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Florida lawmakers in DC learn there are no easy fixes for red tide plague

Red tide has become a vexing issue for many residents of Sarasota and Manatee counties over the past year, but lawmakers from Florida’s 29-member congressional delegation learned Wednesday that the natural phenomenon is hard to stop.

Rep. Vern Buchanan, the co-chairman of the state’s delegation, which met as a group for the first time this year Wednesday, opened up the line of questioning by asking what was the best course of action that the federal government could take to fight red tide and its potential impact both on the coastline and state’s tourism industry.

One big problem with red tide is the damage it inflicts on tourism and seafood industries. NOAA estimates that $82 million a year in economic loss in the United States can be attributed to toxic algal blooms, which includes red tide.

A few methods of reducing red tide were brought up during the meeting, including disrupting stagnant fresh waterways, which algal blooms thrive in, said Lt. Col. Jennifer Reynolds of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.