Today, Governor Ron DeSantis joined the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to survey the impacts of the red tide bloom affecting southwest Florida and the Tampa Bay area. Governor DeSantis also provided an update on the state’s response efforts which include funding to cover cleanup costs, increased water quality monitoring and use of innovative technology to continuously image water samples.
“I directed all agencies to take an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach to respond to the red tide impacting the Tampa Bay area,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I want to thank DEP and FWC for their constant presence in response to this bloom. My administration is committed to continue ensuring that local needs are met to address this red tide event.”
The state has answered the Governor’s call for an “all-hands-on-deck” approach in response to the red tide bloom impacting southwest Florida and the Tampa Bay area.
- DEP is providing financial assistance to local governments to assist in cleanup efforts. To date, DEP has committed $2.1 million to Pinellas County to cover cleanup costs incurred for both Pinellas County and the City of St. Petersburg. DEP will continue to work with all affected counties that are in need of assistance.
- DEP and FWC have significantly increased monitoring and sampling efforts in Tampa Bay and the surrounding waters. When comparing June 2020 and June 2021, the number of samples processed in Tampa Bay has increased by 165%.
- FWC has also deployed a sampling robot — an innovative technology that provides unprecedented information about how many red tide cells there are at a given time and the behavior of those cells. The robot collects samples every 20 minutes and processed over 500 samples in the last week.
- DOH and county health departments have been working with local governments and partners to communicate health information to impacted communities, including placing signage in affected areas and distributing advisory community outreach through various mediums.