Governor Ron DeSantis today visited Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples to highlight record environmental funding in his Bold Vision for a Brighter Future FY 2019-2020 state budget. The Governor was joined at the event by First Lady Casey DeSantis as well as state leaders and environmental stakeholders.
“The signing of the Bold Vision for a Brighter future budget marked a new day for Florida, one where our environment is the priority,” said Governor DeSantis. “I thank the Florida Legislature for their strong support and for exceeding my request of $625 million in funding, including more than $400 million for our Everglades – the highest amount ever. Our water and natural resources are so important to so many, it was time we put forth the necessary investments to protect them.”
Photo Credit: Governor’s Press Office
On Governor DeSantis’ second day in office, he issued Executive Order 19-12, implementing major reforms to ensure the protection of Florida’s environment. The executive order set forth a goal to secure $2.5 billion over four years for Everglades restoration and protection of water resources – $1 billion more than was spent in the previous four years. The Legislature’s funding of more than the $625 million requested by Governor DeSantis for this year puts Florida on track to exceed that goal.
Highlights of the over-$625 million investment include the following:
- $400 million for Everglades restoration – the largest single year state investment in the Everglades ever.
- $40 million for the Florida Department of Transportation to expedite completion of the Tamiami Trail and restore the flow of clean water south. This is in addition to the $60 million in federal funding Governor DeSantis helped secure.
- $25 million to improve water quality and combat the effects of harmful algal blooms, including blue-green algae and red tide.
- $50 million for targeted water quality improvements to achieve significant, meaningful and measurable nutrient reductions in key waterbodies across the state.
- $100 million to restore and protect Florida’s pristine springs.
- $40 million for an alternative water supply grant program to help communities plan for and implement vital conservation, reuse and other alternative water supply projects.
“Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, the Florida Legislature passed the largest environmental budget in Florida’s history,” said Senator Rob Bradley. “I’m proud of the strides my colleagues and I have been have been able to achieve by working side-by-side with Governor DeSantis for Florida’s environment. This historic investment includes more than $417 million for Everglades restoration and $25 million specifically for combatting harmful algal blooms through research, innovative technologies and remediation.”
“With the signing of the largest environmental budget in Florida’s history, Governor DeSantis has made it clear that the state’s environment is a top priority,” said Representative Travis Cummings. “I am proud of the work my colleagues in the Florida Legislature accomplished this last session to ensure that our state’s precious natural resources will be protected for generations to come.”
“Immediately upon taking office, Governor DeSantis established a clear vision for improving water quality and coastal resiliency in Florida,” said Senator Debbie Mayfield. “This budget will allow those goals to be realized.”
“This year’s budget was truly historic and shows the Governor’s commitment to the environment, Everglades restoration and protection of our water resources,” said Representative Holly Raschein. “As Chairman of the Agricultural and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee, it was an honor to facilitate that important process, and the Governor’s new bold vision for Florida.”
“This is a hallmark moment for Florida,” said Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein. “The Governor’s leadership and support of the Florida Legislature have resulted in a historic budget that will accelerate Everglades restoration, improve water quality, enhance water supplies, further coastal resiliency efforts, and restore our beaches.”
Joining the Governor and First Lady at Audobon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary were Senators Rob Bradley and Lizbeth Benacquisto, Representatives Byron Donalds, Dane Eagle, Ray Rodrigues, Bob Rommel and Spencer Roach, DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein as well as representatives from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Audubon Florida, the Everglades Foundation, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, the South Florida Water Management District and Captains for Clean Water.