Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Florida Red Tide Task Force Seeks Public Safety Info On One Website

On Jan. 10, FWC observed red tide organisms in background concentrations, which are normal, offshore of Pinellas, Hillsborough, Sarasota, Charlotte, and Lee counties.  Low concentrations were detected in Collier, and very low offshore of Monroe.
FWC website
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Florida's task force to combat red tide plans to finalize some ideas for the state legislature soon. 

When there's an elevated red tide event causing fish kills and respiratory issues for people along the west coast, Floridians have multiple places online to check the status of their neighboring beaches. There can be conflicting information.

The red tide task force hopes to change that.

The 11-member task force met Monday and is brainstorming an idea for one website for people to find everything they need to know.

Task force member  Barbara Kirkpatrick, executive director for the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System, said this resource would be important because not all algae blooms are alike.

"There's blue green algae blooms in Florida. There's karenia brevis blooms in Florida. There's harmful algal blooms all around the country and all around the world,” said Kirkpatrick. “So we want to make sure that when people are seeking information about karenia brevis red tides, that they're on the right website, they're getting the right information."

Click here to view the next meeting's agenda.

She said the members have not yet nailed down specifics on how this website will work, but she said it would be a multi-state agency effort.

"Each agency fulfills their mission. For example, Florida Department of Health, gives red tide information regarding health, Florida Fish and Wildlife Research covers their monitoring program and what they're finding in the waters," she said.

Task force members hope to see their 12 suggestions represented on this year's state budget.

The group plans to meet again Thursday, Jan. 23 at 3:30 p.m. at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg. 

Copyright 2020 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

Jessica Meszaros is a reporter and host of All Things Consideredfor WGCU News.
Jessica Meszaros
Jessica Meszaros is a reporter and host of Morning Edition at WUSF Public Media.