Buchanan Monitors Algae Bloom in Manatee County
BRADENTON— Congressman Vern Buchanan, a leader in the fight to control red tide and other harmful algal blooms, today toured the Robinson Preserve in Manatee County to monitor the blooms impacting the area.
Joining Buchanan on the tour were Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Director Charlie Hunsicker, Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore, and State Rep Will Robinson. Blue green algae has been found in Robinson Preserve, the Manatee River and canals between Ellenton and Bradenton.
“The problems at the Robinson Preserve further demonstrate that Florida continues to grapple with algae booms,” Buchanan said. “It is a dangerous plague on our community's economy, environment, and way of life. That’s why it’s so important to keep fighting to help combat algae blooms and research long-term impacts on human health.”
Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore stated, “Congressman Buchanan called this meeting and he wanted to come up here and see for himself. So I want to thank him for being involved for caring about Manatee County and Sarasota County and what’s going on. We had a lot of the blue green algae come up the river and a lot of our citizens are scared and alarmed because of what happened last year so I’m glad he’s on top of it.”
Referring to the latest outbreak, Hunsicker has warned it could, “return to its conditions we all remember and all expect and will stay that way into the future.”
Last year Florida suffered one of the five worst bouts of red tide in the state’s history. The bloom, which finally dissipated this past February, had plagued the coast for more than 15 months. In fact, Southwest Florida is uniquely vulnerable to red tide, as it has seen this type of algae bloom occur more than twice as often as any other area in the state.
Southwest Florida has been affected by both blue-green and red tide algal blooms. Blue-green algae has been primarily found in inland, freshwater bodies, while red tide has primarily impacted the Suncoast’s Gulf of Mexico waters. Officials with Manatee County have also reported seeing a modest fish kill related to blue-green algae at the Robinson Preserve and at Perico Preserve as well as at other locations along the Manatee River.
Last month, the U.S. House passed Buchanan’s measure instructing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to designate $6.25 million to research the long-term health effects of red tide and other Harmful Algal Blooms on humans.
Red tide, a toxin-producing algae, killed thousands of fish and affected tourism in the Suncoast region. Last year alone, the algae killed hundreds of dolphins and manatees as well as thousands other marine animals. Thousands of tons of dead marine life washed ashore local beaches, causing significant hardship on both local residents and county governments.
According to NOAA, harmful algae blooms cause $82 million in economic losses to the seafood, restaurant and tourism industries each year in the United States.
Buchanan’s Commitment to Combatting Algae Blooms
In 2018, a Buchanan proposal to increase funding for red tide research by $8 million was signed into law.
In February, Buchanan chaired a hearing on some of the most pressing water quality issues affecting the Sunshine State.
Last year, Buchanan also backed a proposal that was signed by President Trump to provide more than $100 million to combat Harmful Algal Blooms such as red tide.