NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. -- People who live near water in Lee County are waiting for relief after state funds were dedicated to cleaning up blue-green algae.
Governor Rick Scott issued a state of emergency Monday because of the issue. The declaration allows funds for local governments to contract cleaning services for algae blooms. People who live along the water in North Fort Myers want to know when they will get that relief.
Yesterday, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection finalized an Emergency Order that will expedite cost-share funding directly to local governments who wish to hire algal bloom management services. It's still unknown when funds will be released.
Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman tells Fox 4 the county needs to know how much money DEP will release before forming a cleanup plan. They also want to make sure whichever method they choose works. Hamman explained that in 2016, Florida's east coast experienced similar blooms, and companies were hired to do experimental cleanups that literally sucked the algae out of bodies of water. "They got mixed results," he said. "That doesn't mean we don't try, but we need to make sure if we spend the money, your tax dollars, it's going to work."
For now, the county is assessing areas that could benefit from a cleanup. "I can tell you from being in my district and seeing in person, I know one area that I'm hoping would be a good candidate for cleanup," Hamman said.
He could not provide a timeline of when those funds will be granted.