PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday announced he had approved $14 million in red tide research and mitigation efforts, earmarked for the 2022-23 state budget.
The governor made the announcement during a news conference held at a beachside restaurant in Clearwater, one of the many coastal locales that DeSantis credited with keeping Florida’s tourism numbers relatively healthy during nationwide lockdowns in earlier stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We understand that, yes, these red tide blooms have been recorded for hundreds of years. We understand they happen, but we also believe that we need to do whatever we can to mitigate the effects,” DeSantis said. “You know, you see, if there’s one little bloom somewhere like off the coast of Sarasota, you know, the Media will act like it’s in every part of Florida, so it does affect people who work in tourism and hospitality, the restaurants because sometimes people think that somehow this is going- so we really want to put resources to bear both for research and mitigation.”
The dedicated funding included $4.8 million for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Research Institute and $3 million for the Florida Red Tide Mitigation and Technology Development Initiative, a partnership between Mote Marine Laboratory and FWC.
DeSantis said the new funds will mark $40 million in total spending on algal bloom research during his tenure as governor.
“If you look at the four years before I became governor, (during) those four years there was a total of $2.5 million that was allocated to address the research and mitigation of red tide. Once I make this announcement today, for my four years, we went from $2.5 million to $40 million for these efforts, so we’re excited about it,” DeSantis said.