State of emergency as Florida battles algae

State of emergency as Florida battles algae

The Red tide is toxic and it has been killing thousands of marine animals, leaving beaches and shorelines covered with dead wildlife.

The order declared a state of emergency for seven Florida counties grappling with a red tide algae bloom that is lasting longer than usual, CBS Miami reported. This funding will help Mote Marine deploy additional scientists to assist local efforts to save animals affected by the naturally occurring red tide, including manatees, dolphins and sea turtles.

Another $500,000 will go to VISIT FLORIDA, so the agency can support local tourism officials in mounting a campaign to try to bring visitors back to the red tide zone - which stretches more than 100 miles from Sarasota almost to the tip of the state.

Located in Sarasota, Mote is on the front lines of the red tide disaster. Lee County will use this additional funding to enhance the county's efforts to clean local waterways from impacts caused by red tide.

The naturally and frequently occurring marine phenomenon is caused by an influx of microscopic algae called Karenia brevis, which give water a namesake reddish hue. "It's very dependent on the strength and direction of winds and currents, and red tide can also feed off nutrients and runoff from land".

More than 100 tons of dead fish have been removed from area beaches, NPR reports, and officials say they're anxious about the tide's impact on tourism.

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"Since 2011, our unemployment has dropped by more than 7 percent, and we've created more than 1.5 million jobs", Scott said.

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

In 2005, for example, a bloom started off the coast of St. Petersburg, Florida, in January and then spread to Pensacola and Naples by October, persisting for the majority of the year.

Sarasota County's environmental staff and County Health Department (CHD) leadership has been in contact with city and county government and Visit Sarasota to coordinate messaging and provide template signage, website links and creative materials. Marine biologists are investigating whether the deaths are related to red tide.

Richard Stumpf, an oceanographer who studies Red Tides for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said: "It's a bad bloom by any standard". Skin irritation, swollen lips, eye irritation, earaches and sore throats are other symptoms people can experience if they swim in water during a blue-green bloom, although swimming or any other contact with the water is not recommended.

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