Governor Ron DeSantis wants $625 million dollars for environmental spending in the upcoming budget. DeSantis announced a plan Tuesday to fund more than 20 projects in the Everglades over the next five years.
The Governor says Everglades restoration could get a boost from what he calls an “historic” allocation of funds. His proposed budget includes $360 million dollars for Florida’s most vulnerable ecosystem.
“This is the first of four steps to get to the $2.5 billion that I committed to in my executive order, and that will be a $1 billion dollar increase over the previous 4-year investment,” DeSantis said during a press conference in Naples.
DeSantis says the completion of reservoirs and storm water treatment areas would remove a projected 200,000 pounds of phosphorous from Florida waters yearly – a principle cause of algae blooms.
“We also have $150 million for targeted water quality improvements to achieve significant, meaningful and measurable nutrient reduction in key water bodies,” DeSantis said.
An additional $50 million dollars would be earmarked to help protect Florida’s springs.
DeSantis also gave what he calls a “progress report” on his environmental executive order from earlier this month. He says the Department of Environmental Protection is vetting candidates for the newly-created statewide Chief Science Officer and the Blue-Green Algae Task Force.
After calling for the resignation of the entire South Florida Water Management District January 10, DeSantis also used Tuesday to announce his first two appointments to the board.
Chauncey Goss has previously served on advocacy groups like Captains for Clean Water and the Lee County Coastal Advisory Council.
“The Governor said – I’m All in on water quality, I’m all in on fixing it. And you’ve been living up to your word, I thank you for that,” Goss said while accepting the role.
Also appointed to the Water Management District’s board is South Florida environmentalist and businessman Ron Bergeron.
In a reorganizational move, DeSantis also recommends the state’s Environmental Crimes Enforcement Unit be moved from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to DEP.