WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Environmental Leaders Applaud Governor Ron DeSantis Signing Legislation to Protect Florida’s Water Resources and Support Conservation Efforts

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CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850-245-2112, DEPNews@FloridaDEP.gov

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Environmental Leaders Applaud Governor Ron DeSantis Signing Legislation to Protect Florida’s Water Resources and Support Conservation Efforts 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Yesterday, Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 1379 into law, which supports the goals of Executive Order 23-06 (Achieving Even More Now for Florida’s Environment) and builds on the historic investments and accomplishments over the last four years.   

Read what environmental leaders are saying about this comprehensive environmental protection legislation: 

Governor Ron DeSantis’ signing of House Bill 1379 marks a new day in prioritizing environmental preservation. This legislation provides $100 million in recurring funding to the Florida Forever program, reaffirming the state’s commitment to protecting and expanding critical green spaces. Additionally, this legislation will expedite crucial land deals to bolster our state’s biodiversity and improve water quality, safeguarding both human health and the delicate ecosystems that rely on clean water.” – Greg Knecht, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Florida. 

“This is a historic moment for Indian River Lagoon restoration and stewardship. On behalf of the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program, I want to thank Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for their continuing support and investments to protect and restore this estuary of national significance.” – Dr. Duane De Freese, Executive Director, Indian River Lagoon Council and the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program. 

“Audubon Florida is gratified to see House Bill 1379's provisions to enhance efforts to restore our springs, rivers and estuaries with a particular focus on the Indian River Lagoon, the most biodiverse estuary in North America. Consistent funding of $100 million annually to Florida Forever, our state’s iconic, transparent, science-based land acquisition program, is a testament to the importance of Florida’s environment to our state’s prosperity. Our watersheds need help, and at a time when Floridians are increasingly concerned about algae blooms, we are glad to see these protections signed into law.” – Julie Wraithmell, Executive Director, Audubon Florida. 

“The current Florida Department of Environmental Protection administration has laid out an important path to improving Florida's waters. The signing of House Bill 1379 is a critical step in continuing progress for water quality across the state. The bill lays out substantive efforts to tackle statewide water quality issues like nutrient pollution and establishes exciting momentum for our waterways throughout Florida, like the treasured Indian River Lagoon. We thank Governor DeSantis for his leadership in this legislation by directing Executive Order 23-06, Achieving Even More Now for Florida’s Environment, and for continuing to prioritize protections for Florida’s treasured waters.” – Capt. Daniel Andrews, Executive Director, Captains for Clean Water. 

On behalf of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation, I would like to thank Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for recognizing the need to prioritize conservation. The passage and signing of House Bill 1379 will improve processes for securing critical connections within the Florida Wildlife Corridor and beyond. Through smart legislation and collaboration, process improvements and continued significant funding, Florida is leading the way in advancing our state’s wildlife corridor. The state will continue to grow, and it’s important that we accelerate conservation to keep pace so that we preserve wild Florida for future generations.” – Mallory Dimmitt, Chief Executive Officer, Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation.  

“Water quality is key for healthy aquatic habitats and the fisheries that define the state of Florida. Bonefish & Tarpon Trust is grateful for the leadership of Governor DeSantis and the strong commitment of the Florida Legislature to the health of the Indian River Lagoon. The establishment of the Indian River Lagoon Protection Program and the historic funding to support water quality efforts and habitat restoration are a great step forward for this iconic sportfishing destination.” – Kellie Ralston, Vice President of Conservation and Public Policy, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust. 

“With the signing of House Bill 1379, Governor Ron DeSantis is once again delivering on his promise to Floridians to improve our state’s water quality and safeguard our precious natural resources. The Governor’s Executive Order 23-06 laid out a clear vision to further protect our environment and complements the environmental accomplishments made possible by Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 19-12. We appreciate the Florida Legislature’s commitment to providing the resources and legislative changes necessary to make this happen. We look forward to working with Governor DeSantis, the Department of Environmental Protection, local governments, and our partners to do even more to protect and restore Florida’s environment.” – Chauncey Goss, Chairman, South Florida Water Management District Governing Board

“Governor DeSantis continues to demonstrate his commitment to restoring and protecting Florida’s waterways and natural resources. By signing House Bill 1379, he has not only ensured the funding of vital projects to help tackle nutrient pollution and restore the health of the Indian River Lagoon, but he also has helped strengthen critical water quality monitoring and long-term planning efforts.” – Rob Bradley, Chairman, St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board 

“We applaud the Florida Legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis for continuing to put Florida’s environment at the forefront of the state’s priorities. This legislation makes important strides toward protecting our Outstanding Florida Springs and preserving even more of the state’s critical conservation lands through the Florida Forever program.” – Brian Armstrong, Executive Director, Southwest Florida Water Management District. 

“This legislation builds upon the protections for our precious natural resources already prioritized by Governor DeSantis and the Legislature. We share the governor’s vision for a commonsense approach while working with local governments to protect water quality throughout the state, and we are grateful for additional Florida Forever funding for land conservation efforts.” – Lyle Seigler, Executive Director, Northwest Florida Water Management District. 

“We are supportive and appreciative of Governor DeSantis for recognizing the benefits of this bill and its efforts in addressing water quality concerns in our state. Protecting our vital water resources is paramount to the continued growth of our state.” – Hugh Thomas, Executive Director, Suwannee River Water Management District.