Florida earmarked another $3 million on Thursday as traces of the algae linked to red tide have been confirmed in Atlantic coastal waters. The state has now put up $16 million to fight red tide, as an outbreak that has plagued large stretches of the Gulf Coast moves into its 11th month.
Money has gone to such things as removing dead fish and other aquatic life and expanding research.The source of the outbreak is a single-celled organism called Karenia brevis algae that produces toxins that kill fish, birds, sea turtles, manatees and dolphins and can cause neurotoxic shellfish poisoning in humans. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is offering grants to St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties to help combat the impacts of red tide, Gov. Rick Scott’s office announced Thursday. Managed beaches in Palm Beach County have been closed.
Meanwhile, state biologists investigated a fish kill reported in MacArthur Beach State Park in North Palm Beach. Miami-Dade County reported that beaches north of Haulover Inlet were closed Thursday. The Martin County Department of Health on Wednesday issued an advisory for people with chronic respiratory problems, such as asthma, to avoid areas with red tide and for residents to close windows and run the air conditioner if they live in beach areas and are sensitive to red tide.