TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Following Governor Rick Scott issuing Executive Order 18-191, declaring a state of emergency in response to impacts from federal water releases, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today launched a $3 million grant program to help local governments clean up waterways affected by harmful algal blooms caused by federal discharges from Lake Okeechobee.

Governor Scott said, “As our state once again faces harmful algal blooms from federal water releases, we continue to take a multifaceted approach to protect families and ensure Florida’s pristine environment and natural treasures are protected. While we continue to focus on federal repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike and water storage in the EAA Reservoir, this $3 million in emergency state funding will help our local communities quickly respond to and mitigate algal blooms, ensuring the safety of Florida families and protecting jobs.”

DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein said, “As we continue our focus on long-term and larger-scale solutions, such as the EAA reservoir, rehabilitation of the Herbert Hoover Dike and reviewing innovative technologies, we are also committed to partnering with local communities to address immediate impacts. We encourage local counties to work with DEP to take advantage of this grant program and to help us move forward with these longer term solutions.”

The emergency funding will be provided to help communities provide targeted clean-up efforts to quickly reduce and address impacts to significantly impacted areas, such as marinas, boat ramps and other public access areas. Funding from this grant program can be used for services including containment, removal, cleanup, elimination, transportation and disposal of harmful algal blooms in key areas identified by Florida’s local counties.

Earlier this month, following a tour of the Caloosahatchee River, Governor Scott issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Glades, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie Counties to help combat algal blooms caused by Lake Okeechobee water discharges. More information on the emergency order can be found HERE. Also, in June, Governor Scott visited the South Florida water Management District and ordered DEP to take emergency actions to redirect the flow of water out of Lake Okeechobee to the south. See that announcement HERE.

 

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