Senator Stewart, District 17 — Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2, 2023
Florida Funds Numerous Environmental Protection Projects Across The State
Orlando, FL – With the conclusion of the 2023 Legislative Session, the state of Florida has committed to funding a number of significant projects and programs aimed at restoring and preserving Florida’s environment and natural resources.
Conservation programs under the administration of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection are set to receive $1 billion in funding. Florida Forever is the state’s conservation and recreation lands acquisition program that supports multiple efforts, including: water resource protection, coastal resiliency, preservation of cultural resources, public access to outdoor recreation, and the restoration and maintenance of public lands. Most notably, as part of this year’s funding, the Florida Forever Program is now designated to receive $100 million in recurring appropriation each year. This new guaranteed minimum has long been a priority across the state of conservation advocates and voters alike.
Within that $1 billion appropriation, Florida’s wildlife corridor will receive $850 million in order to acquire and preserve lands throughout the state, many of which are in Central Florida. Florida’s Wildlife Corridor will encompasses approximately 17.7 million acres, including almost 10 million acres of conservation lands.
“With this minimum funding the state is better equipped to plan for long term maintenance and preservation of our unique ecosystems. As we more frequently witness the effects of climate change the need for preservation and proper stewardship of our lands only becomes more necessary,” said Stewart “I have to thank Chair Brodeur and all those serving on the Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government, for their leadership and advocacy in securing funding that is crucial for Florida’s environment.”
Also included in the budget was $12.8 million for the Blue Green Algae Task Force. The task force, established in 2019, provides the state of Florida with guidance and science-based recommendations to expedite the restoration of water bodies that have been plagued with algae blooms. The task force has focused on source identification, nutrient reduction and remediation efforts, algal toxins and human health effects, and innovative technologies for the prevention, cleanup, and mitigation of harmful algal blooms.
“Clean water initiatives like those outlined by the Blue Green Algae Task Force serve to benefit all Floridians. It is not just an issue of sustainability and our environment, but also an economic issue when evaluating the cost that harmful algal blooms cause on Florida’s fishing and tourism industries each year” said Stewart.