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DeSantis pledges $14 million to fight red tide in Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the news conference
The Florida Channel
Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the news conference at a Clearwater Beach restaurant

He announced in a press conference on Clearwater Beach that much of the money will remain in the greater Tampa Bay region.

Gov. Ron DeSantis pledged millions of dollars in state money Wednesday to combat red tide across the state.

Much of the $14 million will stay in the greater Tampa Bay region.

Nearly $5 million will go to the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus. And $3 million will go to researching red tide mitigation technology at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota.

The governor spoke during a news conference at Clearwater Beach.

"Today, for next year's budget, we're going to have the most we've ever had," he said. "We're going to have $14 million to enhance the state's effort to better understand, detect and mitigate red tide and its impacts.

"Once we make this announcement today, for my four years, we went from $2.5 million to $40 million for these efforts."

Mote president Michael Crosby spoke at the news conference.

"And this initiative is bringing together the best and brightest minds in science, not only from the state of Florida, but from all around the world," Crosby said. "We're utilizing innovative approaches and ecologically compatible methods for mitigating the adverse effects of red tide."

Crosby said they are working on 25 projects to help stem the advance of red tide.

The announcement came a day after DeSantis announced $20 million inResilient Florida funds — which partially came from federal stimulus money — will go to help combat the effects of rising seas and climate change.

BREAKDOWN: Here's where the Resilient Florida money is going

Pinellas County will be getting $700,000 in state money to help pay for citywide assessment of its vulnerability to sea level rise and climate change.

The city of Tampa will be getting $495,000 for a similar study. And Sarasota County will be getting $275,000. Manatee and Pasco counties will be getting $75,000 apiece.

Grants were also announced for Hillsborough County, Anna Maria Island, Palmetto, Longboat Key, Port Richey, St. Pete Beach, Tarpon Springs, Clearwater, Sarasota, North Port and Venice.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.