ST. PETERSBURG (CBSMiami) – Joined by scientists and researchers, Governor Ron DeSantis held a roundtable discussion of the state’s effort to combat red tide at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg.
“We have made strategic investments in red tide research, mitigation, and communication efforts, but we cannot take our foot off the gas. My administration will continue to press forward to find solutions to the complex issues surrounding red tide,” said DeSantis.READ MORE: Fort Lauderdale Shaken Baby Case From 1984 Leads To Murder Charge.
After taking office, DeSantis outlined a bold approach to tackle Florida’s critical water issues, including the reactivation of the long-dormant Red Tide Task Force.
The task force adopted an initial short-term, top-priority focus on some key issues associated with red tide including public health, communications, management and response, and research.
Since 2019, the state has dedicated more than $14.5 million to the Center for Red Tide Research at FWC, which was created in 2019 at DeSantis’ request.
“Governor DeSantis has been a champion for conservation and the environment,” said FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton. “In the recent budget, the $4.8 million to continue supporting the Center for Red Tide Research was critical to the ongoing protection of our water resources. With the governor’s support, we’ve stepped up community science and volunteer networks, invested in automated monitoring technology, and improved our analytical capabilities.”READ MORE: COVID-19 Testing Sites In South Florida
WATCH: Gov. DeSantis Roundtable On Efforts To Combat Red Tides
Dr. Tom Frazer, Dean and Professor at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science and former Chief Science Officer, said red tides are a complex phenomenon and more research is need to learn about their dynamics.
“We do know, however, that increased nutrient delivery to our coastal waters can exacerbate red tide events and every effort should be made to reduce nutrient pollution. Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, the state is working extremely hard on that front,” he said.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Vaccination Sites In South Florida
In his first legislative session, DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 1552, which established the Florida Red Tide Mitigation and Technology Development Initiative, a partnership between FWC and Mote Marine Laboratory to develop technologies and approaches to control and mitigate red tide and its impacts. The bill provided a $3 million annual appropriation to the initiative for six years, totaling $18 million.