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Fla. Governor recommends funding to restore waterways

By Florida Department of Environmental Protection

TALLAHASSEE – Today, Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard, Jr. applauds Governor Rick Scott’s environmental priorities within his Florida Families First FY2013/2014 budget. The $1.2 billion budget will include support for restoration projects in the Everglades, springs water quality improvements and the purchase of conservation land. The budget places a priority on projects that protect and renew our waterbodies in line with the Department’s emphasis on getting the water right.

“By requesting more than a billion dollars to continue our pursuit of robust environmental protection, Governor Scott clearly understands that the future of Florida depends on its natural resources,” said Secretary Vinyard. “This funding will restore water quality in the Everglades, rejuvenate our springs and provide a clean environment for all Floridians.”

Proposed budget items include:

$60 million to fund the Governor’s Everglades Water Quality Plan and continuing funding for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. Governor Scott has doubled the amount of money spent on Everglades Restoration in FY2012/2013. Scott’s leadership turned this historic undertaking into a reality. The plan builds upon a $1.8 billion investment in Everglades water quality improvements. The budget includes design, engineering and construction of flood control projects to enhance water quality and ensure a reliable water supply for southern Floridians and the numerous species that thrive in the area.

$269.5 million for restoring waterways and water supply. This will ensure the future supply by improving on the water quality regulations for springs, lakes, rivers and estuaries. The FY2013/2014 budget commits an increase of $6.5 million for springs restoration. Additionally, the budget will support the practical application of the water quality criteria by endorsing wastewater treatment facility construction, drinking water facility construction, and water quality planning. Under Governor Scott’s leadership, the department doubled the amount of money spent in the previous three fiscal years on the state’s springs and developed more water quality criteria last year than in any year in the last decade.

$75 million for Florida Forever. The budget recommends $50 million in budget authority from the proceeds of the sale of surplus state lands. Governor Scott identified an additional $25 million from General Revenue for the purchase of conservation lands needed for springs protection, military buffering or water resource protection. This investment helps ensure Floridians can enjoy our natural treasures.

$25 million for beach erosion control. This new commitment will help restore and maintain Florida’s sandy beaches that provide a warm welcome to millions of visitors each year. The local governments responsible for the state’s most valuable and recognizable natural resource will benefit from state assistance for beach and dune restoration, beach nourishment, inlet sand bypassing and regional sediment management.

$19 million for state park improvements. This money will provide an opportunity to enhance the amenities throughout Florida’s vast state park system. Governor Scott proposed an increase of $6 million to the FY2012/2013 budget to continue Florida’s tradition of the nation’s best park systems.

For additional details on the Governor’s recommended Florida Families First FY2013/2014 budget, visit www.floridafamiliesfirst.com.

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