BRADENTON, Fla. — Manatee County is struggling with the ongoing red tide crisis.
- How to report fish kill, other dead sea life from red tide
- Experts searching for solutions to stop red tide
- Link: FWC red tide status report
- Link: Fish kill report page
The county is trying to cope with the vast fish kill that is littering beaches, canals and waterways with tons of dead sea life.
Last week, Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency due to impacts of red tide in Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
On Tuesday, Manatee officials followed with a local state of emergency. The vote by commissioners was unanimous.
The move can free up funds to address clean up costs.
County officials will be able to pay staff overtime to help with clean up efforts and make any special purchases to deal with the red tide blooms.
There is a volunteer cleanup event Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. at the Palma Sola Causeway.
Scientists are predicting the bloom will get worse before it gets better, prompting the emergency declaration resolution. Commissioners also will initiate a waiver on landfill tipping fees, making it retroactive from August 9 to dispose of 150 tons of dead fish.
"But there’s nothing that stops fish from blowing back into an area even once they’ve been through it," said Alan Lai Hipp, Manatee County Environmental Program Manager. "So it’s going to be a combination of patience and just having to monitor the situation."
The state of emergency is set to expire on Aug. 29 at midnight but commissioners can extend it.
Meanwhile, Fort Myers is declaring its own local state of emergency.
For businesses impacted by red tide, Gov. Scott has asked the small business administration to issue an economic injury disaster declaration. That move would help businesses apply for low-interest loans.