Rick Scott (R) declared a state of emergency on Monday as a months-long red tide continues to spread throughout the region's waters, killing hundreds of turtles and sickening people in coastal communities.
The order extends to Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
Red tide is doing a number of Florida's Gulf Coast, leading Gov. The Sunshine State has not seen a bloom of this magnitude in more than a decade. It now covers about 120 miles of coastline and recently moved northward.
The marketing campaign would be aimed at helping those communities rebuild their tourism after the bloom is over, not while it's still going on, Lewis said. Mote Marine Laboratory has also been given $100,000 for cleanup and rescue efforts, the statement says. Scott's office said the money would enable the lab to "deploy additional scientists to assist local efforts to save animals affected" by the bloom.
"Mote is committed to understanding how Florida red tide blooms form, persist and dissipate, how they affect human and animal populations and whether bloom impacts can be controlled or mitigated without adding additional stress to our critical ecosystems", according to the release.
Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties are now under a state of emergency due to the toxic algae bloom, and his office added in a statement that "red tide is a naturally occurring algae that has been documented along Florida's Gulf Coast since the 1840s and occurs almost every year". It is the second emergency order issued by Scott this summer.
The effect kills marine life and thousands of dead fish as well as dolphins, turtles, manatees and more have been washing up on shores and clogging waterways. Once it's near land, it intensifies because of pollution from septic tanks, sewage leaks and fertilizer from farms and suburban lawns. The first one targeted the blue-green algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee and its adjoining waterways. Scott has tried to focus blame on the federal government and his opponent, Sen.