Governor Ron DeSantis signs bill to mitigate harmful effects of red tide

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Credit: Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office

Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 1552: Florida Red Tide Mitigation and Technology Development Initiative. The bill establishes the Florida Red Tide Mitigation and Technology Development Initiative as a partnership between the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute and Mote Marine Laboratory to develop technologies and approaches to control and mitigate red tide and its impacts.

This legislation supports the objectives of Executive Order 19-12, signed by Governor DeSantis just two days into his term on January 10, 2019. The executive order called for expedited action to protect and restore waterbodies of the state. Additionally, the Governor’s recommended budget prioritized increased research and a focus on science, and the exploration of innovative technologies to address and mitigate harmful effects of red tide and blue-green algal blooms.

“Innovative technologies will play a vital role in our continued efforts to address water quality issues facing our state and I’m confident this partnership between FWC and Mote Marine will advance our knowledge in this area,” said Governor DeSantis. “I thank the Florida Legislature for their support in addressing these environmental challenges that increasingly threaten our fragile ecosystems and the way of life for so many Floridians.”

The Florida Red Tide Mitigation and Technology Development Initiative is required to submit an annual report, beginning January 15, 2021, containing an overview of the initiative’s accomplishments and priorities to the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Executive Director of FWC.

The bill provides for an annual appropriation of $3 million beginning in the 2019-2020 fiscal year and through the 2024-2025 fiscal year from the General Revenue Fund to FWC for the purpose of implementing the bill.

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