeks.