WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Dr. Mark Rains Appointed as Florida's Next Chief Science Officer

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WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Dr. Mark Rains Appointed as Florida's Next Chief Science Officer

SANFORD, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the appointment of Dr. Mark Rains as the state of Florida’s next Chief Science Officer (CSO). 

Here is what environmental leaders and stakeholders are saying about this new appointment and the important role of scientific expertise in Florida's environmental policy and protection.

"The state of Florida is in position to be a global example for continued economic prosperity while sustaining the ecosystems, wildlife and waterways that are fundamental to the quality of life for 22 million Floridians – and continue to make Florida the No. 1 tourist destination in the world. I thank Secretary Valenstein and Governor DeSantis for their leadership in recognizing that science is fundamental to guiding the decisions today that will shape Florida for generations to come." – Carlton Ward Jr., National Geographic Explorer and founder of the Florida Wildlife Corridor project.

“I applaud Governor DeSantis’ selection of Dr. Mark Rains as Florida’s new Chief Science Officer. At a time when Florida is facing numerous and extensive adverse consequences from harmful algal blooms and water quality challenges, Dr. Rains’ extensive water sciences experience and demonstrated leadership will be invaluable in identifying and implementing lasting clean water solutions.” – Patrick Rose, Aquatic Biologist/Executive Director of Save the Manatee Club.

“The Chief Science Officer position is instrumental in ensuring critical natural resources management and policy decisions in Florida are being made with the benefit of the best available scientific data. The Florida National Estuary Program entities would like to thank Dr. Frazer for his service in the position, in guiding important water resource protection efforts such as understanding how we can reduce the harmful algal blooms afflicting our estuaries and their watersheds. We look forward to working with Dr. Mark Rains, whose background in hydrological connectivity is especially helpful given the large-scale hydrological restoration that we are undertaking with the Charlotte Harbor Flatwoods and South Lee County watershed initiatives in Southwest Florida. Water quantity and quality are inextricably tied to one another, so only by improving flows and levels will we ultimately achieve our water quality goals as well." – Jennifer Hecker, Executive Director of the Coastal & Heartland National Estuary Partnership

“We are pleased to see the appointment of a new Chief Science Officer for Florida. Leading with science is essential to addressing the unprecedented flooding, water quality and other risks Florida’s communities face from a changing climate.” – Dawn Shirreffs, Florida Director of Environmental Defense Fund.

"As Florida's first Chief Science Officer, Dr. Tom Frazer set a strong framework of science-informed policymaking to address the state's greatest challenges. The Florida CSO demonstrates that our state prioritizes sustained, evidence-based and multidisciplinary solutions to the issues we continue to face. We welcome Dr. Mark Rains to the role and know his expertise will benefit Florida." – Alec Bogdanoff, Ph.D., Florida Director of American Flood Coalition. 

“The role of Chief Science Officer is critically important in showing the importance of science in addressing Florida’s environment. We Floridians have benefited significantly from Dr. Tom Frazer’s leadership. Florida’s ocean environment is at a crossroads. When it comes to addressing the marine conservation problems Florida faces, measured scientific leadership and strong science-based solutions are vital. Ocean Conservancy looks forward to working with Dr. Mark Rains as he takes up his role as Florida’s Chief Science Officer on the most pressing issues facing our state’s ocean and coasts.” – Jon Paul “J.P.” Brooker, Director of Florida Conservation at Ocean Conservancy.

“As a highly productive researcher with a strong peer-reviewed publication record related to processes governing the hydrologic connectivity and impacts of climate change in wetlands, Professor Rains is an excellent selection for the state’s Chief Science Officer. Mote Marine Laboratory looks forward to working with him in advocating the vital role that objective science must continue to play in the Governor’s initiatives for improved water quality and environmental issues facing our state.” –Dr. Michael P. Crosby, President and CEO of Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium.

“We applaud the Governor and Secretary Valenstein for their continued commitment to the position of Chief Science Officer. We look forward to working with Dr. Rains and are excited about his commitment to improving water quality in the state of Florida." – Captain Daniel Andrews, Executive Director of Captains for Clean Water

"From the Everglades to North Florida’s springs, water is Florida’s lifeblood and deserves the best science driving its protection. Audubon is grateful for Tom Frazer’s service as Florida’s first Chief Science Officer, and we are excited to work with Dr. Rains. There’s not a moment to lose." – Julie Wraithmell, Executive Director of Audubon Florida.

"Florida is fortunate to have Dr. Mark Rains stepping into the vitally important role of Chief Science Officer. Under his able leadership, science will guide our shared efforts to restore and conserve Florida's natural resources as well as prepare our state for a changing climate." – Jim McDuffie, President and CEO of Bonefish & Tarpon Trust.

“The position of Chief Science Officer in Florida is critical given the many water quality challenges facing the state, and it is important that sound science be central to protecting and restoring our waterways. We appreciate the work Dr. Frazer accomplished with the Blue-Green Algae Task Force and look forward to working with Dr. Rains as he takes on the role of Chief Science Officer going forward.” – Rob Moher, President and CEO of The Conservancy of Southwest Florida.

“While I’m sorry to hear that Dr. Frazer has stepped down, I truly appreciated everything he did for the state, and it was a pleasure working with him on the Blue-Green Algae Task Force. I look forward to having the same great working relationship with our new Chief Science Officer, Dr. Mark Rains. I welcome Mark to the position and look forward to helping him however I can.” – Dr. James Sullivan, Executive Director of the Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and member of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force.

“I am looking forward to working with Dr. Rains to find and implement practical solutions to our water quality problems and harmful cyanobacteria blooms.”– Dr. Michael Parsons, Director of the Vester Field Station at Florida Gulf Coast University and member of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force. 

Dr. Mark Rains is an accomplished geoscientist and has been a leader in the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Everglades Research program for over a decade. We are delighted that Governor DeSantis has chosen such an esteemed scientist, communicator and facilitator of science who has focused on protecting the future of water and environmental resources in Florida.” – Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation.

“True Everglades restoration has come a long way in two quick years because Governor DeSantis understands the urgency of issues facing the watershed and Florida and has kept his promises. The Everglades Trust is not surprised but is thankful he has brought on additional talent to his team.” – Kimberly Mitchell, spokesperson for the Everglades Trust.