EMERGENCY AUTHORIZATIONS IMPLEMENT MEASURES TO ADDRESS SOUTH FLORIDA ALGAL BLOOMS
On July 9, 2018, Governor Rick Scott issued anEmergency Order in Glades, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties to help combat algal blooms caused by Lake Okeechobee water discharges from the Army Corps of Engineers. This emergency declaration allows the Department of Environmental Protection and the South Florida Water Management District to waive various restrictions and regulations to store water in additional areas south of the Lake, which will help alleviate the Army Corps of Engineers’ water discharges that are causing harmful algal blooms in Florida’s rivers and coastal estuaries. This emergency action furthers the Governor’s previous action of directing the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to identify additional opportunities to move water south from Lake Okeechobee View the Executive Order here.
For the latest information on efforts to lower levels in Lake Okeechobee and move water into the Everglades Water Conservation Areas (WCAs), visit the South Florida Water Management District’s “Managing High Water Levels in the Wet Season” web page. These measures are moving forward on an expedited basis to help reduce the severity of and need for regulatory releases that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is making from the lake to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries.
Monitoring and Sampling
At the Governor’s direction, the department is augmenting its existing sampling efforts by deploying additional staff to more rapidly survey and sample areas impacted by blooms. DEP is working with the department's Florida Coastal Office and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) on that coordinated effort.
Harmful Algal Bloom Management Grants
The Executive Order directed DEP to establish a grant program to provide local governments with funding to contract clean-up services.
As directed, DEP has established a grant program to help eligible counties provide targeted algal bloom clean-up efforts to quickly reduce and address impacts to significantly impacted areas, such as marinas, boat ramps and other public access areas.
Additional information about this grant program and the grant application are available here.
Through separate grant funding available through the department’s Clean Marina Program, DEP is also providing booms to marinas to help exclude the algae, protecting public health and safety and helping lessen the negative effects of algae on these important economic drivers in these communities.
You can find more information about all of the state’s emergency actions here:
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.