State Of Emergency Declared In Red Tide-Devastated Areas Of Florida

Pablo Tucker
August 17, 2018

Located in Sarasota, Mote is on the front lines of the red tide disaster.

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott did activate Florida's Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program for businesses impacted by the red tide outbreak. And it's not just the red tide and saltwater that people should avoid - toxic blue-green algae polluted the freshwater Caloosahatchee River and area canals earlier this summer.

Brand said that this is "not much of a problem anymore" because Florida authorities shut down shellfish harvesting during red tides. Scott promised $1.5 million in emergency funding. Fish and other wildlife have been washing up dead on beaches throughout Florida, including more than 300 sea turtles, manatees and even a whale shark that may have been killed by the phenomenon.

The water in Englewood, on the state's southwest coast, "smelled kind of funky, and then we noticed a few dead fish floating past", Cornell said.

- Senator Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) August 8, 2018You afraid of red tide coming to Tampa Bay beaches?

Continuation of enhanced water monitoring and testing by the Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to give scientists the best possible data to work with. Currently, it's at high levels in Lee County, and is also affecting Sarasota County, Charlotte County and Collier County.

Plus, $500,000 will be allocated to help local communities maintain their tourism industries, "that support so many Florida families and businesses". But the particular species that causes red tide blooms, which can literally make water look blood red, occur only in saltwater.

In humans, red tide can cause respiratory irritation, Weisberg said, but it's usually temporary unless the person suffers from severe or chronic respiratory conditions, such as asthma or chronic lung disease. Manatees that require longer ongoing care are relocated by the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership.

But we can't predict exactly when a bloom will begin and end, because that depends on things we can't project. "And that greatly inhibits our ability to predict what will happen next". "We don't know that".

"I called on the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] to help with the algae & red tide crisis here in Florida", Nelson tweeted.

It remains to be seen whether a single year of altered wind patterns will turn out to be an isolated deviation or part of more long-term changes in climate, he cautions.

"It seems pretty damned obvious there is a connection", said Mitsch, before adding a cautionary note: "But that doesn't mean there actually is one".

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