Manatee County Commissioners today discussed how the county can assist private homeowners to clear waterways, inlets and canals of sea life killed by the red tide outbreak.
Manatee County does not have a marine fleet to remove fish in smaller canals, and waterways, nor can county crews go onto private property to haul dead sea life to the landfill. So county leaders aim to connect local fisherman willing to assist with the homeowners who need their canals cleared.
Beginning tomorrow Manatee County will make roll off dumpsters available at Bayfront Park on Anna Maria Island and at three County-owed boat ramps: Coquina North, Coquina South and Kingfish boat ramps. Private homeowners can either haul dead fish and debris from red tide without having to pay county landfill tipping fees or they may contract with local fishermen willing to do the work.
Fishermen who want to contract their services with local homeowners or homeowner associations may provide their contact information to the County’s Citizen Action Center at 941-742-5800. The county will post those business names and numbers on the county’s red tide website, www.mymanatee.org/redtide. Private homeowners can check the site from time to time to get a current list of fishermen to do the job.
Commissioners and county staff also said they will work with state and federal leaders to obtain funding for other local impacts from this year’s outbreak.
Department directors from the county’s Property Management, Parks and Natural Resources and Public Safety departments all gave updates on the coordinated effort to keep public beaches and boat ramps clear of marine animals killed by red tide.
Those efforts include constant beach cleaning during daylight hours, relying on inmate labor from the Manatee and DeSoto sheriffs’ offices and hiring temporary work to help the cleanup effort, said Charlie Bishop, Property Management Director.
Emergency Management officials continue to monitor local conditions and to relay updates of the situation to municipal leaders on Anna Maria Island.
Commissioner Steve Jonsson noted that “economic distress is severe” for some marine businesses, and they should keep detailed records on any economic losses from the outbreak in case financial relief is available in the future. Commissioners recognize that local resources are stretched thin, but said they will look to state and federal leaders for ways to assist with cleaning local waterways and canals.
Yesterday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared Manatee County to be part of a group of seven Gulf Coast counties impacted by a state of emergency from red tide. Commissioners said they will work with Manatee County delegation members to ensure our community receives any eligible funding.
For more information on Manatee County Government, visit online at www.mymanatee.org or call 941-748-4501. You can also follow the county at www.facebook.com/manatee.county.fl and on Twitter, @ManateeGov.