Manatee County government officials today announced the creation of a new campaign, Nets to Neighbors, to continue the battle against the August red tide outbreak.
During a news conference at the county administration building, Administrator Ed Hunzeker and District 3 County Commissioner Stephen Jonsson said Manatee County will provide nets and buckets for local cleanup efforts to help maintain progress made in local canals and waterways. The resources will be available so residents can scoop dead fish and other debris out of the waterways.
Manatee County will continue its daily cleanup of public beaches and parks on Anna Maria Island.
“We’re transitioning to a program where we will provide nets and buckets to the neighborhood sites that have Dumpsters,” Hunzeker said. “You and your neighbors can assist by picking up residual fish.
“Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint,” Hunzeker said. “We have no idea how long this will last.”
Today, nets and buckets were taken to Coral Shores, Wild Oak Bay and Trailer Estates -- neighborhoods who have been affected most directly by the red tide bloom. By Wednesday of this week, many more nets will be available to borrow at G.T. Bray Recreation Center. About 500 nets will be made available, in total.
To date, about 241 tons of debris have been removed from public beaches, parks and neighborhoods in Manatee County.
Hunzeker said dead fish taken to Manatee County’s landfill on Lena Road are buried every night.
Neighborhoods or homeowner associations can join the Nets to Neighbors campaign or request a Dumpster for fish collection by calling the county’s red tide hotline at 749-3547. The line will operate during regular business hours.
Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources will host another volunteer cleanup event of Palma Sola Causeway on Sat., Sept. 1 at Palma Sola Causeway boat ramp from 7:30 to 9 a.m.
Parks and Natural Resources staff will provide basic masks, buckets and gloves. In addition to cleanup tools, volunteers are asked to wear clothes they don’t mind getting wet and wear closed-toed shoes that tie or strap to their feet.
The County’s public resource for updates on these cleanup efforts are posted daily at www.mymanatee.org/redtide.
Manatee County has secured state funding of up to $750,000 to deal with red tide. Hunzeker said it has spent less than $250,000 so far.