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Red Tide Control and Mitigation Grants

A summary of the projects funded through this grant program can be found in the Red Tide Control and Mitigation Program Report to Stakeholders

Although the first accounts of red tide in Florida come from the logs of Spanish explorers, inhabit­ants of the region have been living with the effects of red tide since they first came to the area thousands of years ago. As the coastal population of Florida has grown, so too has the awareness of red tide and its impacts on those living on or visiting our coast. Extensive red tides can create public health risks, affect production and revenue of several marine industries, affect the economy of local commu­nities, and ultimately affect the quality of life of those impacted. Despite the importance of red tide to Floridians, there has been little concerted effort to explore options to control and mitigate the effects of the blooms. In 2007, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWC-FWRI) in partner­ship with the citizens' group START (Solutions To Avoid Red Tide), established the Red Tide Control and Mitigation Program. This competitive grant program funded a number of important projects designed to minimize the size, intensity, or duration of Karenia brevis blooms or reduce the environmen­tal, economic, social, or public health impacts of future red tides in Florida. Proposals were reviewed by a panel consisting of scientists, managers, and citizens representing FWC-FWRI, START, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Department of Health, Collier and Lee county governments, University of South Florida, Sierra Club, and the Sanibel Sea School.

Between 2007 and 2009, the program funded 12 projects addressing numerous topics including effects on human health; outreach and education strategies; economic impact investigations; and biological, chemical, or physical control of red tide blooms or their toxins. This report presents overviews of projects funded through 2009 and represents a significant contribution to our under­standing of red tide impacts and how to deal with them in Florida. My sincere thanks go out to our many partners in this effort, and I look forward to our continued collaboration as we work together to address these complex issues.

Gil McRae, Director
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

A Red Tide Control and Mitigation grant was also issued to Solutions To Avoid Red Tide (START) through the FWRI Grant Program to promote and publicize the Red Tide Control and Mitigation Grant Program. START handled all meeting logistics for the Red Tide Control and Mitigation Panel. START is dedicated to promoting efforts for control and mitigation of red tide in an environmentally responsible manner and is committed to education outreach as its primary mitigation strategy. START is a member of the Red Tide Alliance that is comprised of Mote Marine Laboratory, the FWRI, and the Florida Department of Health.

For more information, please visit START