TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that the State of Florida will direct a $2,178,000 investment to test innovative technologies to mitigate the effects of red tide utilizing specialized clay field experiments and other innovative approaches for controlling and mitigating the impacts of red tide including expansion of Mote Marine Laboratory’s Ozone Treatment System. Mote Marine Laboratory has continuously and successfully tested the Ozone systems in both their tanks at the Mote Marine Laboratory aquarium in Sarasota and most recently in canals in Boca Grande. These systems have proven to successfully clean water, ridding it of the algae that causes red tide. Three additional mitigation technologies are also in development at Mote Marine Laboratory. Last week, Governor Scott announced a partnership between the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and world-renowned experts and scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Mote Marine Laboratory, the University of South Florida (USF) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to focus on using a form of specialized clay to quell the effects of red tide. Red tide is naturally-occurring algae that has been documented along Florida’s Gulf Coast since the 1840’s and occurs nearly every year. For more information on red tide in Florida, go to http://myfwc.com/research/redtide/faq/.
Governor Scott said, “As our state continues to battle naturally-occurring red tide along our Gulf Coast, we will stop at nothing to help our communities deal with this issue. Today, I’m proud to announce the latest of our aggressive actions to fight red tide and direct nearly $2.2 million to Mote Marine Laboratory to expand its Ozone Treatment Systems, and fund work of a new partnership between the state and world-renowned scientists that we announced last week between FWC, Woods Hole, Mote Marine Laboratory, USF and DEP to conduct new field testing of a specialized clay focused on quelling red tide.
“Last week, I urged FWC to create a new Florida Center for Red Tide Research and reconvene the Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force and since red tide began impacting our shores, we have directed more than $14 million in grants and other funding to combat this natural phenomenon. Florida will not stop working until our communities recover from red tide and the innovative and deliberate steps we have taken over the past week show our resolve to act quickly and do whatever it takes to get results for the families of our state.”
Dr. Michael P. Crosby, President & CEO of Mote Marine Laboratory said, “Mote Marine Laboratory welcomes this significant support from Governor Scott to build on the wealth of knowledge that has resulted from many years of impactful research collaborations with FWC and other partners by launching a rapid response initiative that will utilize applied science and innovative technology approaches for controlling and mitigating the impacts of red tide. The primary focus of this initiative will be to determine the most effective and ecologically sound methods for mitigating adverse impacts from the harmful algae, K. brevis, along the southwest Florida coast and canal systems. The initiative will be structured to rapidly examine novel potential mitigation products through laboratory, mesocosm and pilot-scale field deployments that may have applications for other harmful algal blooms throughout Florida and around the world.”
Last week, Governor Scott wrote a letter to the FWC commissioners urging the Commission to create the Florida Center for Red Tide Research as a new resource for local communities impacted by red tide, re-establish the Florida Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force, and request an increase of funding for red tide research during the upcoming 2019 Florida Legislative Session. See the Governor’s letter at https://www.flgov.com/2018/09/20/gov-scott-fwc-should-create-new-red-tide-research-center-reconvene-harmful-algal-bloom-task-force/
In August, Governor Scott issued Executive Order 18-221 declaring a state of emergency due to impacts of red tide. To date, Governor Scott has directed grant funding totaling $13 million for communities impacted by red tide and blue-green algae.