State to reimburse Manatee County for red tide cleanup
MANATEE COUNTY – As contracted crews cleared dead fish from neighborhood canals and county employees continued to work to keep the beaches clear, Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker told county commissioners on Tuesday that no one can predict how long the red tide outbreak that started about two weeks ago may last and what the recovery effort may eventually cost.
“We have no idea how long this problem will persist,” Hunzeker said. ”... This is an ongoing challenge. This is a marathon.”
Parks and Natural Resources Director Charlie Hunsicker said that, unlike the debris removal effort that followed Hurricane Irma last fall, the fish kill problem caused by red tide algae blooms can be recurring. A beach or canal cleared of dead fish could, days later, become inundated again.
The commission allocated $750,000 from reserves for the ongoing clean-up of canals by the Boca Raton-based emergency response firm Aptim. It also authorized an agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to get reimbursed by the state for that expense.