CLEARWATER — Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference at Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill, 7 Rockaway St. in Clearwater, May 4 to announce that the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 budget included $14 million to continue Florida’s investment in combatting red tide.

This funding will support dedicated research efforts through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Mote Marine Laboratory in addition to providing grants through the Department of Environmental Protection for red tide cleanup.

According to a press release, since 2019, including the May 4 investment, $40 million has been allocated to addressing red tide, from detection to mitigation.

“Since my first week in office, I have been focused on protecting Florida’s environment,” DeSantis said in the press release. “Not only do red tide blooms affect our coastal waterways, but impacts of blooms can also negatively impact businesses and decrease tourism. We will continue to proactively work with local partners to ensure Florida is at the forefront of innovative technologies to mitigate against harmful blooms.”

The budget includes $4.8 million for the Center for Red Tide Research at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. The center was created at the governor’s request in 2019 to improve statewide red tide monitoring techniques and conduct research to better track, predict, and mitigate the effects of red tide on Florida communities.

As a result, since 2019, red tide sampling has increased by 68% and involves more than 60 partners across the state. Additionally, offshore sampling, where red tide originates, has doubled.

The Florida Red Tide Mitigation and Technology Development Initiative will receive $3 million to continue developing prevention, control, and mitigation technologies to decrease the impacts of red tide. In his first legislative session, DeSantis signed Senate Bill 1552 to establish the Florida Red Tide Mitigation and Technology Development Initiative.

The initiative is a partnership between FWC and the Mote Marine Laboratory and has an annual appropriation of $3 million for six years, totaling $18 million. Through this initiative, there are 25 projects currently underway, with some of the most promising having moved to field testing.

The FY 2022-23 budget makes $20 million available for innovative technologies to combat harmful algal blooms and to support county governments in red tide cleanup efforts, with a minimum of $5 million dedicated to the red tide emergency grant program. These grants will support county governments with cleanup efforts in areas affected by red tide in order to mitigate the effects on visitors and residents in the affected areas. This $20 million investment will double the amount available in the current year budget.