From The Fishing Wire:
ORLANDO –Governor Rick Scott highlighted a dedicated source of revenue that will provide $1.6 billion for Florida springs restoration over the next 20 years as part of his proposed 2015-2016 “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget. If passed by the Legislature, $50 million will go toward springs restoration next year.
Governor Scott said, “Florida’s springs are one of the many natural treasures that bring families, visitors and job creators to our state. Over the last two years, we have championed record funding for Florida’s springs, and we are committed to building on that success going forward. By making these important investments now, we will be protecting and restoring our great springs for generations to come.”
In addition to funds to restore Florida springs, Governor Scott’s “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget also proposes a dedicated source of revenue that will provide more than $5 billion for Everglades restoration over the next 20 years, including $150 million toward Everglades restoration next year. The proposed budget also includes more than $150 million for land acquisition and management which will focus in part on protecting land for the Florida panther.
Jon Steverson, Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, said, “I’m a firm believer that how you spend your money is drives your policy, and Governor Scott’s budget clearly demonstrates his continued commitment to the protection of our state’s natural resources. This budget focuses on projects that will directly benefit the environment and communities of Florida.”
Charles Lee, Director of Advocacy for Audubon Florida said, “This $1.6 billion commitment will assure families and businesses that Florida is committed to restoring our great springs. I applaud Governor Scott for his continued commitment to protecting Florida’s natural treasures.”
Robert Beltran Executive Director of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, said, “Florida’s springs are environmental treasures and economic drivers for our state. In the Southwest Florida Water Management District alone there are more than 150 documented springs providing $46 million in direct economic impact annually. Governor Scott’s continued investment goes a long way to restoration and protection of these unique water resources.”
John Miklos, St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board Chairman, said, “I’d like to thank Governor Scott on behalf of the St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board and our 560 employees for his continued and historic work to address springs, water quality and water quantity in the St. Johns District, and in all of the other water management districts. We look forward to continuing this good work with him, DEP Secretary Steverson and the Florida Legislature.”
Daniel O’Keefe, Governing Board Chairman of the South Florida Water Management District, said, “Protecting Florida’s water resources requires sound science as well as sound investments. Governor Scott has consistently directed funding to strategic projects and initiatives that benefit our environment, which in turn strengthens our state’s economy.”
Don Quincey, Jr. District Board Chairman of the Suwannee River Water Management, said, “Through partnerships with local governments and through optimizing private-public partnerships, Governor Scott is utilizing significant resources to ensure that our springs and water supplies are protected. We must be good stewards of the land and waters of our great state, and this funding proposal highlights the importance of Florida’s natural resources.”