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Red tide funding draws fire; Register for next Grow Boating webinar

Two days after he took office, Florida’s new Governor Ron DeSantis announced a sweeping program to focus on water quality that included creating a task force to address the recurring blue-green algae problems that annually plague certain parts of the state as well as dealing with Florida’s notorious red tide.

With memories of last year’s terrible red-tide outbreak on Florida’s Gulf Coast that triggered respiratory problems for residents, deposited thousands of dead fish on beaches and chased tourists and fishermen away, Florida may set an example for other states concerned about water quality.

It was a radical and applauded change from former Governor Rick Scott cutting budgets for agencies that enforce pollution regulations and monitor water quality. Responding to the call, even the legislature is on board with two bills, one that provides $3 million per year for six years and another that wants to spend $6.6 million for red tide mitigation.

One would assume everyone who thinks water quality is important would be delighted by DeSantis’ actions. Generally, that’s true. There are, however, interesting problems being raised by notable organizations that point to other issues about water quality actions and funding.

Specifically, some environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and the University of Miami, are reportedly “less than keen” on the current plan. They have raised two objections: First, the funds would be awarded to the Mote Marine Laboratories that established a Red Tide Institute last year. That closes out any process for other research agencies or universities to be considered for the grant dollars.

Critics also claim Mote is focused primarily on mitigation and not nearly enough on prevention. They contend Mote is sidestepping the science that shows human waste and, in particular, agricultural runoff that feeds the nutrient loads leading to green slime-time on waterways each summer.

The debate in Florida is likely to continue for a while. But whether we’re talking about Florida or Ohio, Iowa or Louisiana, it’s well known that farm fertilizer runoff into rivers and lakes is the primary cause of algae blooms and is at least a contributor to prolonging outbreaks of red tide.

Larry Brand, an oceanographer at the University of Miami, has aptly compared nutrient pollution to trash. He claims it should be treated with the same priority. “If I take my garbage and throw it over the fence into my neighbor’s yard, they’re going to call the cops or sue me,” says Brand. “Why do we allow some operations to dump their waste?”

Brand raises a serious question that everyone dealing with water quality problems like algal blooms and/or red tide outbreaks should consider. Emphasizing mitigation research is, in essence, allowing these problems to develop and then trying to negate the impact. What’s clearly needed is researching and implementing processes for preventing the problem before it’s a problem.

Next Grow Boating Webinar

If you attended the free April 6th webinar by the Grow Boating Initiative, you learned how to “Spy on Yourself” in order to determine what’s being said about your dealership in social media. You also learned how to maintain a strong online presence.

Now you can take it to the next level and learn how to “Spy on Your Prospects.” It’s the second of the three webinars being offered and this one is scheduled for next Wednesday, April 17, from 1 pm to 3 pm CST.

The webinar will provide tools, tips and shortcuts to tap into the mindset of your ideal searchers; leverage suggestive searches; see what Google bot thinks about your homepage; use to understand searchers; and present yourself as a thought leader, not a sales person.

Showing your business online in the best possible way is critical these days. Every dealer should be tuned into these webinars by Heather Lutz of Findability University. They offer help and insight into the digital world.


Bonus: If you missed the first webinar there’s a link to it on the bottom of the registration page, thanks to Grow Boating.


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