Posted on February 13, 2023
Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Shawn Hamilton issues the following statement regarding Governor DeSantis’ submittal of his proposed Framework for Freedom Budget for Fiscal Year 2023-24 to the Florida Legislature.
“Last month, Governor DeSantis signed Executive Order 23-06, which called for over $3.5 billion to be invested in Everglades restoration and Florida’s water resources over the course of four years, surpassing the historic investments of the past four years and making it the highest level of funding in Florida’s history. This funding commitment is reflected in the Framework for Freedom Budget, which will support strategic action that will continue our momentum and enhance our ongoing efforts to expedite critical Everglades restoration projects, employ sound science to protect and restore our waterways, and fund infrastructure projects to improve water quality and safeguard Florida’s water supply.
“The Framework for Freedom Budget also includes nearly $406 million to make our communities more resilient to address flooding, erosion and ecosystem changes and dedicates $100 million for the restoration of water quality in the Indian River Lagoon.
“Additionally, the budget provides $100 million for land conservation through Florida Forever. Since 2019, the state has invested $600 million for land acquisition, including $300 million specifically for the Florida Wildlife Corridor, and acquired over 170,000 acres, which is nearly four times more than that of the previous four years. Approximately 97% of these acres are within the Florida Wildlife Corridor. The proposed sustained funding for this program allows continued progress in conserving lands for future generations, including acquisitions within the Florida Wildlife Corridor.
“Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ bold vision and this renewed support and direction, Florida’s environment will remain a priority and we will continue to have the resources to bolster our long-term environmental programs and meet the needs of our diverse state.”
Budget highlights include:
- Nearly $610 million for Everglades Restoration.
- More than $475 million for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, including the EAA Reservoir and Restoration Strategies.
- More than $81 million for the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Plan and dispersed water management (water storage in the basins).
- $50 million for the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project.
- $370 million for Targeted Water Quality Improvements.
- $200 million for cost-share grant funds for water quality improvements.
- $100 million for septic conversions and upgrades, other wastewater improvements, and rural and urban stormwater system upgrades to support restoration of the Indian River Lagoon.
- $50 million to accelerate projects to meet scientific nutrient reduction goals (called total maximum daily loads), which may include green infrastructure investments or land conservation to protect our water resources.
- $20 million for wastewater and stormwater projects that address water quality impairments and coral reef restoration in Biscayne Bay.
- $50 million for springs restoration.
- $50 million for alternative water supply.
- $60.8 million to combat harmful algal blooms and red tide.
- More than $406 million for resilience.
- $156 million for beach restoration including fully funding DEP’s Hurricanes Ian and Nicole Recovery Plan for Florida’s Beach and Dune System.
- $145 million for prized properties.
- $100 million for Florida Forever.
- $45 million for infrastructure improvements and resource management at Florida’s state parks.
- $194.5 million for cleanup programs.