Manatee County taking steps to lessen red tide impacts
MANATEE COUNTY, FL (July 23, 2021) -- Manatee County Government has intensified its daily beach raking efforts along the shores of Anna Maria Island, and County staff have begun taking additional steps to address red tide before it reaches local beaches. To date Manatee County has avoided the worst impacts from an early summer red tide bloom, but County leaders are taking steps to ensure Manatee beaches remain clear from debris.
This week, Manatee County will finalize an agreement with local shrimp boat captains that will enable them to capture offshore red tide-related debris before it reaches land, preventing fish kills from reaching the beach. On Tuesday, County Commissioners will discuss authorizing up to $500,000 in Tourism Development Taxes to pay for efforts to hold red tide debris at bay.
“We are staying ahead of this situation and we’ll be announcing additional efforts to keep our beaches clean and clear in the coming days,” said Dr. Scott Hopes, Manatee County Administrator. “Multiple County departments and dozens of our staff are making considerable efforts behind the scenes to ensure we know where red tide is, where it’s headed and how we’ll address it before it impacts our local beaches.”
Red tide, a naturally occurring microscopic alga that's been documented since the 1840s, has begun to bloom in parts of Tampa Bay and along the Gulf Coast. There have not yet been severe impacts to Manatee County’s barrier island beaches this summer but County crews have removed small amounts of dead fish in southern areas of the Island (Longboat Pass, Coquina North, Coquina South and Kingfish boat ramps). Roll-off dumpsters have been placed at Coquina and Manatee beaches to collect debris caused by an offshore bloom.
Local beachgoers can monitor the latest conditions with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)’ sred tide status map. Manatee County offers other resources for reporting red tide and its impacts to sea life at www.mymanatee.org/redtide