While in Naples Tuesday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced his environmental budget proposals, including over $960 million for Everglades restoration. Sanibel’s Chauncey Goss, who Chair’s the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board, praised DeSantis’ leadership.
The budget also includes the protection of water resources and more than $550 million to continue to support efforts to ensure that state and local communities are prepared to deal with the impacts of sea level rise, intensified storms, and flooding.
The proposed $960 million investment will bring the total four-year investment for Everglades restoration and protection of water resources to over $3 billion, more than doubling investments from the previous four years and surpassing Governor DeSantis’ goal of $2.5 billion over four years.
The proposed $550 million investment for resilience will build upon the historic funding already received this year. This would bring the total state investment in resiliency to more than $1 billion over two years.
“When I took office, I outlined a bold vision to protect Florida’s environment, and we have not only kept the promises we made, we’ve exceeded them,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “We are excited to announce this historic support for Florida’s environment, Everglades restoration, and our water resources. We have seen great results so far, but we are not yet at the finish line. It’s nice to see so many coming together to support these initiatives. We will be pushing hard to continue the momentum this legislative session.”
“The historic momentum for the Everglades continues,” said Chauncey Goss, Chair, South Florida Water Management District Governing Board. “Governor DeSantis’ calls for significant investment in Everglades restoration and water quality demonstrates the Governor’s leadership and commitment to Florida’s natural resources. These investments will allow the South Florida Water Management District to expedite and finish more projects than ever before. With record funding from the Legislature, we will continue to do everything we can to send water south to the Everglades, reduce harmful discharges to our estuaries, and improve how water is managed for the people of South Florida.”
“The Everglades is a national treasure, and the entire country is behind the movement to protect it,” said Capt. Daniel Andrews, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Captains For Clean Water. “With this record funding, Governor DeSantis is going far above the commitment he made when he took office to restore and protect the Everglades and Florida’s water resources. On behalf of the united voice of our anglers, fishing guides, boat captains, industry-related businesses, and the entire outdoor recreational community throughout the country, thank you for allowing Captains For Clean Water to become an active and welcome participant in safeguarding clean and usable waterways for all of Florida’s residents and visitors.”
“Audubon is grateful to the Governor for his steadfast commitment to funding Everglades restoration, and the impressive proposed investment in resiliency,” said Julie Wraithmell, Executive Director of Audubon Florida. “To ensure the health of Florida’s waters, we must restore our wetlands, springs, and Everglades, and change the underlying practices that harmed them in the first place, all while building resilience in the face of a changing climate. We’re excited to see what Florida can accomplish together with this essential funding.”
Details on the budget recommendations can be found here.
The budget proposals include:
$960 million for Everglades restoration and the protection of water resources including:
$660 million for Everglades restoration including the Comprehensive Everglades- Restoration Plan (CERP), the EAA Reservoir Project, and the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project.
$175 million for targeted water quality improvements, including the wastewater grant program which provides grants to improve infrastructure in BMAP areas.
$40 million for the Alternative Water Supply Grant Program.
$50 million for projects to restore Florida’s world-renowned springs.
$35 million for increased water quality monitoring and to combat harmful algal blooms including blue-green algae and red tide. This includes $15 million for innovative technologies and $5 million specifically to aid in local government red tide cleanup efforts.
$3 million to remove invasive Burmese pythons.
$550 million to build upon historic funding in FY2021-2022 to increase the resiliency of coastal and inland communities.
$500 million for the Resilient Florida Grant Program for projects to make communities more resilient to sea level rise, intensified storms, and flooding.
More than $50 million to close the gap in resiliency planning and to protect our state’s coral reefs.