Nikki Fried names Christopher Pettit new Water Policy Director

“Addressing our state’s water issues was one of my top priorities when running for this office."

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has named Christopher Pettit, former Policy and Legislation Manager for Palm Beach County Utilities, the new Director of Agricultural Water Policy for the Department of Agriculture.

Fried made the announcement at a West Palm Beach news conference Wednesday.

“Addressing our state’s water issues was one of my top priorities when running for this office, and today’s appointment is an important step towards achieving that goal,” Fried said.

“Cleaning up our water — and keeping it clean for generations to come — requires bringing everyone to the table to find real, comprehensive solutions to our water concerns. Chris’ deep experience with the management and conservation of Florida’s water resources make him a natural choice to lead our efforts on water policy. Our shared approach of finding common ground with our agricultural and environmental communities is part of my ongoing commitment to our state’s water future.”

Pettit also has experience at both the South Florida Water Management District and the Southwest Florida Water Management District. In addition, he’s also served as a Law and Policy Fellow at both the University of Florida Water Institute and the Mote Marine Laboratories Marine Policy Institute.

“Thank you to Commissioner Fried for the opportunity to lead this office of paramount importance to the water and environmental resources of our great state,” Pettit said.

“I enthusiastically share the Commissioner’s vision of finding common ground with agricultural and environmental communities in pursuit of healthy ecosystems and watersheds, as well as her respect for the role and efforts of the agricultural community and other stakeholders in achieving that vision.”

Also present at Wednesday’s news conference were Drew Bartlett, Executive Director of the South Florida Water Management District; Dr. Paul Gray, Okeechobee Science Coordinator for Audubon Florida; Leslie Bertolotti, Water Resources Planner for The Nature Conservancy; and Marie Bedner, Operations Manager for Bedner’s Farm and Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market.

According to a release on Pettit’s appointment, the office he is now heading “works with agricultural producers, industry groups, state agencies, universities, and water management districts to develop and implement agricultural best management practices that address both water quality and water conservation.”

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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