This past week, Executive Director, Aliki Moncrief, and Lead Organizer for South Florida, Olivia Nedd, attended a round table discussion at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce on the issue of Red Tide in South Florida. The discussion, moderated by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla. 23rd Congressional District) and Congressman Ted Deutch (Fla. 22nd Congressional District), brought together members of local government, environmental organizations, and individuals in the scientific and business communities.
Red Tide, an algae called Karenia brevis, is devastating for marine life and can cause respiratory irritation for individuals who breath it in. A concern among discussion participants is the frequency with which algae blooms are now occurring in South Florida and what this means for the future. In order to address the issue of Red Tide, there needs to be a combination of understanding, modeling, monitoring, and most of all, implementation of preventative measures.
To help local communities affected by Red Tide, the state can access funds through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. “Florida gets $45 to 55 million a year from the federal government to help local governments and local communities upgrade their wastewater, and deal with their septic issues,” Aliki Moncrief said. “There’s really a lot of creativity that can be employed in hotspot areas.” It is critical that during this time, local governments access all available tools to address this issue.
For frequent updates on the status of Red Tide across the state visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.