Governor Ron DeSantis highlighted his environmental budget on Tuesday at Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Collier County, which includes resiliency efforts, everglades restoration, and water quality improvement.
DeSantis stated the money will be available through Resilient Florida, a program put in place earlier this year that aims to prepare communities for the impacts of climate change.
“The $1 billion price tag is a $550 million increase when compared to this year’s spending, DeSantis said. “I think that will make us more able to handle some extreme weather events and help to handle flooding, all these other things I think are really, really important.”
Budget priorities include $660 million toward Everglades restoration, $50 million for Florida springs restoration, $35 million to tackle harmful algal blooms, and an overall increase in spending amounting to $550 million.
The budget announcement comes just a week after DeSantis pledged $481 million to water quality improvement projects across the state.
DeSantis aims to combat a wide array of environmental issues with his forthcoming budget, also pledging money to Burmese python control and alternative water supply grant programs.
“I’m pleased to say with our recommendations, and as we work with the Legislature and next year’s legislative session, we will not only have kept the promises and met the standards that we set, we will have exceeded what we promised to do,” said DeSantis.
Daniel Andrews of Captains for Clean Water, who joined the governor on Tuesday, touted the money allocated for restoration and improvement.
“It’s directed exactly where it’s needed,” said Daniels. “We’re going and putting this money toward projects … that will stop the discharges and get more water flowing south, and that’s really incredible.”
DeSantis received support from The Everglades Foundation following his appearance.
“Because of Governor DeSantis’ leadership, Florida’s one-of-a-kind environment and water resources will have the funding to be protected and restored,” said CEO Eric Eikenberg. “At the start of his term, Governor DeSantis pledged to seek at least $2.5 billion over four years in Everglades restoration and water resources in the state, and with this budget, he has delivered.
DeSantis informed that the rest of his budget proposals will be announced in December.