This week, Governor Rick Scott announced that his 2014-2015 budget recommendation will include $55 million in funding for restoration and protection of Florida’s springs. This total contemplates $25 million for water quantity and water quality protection and restoration projects, $25 million for alternative water supply development within springsheds, and $5 million to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to assist the agricultural industry with conservation measures and more efficient use of fertilizers.
In a statement, the Governor said that “[t]his investment will enable state and local partners to protect the quality and quantity of water that flows from our springs. These springs are important not only to animal and plant life, but also add to Florida’s ever-expanding tourism industry.”
The very next day, Governor Scott announced plans to include an additional $130 million for Everglades and South Florida waterway projects in the budget proposal. Although this amount includes funding some projects which have already been announced, the total is $60 million more than the state’s current Everglades funding amount.
The Governor’s proposal includes $40 million for construction of a C-44 reservoir, $30 million for construction of a 2.6-mile bridge over the Tamiami Trail, and $32 million as part of the $880 million long-term Everglades restoration plan agreement from last year.
Governor Scott is expected to release his entire 2014-15 budget proposal on Jan. 29, 2014.