SARASOTA, Fla. — Governor Ron DeSantis upheld one of his campaign promises by signing a bill into law to mitigate the impact of red tide along with blue-green algae blooms.
"This was one of the most productive sessions that we've had in Florida in a long time in terms of protecting Florida's waters and resources," DeSantis said during a press conference he held to sign the bill.
Companion bill SB 1552 will provide funding and research for Florida red tide mitigation and supports technology development, according to the Senate's website.
"There's going to be more resources, this was the first huge step for resources," DeSantis said. "I think the good thing is there was a lot of support throughout the legislature. The legislature responded very positively, and I think it's because the public responded very positively."
With the signing of the bill, $18 million will be provided over the next six years to develop tests and technologies to help mitigate red tide along with researching the health effects of algal blooms on humans.
He signed the bill at the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. Mote says it will work with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, or FWC, to mitigate both the impacts of red tide and blue-green algae.
DeSantis discussed the addition of federal government funding, including $200 million to restore the Florida Everglades. The bill will also be a combined effort of state funds and private funding from Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium.
Mote's President and CEO, Michael P. Crosby, said he's appreciative of the historic level of support demonstrated by the current legislature and Gov. DeSantis.
"When it comes to dealing with red tide, Governor DeSantis walks the walk and talks the talk," Crosby said.
The Florida governor also outlined plans for a "chief resiliency officer" in charge of reacting to the impacts of red tide and blue-green algae. The resiliency officer will be in charge of the new "blue-green algae task force" to track algae blooms in freshwater and marine ecosystems and report directly to the governor.
The bill will even involve the creation of a smart phone app. The app will include science collaboration with an ability for fisherman and others to report the spread and location of red tide.
His administration says the bill involves a combination of lab tests and field studies that will yield large-scale testing and applications to "enhance systems to support red tide forecasting, response and impact control strategies."
DeSantis says the plan will also include protecting against flooding and hurricanes throughout the state, along with reducing nutrients to Lake Okeechobee.
Gov. DeSantis and his administration add that science will continue to be at the forefront of their efforts.
"Red tide mitigation is foundational to our prosperity as a state," DeSantis said.
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