TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - In response to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ environmental budget recommendations for water announced today, Audubon Florida Executive Director Julie Wraithmell expressed optimism and said the following:
“Great news. Audubon is excited to see Governor DeSantis advancing the pro-water agenda laid out with his recent Executive Order and today’s budget recommendations. Water quality and quantity challenges are facing all corners of Florida, and these recommendations improve the outlook for water resources from America’s Everglades to North Florida’s springs, and the Indian River Lagoon to Apalachicola. Florida’s environment is the foundation of our economy. Getting the water right protects our economic future.”
On Springs Restoration Funding:
“Florida’s freshwater springs are windows directly into our aquifer. Their continued degradation from urban and agricultural runoff and reduced flows due to consumptive use are cause for grave concern. We are glad to see Governor DeSantis prioritizing these vulnerable resources with a $50 million recommendation to meet restoration challenges head on.
On Funding for Harmful Algal Blooms including Red Tide and Blue-Green Algae:
“This budget proposal attacks harmful algal blooms on several fronts: addressing pollution sources with investments in stormwater, wastewater, and total maximum daily loads projects; $4.2 million to advance Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Research on red tide; as well as $10 million to jumpstart innovation used to combat and respond to harmful algal blooms. Governor DeSantis is right to fight the battle on multiple fronts.
On Alternative Water Supply for the Central Florida and North Florida Water Initiatives:
“Water is critical to our state’s well-being. Competing demands and impacts to our water supply are exhausting this valuable resource. Audubon applauds the $40 million recommendation towards alternative water supply projects for the Central and North Florida water initiatives. Investments in these initiatives increase water quantity and improve water quality for people and the natural environment in these important, fast-growing areas of the state.
On Statewide Water Quality:
"Every corner of Florida is challenged by pollution from stormwater and wastewater. Governor DeSantis’ proposal committing $150 million to address these issues and meet total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) will be key to protecting and restoring water bodies from the Indian River Lagoon on Florida’s Atlantic Coast to Choctawhatchee Bay in the Florida Panhandle.
On Everglades Restoration Funding:
“This is a bold statement for America’s Everglades and for all Florida waterways. Governor DeSantis clearly understands that a restored Everglades ecosystem is good for birds, people, and business! This record-breaking investment in restoration takes big steps forward, like finalizing the Tamiami Trail bridging that’s so desperately needed to bring more freshwater south to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay. That, coupled with investment in the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir will bring relief to the estuaries from toxic algae and deliver more clean freshwater to Florida Bay.
On the Appointment of Chauncey Goss to the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board:
“It is great to see Governor DeSantis form a team of folks at the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) who share his bold vision of a restored Everglades and clean waters. Having someone on the SFWMD Governing Board who understands federal budgeting is a plus, especially as we continue to push for strong commitments to advancing restoration efforts faster than ever before. It’s going to take people who know the process and have skin in the game. As a Sanibel resident, Mr. Goss has both. That’s welcomed news, and we look forward to working with the SFWMD on ecosystem restoration efforts.”
For more information, on specific water subjects, the following Audubon experts are available for interview. Contact Sean Cooley at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Red Tide, Harmful Algal Blooms, Apalachicola River and Legislative Outlook: Julie Wraithmell, Executive Director
- Everglades Restoration, South Florida Water Management District: Celeste De Palma, Director of Everglades Policy
- Springs, Stormwater, Wastewater and Total Maximum Daily Loads: Beth Alvi, Director of Policy
- Alternative Water Supply, Central and North Florida water initiatives, St. Johns River: Chris Farrell, Northeast Florida Policy Associate
- Lake Okeechobee, Biosolids: Dr. Paul Gray, Okeechobee Science Coordinator