Sarasota County has put out some information with lots of pertinent information on the impacts of red tide and what they are doing to handle the issues
How is Sarasota County responding?
Sarasota County is actively monitoring the beaches and cleans them in accordance with the beach cleanup policy. Up until Aug. 29, Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources staff had been conducting red tide marine debris cleanup.
On Aug. 13, Gov. Rick Scott issued an Emergency Order for red tide and announced that $3 million had been made available to assist impacted counties with cleanup. Sarasota County applied for, and received, an allocation through the grant. A portion of the allocation will be used to fund a contractor to supplement current cleanup efforts, which should allow staff to return to normal work assignments. PRNR staff will still be involved with certain aspects of the county’s red tide response, including beach raking, contract management, field point of contacts and communications.
All beaches are open. For the latest cleanup updates, visit scgov.net/redtide.
What are the details of the contract?
With funding from a Florida Department of Environmental Protection Grant, which ends Dec. 1, 2018, the county has two purchase orders in place with Crowder Gulf:
• $720,480 for the collection and removal of red tide debris from the beaches.
• $124,400 for collecting, transporting and unloaded the red tide debris into designated dumpsters.
Where is the debris being taken once it’s been removed from county beaches and boat launches?
It’s being taken to the Central Sarasota County Landfill.
How can I report a stranded or dead dolphin, manatee, whale or sea turtle?
Please report by using the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Hotline at 1-888-404-3922. Be prepared to describe the location of the animal and take a picture, if possible. An FWC biologist will return the call to get additional details as well as the picture, if available.
For all other types of fish, call 800-636-0511 or report online at myfwc.com.
What is a local state of emergency?
A local state of emergency, which is an administrative function, helps the county release certain funding. Once a local state of emergency is declared, it allows the county to request assistance from the state as well as the possibility for additional funding or reimbursement that may be available.
What is an aerosol?
An aerosol is the airbone irritant in the air. County staff monitors the aerosol levels (how much they can smell the bloom) daily.
How is the red tide affecting the tourism industry?
Red tide can have a negative impact on the tourism industry, but Visit Sarasota County is conducting surveys every week to see what the industry is seeing in response to the red tide. Visit Florida is currently working with the impacted counties to come up with a marketing plan.
What is the county doing to make sure all the workers out in these areas are protected?
All workers (volunteers, county employees, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Work Offender Program) have personal protective equipment, including gloves and masks. All lifeguards have a respirator device. If a worker starts to feel the effects and has respiratory issues, they will be relocated from that environment
How can I monitor beach conditions?
Mote Marine Laboratory updates visitbeaches.org twice daily with information such as water conditions, wind conditions and aerosol levels
Is there financial assistance for affected businesses?
Yes, the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program is available. For more information, visit floridadisasterloan.org.
Red Tide Facts
- In Florida, red tide is caused by a naturally occurring microscopic alga (a plant-like microorganism) called Karenia brevis or K. brevis.
- The organism produces a toxin that can affect the central nervous systems of fish, birds, mammals and other animals.
- At high concentrations (called blooms), the organism may discolor the water — sometimes red, light or dark green, or brown.
- Red tides or harmful algal blooms (HABs) occur worldwide. K. brevis is found almost exclusively in the Gulf of Mexico but has been found on the east coast of Florida and off the coast of North Carolina.
- Red tide blooms can last days, weeks, or months and can also change daily due to wind conditions and water currents. Onshore winds normally bring it near the shore and offshore winds drive it out to sea.
- Red tide was first officially recorded in Florida in 1844.
- A red tide bloom needs biology (the organisms), chemistry (natural or man-made nutrients for growth), and physics (concentrating and transport mechanisms). No single factor causes it. Tests are being conducted to see if coastal nutrients enhance or prolong blooms.
- Red tide can irritate the skin and breathing of some people. 9. Seafood from restaurants and hotels is monitored and is safe to eat.