Governor Ron DeSantis Announces Budget Proposals for Everglades Restoration, the Protection of Water Resources, and the Resilient Florida Program
NAPLES, FL (STL.News) Governor Ron DeSantis visited Naples and Miami to announce his environmental budget proposals, including over $960 million for Everglades restoration and 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. Details on the budget recommendations can be found here.
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’ ambitious 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.”
“Growing our economy and protecting our environment must go hand in hand,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. “That is why we must continue the important work our administration has been doing to preserve and restore our natural resources. Governor DeSantis and I remain steadfast in protecting our environment, and our critical investments in these projects fulfill our efforts in keeping our Everglades and coastal communities resilient.”
“Recognizing that Florida’s economy is inextricably linked to its unique environment, Governor DeSantis continues to champion historic investments in Florida’s environment and water quality to ensure the delicate balance of environmental protection and a healthy economy is maintained,” said DEP Secretary Shawn Hamilton. “Under his leadership, Florida continues to make aggressive strides to expedite Everglades restoration projects, advance efforts to reduce nutrients in Florida’s waterways, and strengthen resilience for inland and coastal communities.”
“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.”
“In Florida, our environment is the foundation of everything from our economy to our way of life,” said DEP Chief Science Officer Dr. Mark Rains. “Today’s announcement demonstrates the Governor’s continued leadership and commitment to securing necessary funding to address our complex water quality and coastal resiliency challenges and implement a strategic course of action that leads to a more secure and resilient future.”
“Governor DeSantis has been a champion for the Everglades and the environment from his first day in office,” said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto. “The budget he announced today will significantly enhance our ability to remove even more pythons from the Everglades as we work together to conserve this natural treasure.”
The Governor’s proposal for the FY 2022-2023 environmental budget recommendation includes major investments in Everglades restoration and water quality protection, as well as investments to support state and local communities with efforts to prepare for impacts from sea level rise, storms, and flooding. 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 our 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.