TALLAHASSEE, January 28, 2015 – Governor Scott today recommended nearly $1.6 billion in funding dedicated to the protection and preservation of Florida’s natural and water resources. The Governor’s “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget includes funding dedicated to key environmental projects, such as $150 million for Everglades restoration, $50 million for springs protection and improvements, more than $150 million for the acquisition and management of conservation lands, and $50 million for water supply development projects.
Governor Scott said, “Florida has an abundance of natural resources that help create a foundation for our growing economy, whether it is driving our state’s tourism industry or providing a great quality of life that has attracted families to our state for generations. During my first term, we made historic investments in our springs and Everglades and I am proud to continue to make important investments in our environment this year. We will keep working to make sure we preserve our natural treasures so Florida can continue to be a top destination for families, visitors and businesses.”
The Governor’s proposed budget creates a dedicated source of revenue for Everglades restoration that will provide nearly $670 million over the next four years and more than $5 billion over the next 20 years. In addition, a dedicated source of funding will provide more than $220 million over the next four years and $1.7 billion over the next 20 years to ensure the continued protection of Florida’s springs. The budget also proposes a 10-year, $500 million program to ensure Florida’s water supply remains adequate to support a growing economy while still ensuring the environment is protected.
“Governor Scott’s proposed budget reflects his continued commitment to protecting the natural resources that greatly impact Florida’s economy and quality of life,” said Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Jon Steverson. “I look forward to working under his leadership to focus on completing projects that offer direct benefits to the natural resources and communities of Florida.”
“Governor Scott’s recommended budget recognizes the importance of restoring not only the Everglades, but Florida’s treasured springs and other vital water bodies,” said Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon Florida. “We applaud his continued commitment to the protection of Florida’s environment.”
The Governor is recommending the following proposals to help Florida’s environment:
$150 million for Everglades Restoration
In 2011, the Governor proposed his Everglades Restoration Strategies, which provides $32 million annually in state funding to improve water quality and move more water south, reestablishing a more natural flow through the Everglades. The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget builds upon this recurring funding by providing $150 million in Fiscal Year 2015-2016 for projects vital to the protection of the Everglades and associated South Florida estuaries, including construction of the C-43 and C-44 reservoirs.
$150 million for Land Acquisition and Management
Governor Scott’s recommendation includes $150 million dedicated to land acquisition and management, so that the state can continue to conserve natural and historic resources, as well as effectively manage and protect lands already under state ownership for future generations to enjoy. This funding will focus in part on protecting land for the Florida panther.
The budget includes $100 million to support land acquisition through the Florida Forever program, $20 million to restore the Kissimmee River and $30 million for additional management dollars to ensure the land already owned by the state is properly cared for.
“We applaud Governor Scott for taking this critical step toward increasing land management funding. This increase will allow for enhanced prescribed fire and invasive plant management necessary to ensure the health of Florida’s conservation lands for iconic Florida species, such as panther and scrub jay and to enhance public recreation,” said Temperince Morgan, executive director of the Nature Conservancy in Florida.
$50 million for Springs Protection and Restoration
The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget includes $50 million for springs restoration projects, building on the historic funding provided by the Governor’s administration over the past two years. In partnership with Florida’s water management districts, local governments and other stakeholders, the $40 million directed to springs protection over the past two years has leveraged more than $100 million in springs restoration and improvement projects throughout the state.
$100 million for Water Supply Development and Keys Wastewater Treatment
Governor Scott is working to ensure Florida’s natural resources, communities and growing economy all enjoy a sustainable supply of water. The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget includes $50 million and will kick-off a 10-year, $500 million program to provide more than 250 million gallons of water a day to Floridians.
This also includes funding for regional alternative water supply development and for small, economically-challenged communities who need additional help to ensure the needs of their residents and natural resources are being met.
The Governor’s recommended budget includes $50 million for improving wastewater treatment in the Florida Keys, which will build upon the $100 million previously invested during the past four years. These improvements will protect water quality in the Keys, ultimately protecting South Florida’s reefs and waters.
“Florida has now surpassed New York as the third most populous state in the nation and as such, we need smart solutions to meet the needs of Florida’s families and small businesses,” said David Hart, executive vice president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “Governor Scott’s budget recommendations will continue to move Florida in the right direction. Ensuring our state has the necessary resources to stay competitive is vital to helping Florida’s economy grow.”
“Monroe County commends Governor Scott for his continued environmental commitment to the Florida Keys with his recommendation of $50 million in funding to help implement measures vital to the protection of our nearshore and National Marine Sanctuary waters, and in doing so, helping to preserve the Florida Keys as a unique environmental treasure and a valuable economic engine,” said Monroe County Mayor Danny Kolhage.
$25 Million for Beach Renourishment
The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget also includes $25 million for projects to protect, preserve and restore Florida’s famous beaches and dune systems. Beach projects include:
• $1,100,911 for Venice Beach Nourishment/ Sarasota County Shore Protection
• $726,848 for Duval County Shore Protection Project
• $10,520,990 for Walton County Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project
• $100,000 for Ft. Pierce Shore Protection Project
• $39,262 for Brevard County Shore Protection Project/ North & South Reaches
• $496,486 for Broward County Shore
• $60,000 for Blind Pass Ecozone Restoration in Lee County
• $117,630 for South Amelia Island Beach Nourishment
• $4,566,500 for Upham Beach Groin Replacement
• $1,598,463 for Longboat Key Beach Nourishment (funds will be divided with inlet project)
• $2,684,976 for Statewide Post-Construction Monitoring
• $160,500 for Port Canaveral Inlet Management Plan (IMP) Implementation
• $46,500 for Lake Worth IMP Implementation
• $4,963,900 for Longboat Pass IMP Implementation (funds will be divided with beach restoration project)
$19 million for Florida State Parks Repairs, Renovations and Development
Florida is the only state that has been awarded three National Gold Medals for Excellence by the National Recreation and Park Association, and the funding recommended in the “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget will help this award-winning system continue to improve. Along with repairs and renovations, the budget also includes funding for ADA access improvements so all Floridians and visitors are able to enjoy the natural treasures of Florida’s 161 State Parks.
“This funding will help Florida State Parks continue to protect some of our state’s most beautiful natural and cultural resources for millions of visitors to enjoy each year,” said Don Philpott, president of Friends of Florida State Parks.
For more information on Governor Scott’s “Keep Florida Working” budget, please visit http://www.keepfloridaworking.com/.
About the Florida Department of Environmental Protection
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s principal environmental agency, created to protect, conserve and manage Florida’s environment and natural resources. The department enforces federal and state environmental laws, protects Florida’s air and water quality, cleans up pollution, regulates solid waste management, promotes pollution prevention, and acquires environmentally sensitive lands for preservation. The agency also maintains a statewide system of parks, trails and aquatic preserves. To view the department’s website log on to www.dep.state.fl.us.
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
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