Sarasota, Fla. — Today, 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.”
Photo Credit: Governor’s Press Office
“Our economy, health and quality of life are tied to the well-being of our environment,” said Senate President Bill Galvano. “The Florida Red Tide Mitigation and Technology Development Initiative will help our state develop technologies and approaches needed to address the control and mitigation of red tide and its impacts. I appreciate Governor DeSantis’ support for this important legislation and for his ongoing advocacy for innovative, science-based solutions that will help Florida address ongoing environmental concerns that impact communities across our state.”
“The bold environmental agenda set forth by Governor DeSantis and the passing of this legislation are turning points in the State of Florida’s approach to our challenging water quality issues,” said Senator Joe Gruters. “I am proud to have sponsored this legislation to help better protect our natural resources by mitigating the harmful effects of red tide.”
“I was grateful to carry this good legislation in the House and I thank my colleagues and Governor DeSantis for helping us get it over the finish line,” said Representative Michael Grant. “I commend the Governor’s steadfast commitment to finding innovative solutions to our water quality challenges and I look forward to the contributions that will come from the collaboration between FWC and Mote Marine.”
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.
“We want to thank Governor DeSantis for his leadership in prioritizing Florida’s natural resources,” said FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton. “With his support and our strong partnerships, we can accelerate our understanding of the causes and explore the possibilities of managing red tide.”
“Successful algal bloom recovery and response are dependent on science, collaboration and innovation,” said DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein. “The Governor’s direction and leadership has ensured that Florida has the needed resources, and that we are using the best science to prioritize these efforts so that we can accomplish the water quality improvements set forth in Governor DeSantis’ executive order.”
“We are grateful for a historic level of support demonstrated by this year’s state legislature and Governor DeSantis for addressing significant environmental challenges to our coastal marine environment,” said Dr. Michael P. Crosby, Mote Marine President & CEO. “Governor DeSantis stated in his inaugural address that the quality of our water and environmental surroundings are foundational to our prosperity as a state, and that together we will fight red tide – clearly he doesn’t just talk, he follows through with action. Mote welcomes the opportunity to serve in a leadership role for the Florida Red Tide Mitigation & Technology Development Initiative, in partnership with FWC and a number of our partners. This initiative provides vital and consistent funding for science-based solutions to impacts from red tide that negatively affect our state’s environment, economy and way of life.”
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.