FWC leadership praises conservation funding in Gov. DeSantis’ budget proposal

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'Gov. DeSantis continues to solidify the importance of our fish and wildlife resources.'

Rodney Barreto, chairman of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), commended Gov. Ron DeSantis for including millions of dollars for environmental initiatives in a budget proposal unveiled Thursday.

“Gov. DeSantis continues to solidify the importance of our fish and wildlife resources,” Barreto said in a statement Thursday. “Everyone wants what we have here in the fishing and boating capital of the world, and we will continue to provide opportunities for residents and visitors because of the leadership of Gov. DeSantis.”

The FWC spotlighted just under $54 million in funding items included in DeSantis’ proposed $99.7 billion budget that would help conservation efforts. That includes $4.2 million for red tide research, $3.8 million for manatee care and $3 million for restoration of lakes, rivers and springs, among other items.

FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton also added his praise for the budget’s focus on environmental issues.

“I want to thank Gov. DeSantis for his unwavering support for Florida’s natural resources and we are proud of the conservation successes we are achieving under his leadership,” Sutton said. “Florida’s natural resources are abundant and we will continue to work hard to conserve and manage these great resources for future generations.”

The FWC statement also identified $17.5 million for additional resources for law enforcement. That money could help catch individuals violating state laws relating to the environment.

The budget will also presumably add hundreds of millions for water conservation initiatives not spotlighted in the FWC statement. DeSantis has promised $2.5 billion in water quality funding over his first term in office. Final funding levels will be negotiated during the 2022 Legislative Session, which begins in January.

The 2022-23 fiscal year budget proposal from DeSantis would be a slight reduction from last year’s budget, which topped out at $101.5 billion. Federal pandemic funding approved by Congress boosted last year’s budget. DeSantis is dubbing this year’s version the “Freedom First” budget.

“Freedom works in Florida. We’re proud of that,” he said. “We’re proud of being viewed as the ‘free state,’ and I think that the economic results are something that have been very, very positive.”

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].


  • TJC

    December 9, 2021 at 11:38 am

    Governor DeSantis’s early support for wildlife conservation and wetlands rehabilitation was celebrated by Floridians both Democrat and Republican. It was why I thought, hey, this guy is logical: Florida needs its natural resources to serve the needs of its citizens and tourists. So this is further good news.
    Now if only he could apply logic to Covid…naw, that would piss off his followers, and more notably, his leader in Mar-a-Lago.
    Nevertheless, on this conservation issue he is a good leader.

    • Al

      December 9, 2021 at 1:57 pm

      It’s safe for DeDumbass to do.

      President Hair-flap doesn’t give a crap about the environment.

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