Ron DeSantis makes first two appointments to SFWMD board
Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled several major environmental reforms, including an additional $1B and for water quality protection. (Image via

Ron DeSantis environment 1.10.19
DeSantis nominated Chauncey Goss and Ron Bergeron Tuesday.

After requesting resignations from the entire South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) board, Gov. Ron DeSantis named Chauncey Goss and “Alligator” Ron Bergeron as his first two replacements to that panel.

DeSantis made the Goss announcement at a Tuesday news conference in Naples at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center.

Goss has twice run unsuccessfully for Congress, speaking out on local water issues. He also publicly backed DeSantis’ efforts to call for the resignation of current SFWMD board members.

A handful of the board’s members complied with the Governor’s request, but not all did. Board member Sam Accursio, whose term ends in March regardless, questioned whether DeSantis had the authority to make such a demand.

“If he has a good reason, and if he has a person to replace me that’s better than myself, I will discuss it,” Accursio said.

But Goss sided with DeSantis in a statement on Twitter.

DeSantis then traveled south to Everglades Holiday Park in Broward County to tap Bergeron for that county’s seat on the board.

Bergeron is a longtime environmental activist, with a particular interest in the Everglades. He advised Gov. DeSantis on the environment during the campaign.

Bergeron also has experience as a developer and spent a decade on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, who has sided with DeSantis on some of the state’s water management issues, praised both appointments.

In a statement, Mast cited Goss’ work with a pair of environmental groups.

“As a member of Captains for Clean Water and the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, Chauncey Goss has a strong understanding of the issues plaguing Florida’s waterways,” Mast said.

“Based on my conversations with him, I believe he will be a passionate advocate for reform and help advance the Governor’s bold plan to clean up Florida’s waterways. On top of that, he’s a great pick in the fight to make South Florida Water Management District represent the people, not special interests.”

Goss serves on the board of both of those groups.

He’s the son of Porter Goss, a former congressman who served as CIA Director and was a vocal advocate for Everglades restoration projects. He also was Mayor of Sanibel and a Lee County Commissioner in the 1970s and ’80s.

And on Bergeron, Mast cited his history of advocacy on behalf of the state’s wetlands.

“Having lived his entire life in the Everglades, Ron Bergeron understands the complexities of restoration better than almost anybody,” Mast said.

“He has a proven track record of not taking crap from anyone in his pursuit of doing what is best for the Everglades — a perspective that is sorely needed on a board that for far too long has operated without any transparency and prioritized special interests above the people of Florida.”

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


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