State of emergency declared over Florida's red tide

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Florida is now in a state of emergency over the impacts of red tide, a colloquialism used to describe the harmful algal blooms plaguing Florida's Gulf Coast.

"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", added Scott.

Red tide has been documented in Florida's Gulf Coast since the 1840s and naturally occurs every year, but it usually subsides in the summer and has instead continued to worsen in its 10th month, prompting the executive order.

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"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", Scott said.

Scott is ordering $100,000 for additional scientists to help with clean-up efforts and another $500,000 to help local communities and businesses struggling with lost income as tourists flee.

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Unlike July's emergency order aimed at curbing the state's blue-green algae bloom stemming from Lake Okeechobee, today's announcement focuses on Florida's other disgusting algae problem, red tide.

Two hours south of Tampa in Lee County, where red tide signs have been posted at more than 170 beach access points, the state will allocate additional funds for cleaning the beaches.

High concentrations of toxic algae, known as blooms, have affected at least 120 miles of the peninsula's Gulf of Mexico coast since November 2017.

The blooms discolor the seawater and produce toxins that can sicken or kill fish, seabirds, turtles and marine mammals, such as manatees, according to the FWC.

Direction for VISIT FLORIDA to begin developing a marketing campaign to assist Southwest Florida communities that will start following this year's red tide blooms.

Fish populations have been resilient to the impact of red tide, even after severe and prolonged red tide events.

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