Gov. Rick Scott on Monday issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency because of the severe red tide affecting Florida's west coast.
The order directs money to help Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
It gives $100,000 to Mote Marine Laboratory to assist with animal care and $500,000 to VISIT Florida to establish an emergency grant program. It also designates $900,000 to Lee County for red tide cleanup.
In a press release, the governor said:
“As Southwest Florida and the Tampa Bay area continues to feel the devastating impacts of red tide, we will continue taking an aggressive approach by using all available resources to help our local communities. Today, I am issuing an emergency declaration to provide significant funding and resources to the communities experiencing red tide so we can combat its terrible impacts. This includes making additional FWC biologists and scientists available to assist in clean-up and animal rescue efforts, more than $100,000 for Mote Marine Laboratory and $500,000 for VISIT FLORIDA to establish an emergency grant program to help local communities continue to bring in the visitors that support so many Florida families and businesses.
“In addition to the emergency order, I am also directing a further $900,000 in grants for Lee County to clean up impacts related to red tide – bringing total red tide grant funding for Lee County to more than $1.3 million. While we fight to learn more about this naturally-occurring phenomenon, we will continue to deploy all state resources and do everything possible to make sure that Gulf Coast residents are safe and area businesses can recover.”
In the past week, 11 bottlenose dolphins have been found dead in Sarasota County.