Florida Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive order Monday declaring a state of emergency for seven counties dealing with an unusually lengthy red tide algae bloom that has killed thousands of marine animals, his office said.
The executive order gives more state funding to local governments and research agencies in the seven southwestern Florida counties.
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"Today, I am issuing an emergency declaration to provide significant funding and resources to the communities experiencing red tide, so we can combat its terrible impacts," Scott said in a news release. "This includes making additional FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) biologists and scientists available to assist in clean-up and animal rescue efforts."
The emergency was declared for Hillsborough, Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee and Pinellas counties.
That covers a portion of southwestern Florida that includes the cities of Tampa, Bradenton, Fort Myers and Naples.
Scott also directed an additional $900,000 in grants for hard-hit Lee County, where red tide warning signs currently dot more than 170 beach access points, his office says.