ORLANDO – Gov. Rick Scott highlighted a dedicated source of revenue that will provide $1.6 billion for Florida springs restoration over the next 20 years as part of his proposed 2015-2016 budget.
If passed by the Legislature, $50 million will go toward springs restoration next year.
“Florida’s springs are one of the many natural treasures that bring families, visitors and job creators to our state," Scott said. "Over the last two years, we have championed record funding for Florida’s springs, and we are committed to building on that success going forward. By making these important investments now, we will be protecting and restoring our great springs for generations to come.”
The budget also proposes a dedicated source of revenue to provide more than $5 billion for Everglades restoration over the next 20 years, including $150 million next year. The proposed budget also includes more than $150 million for land acquisition and management, which will focus in part on protecting land for the Florida panther.
Robert Beltran executive director of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, said: “Florida’s springs are environmental treasures and economic drivers for our state. In the Southwest Florida Water Management District alone there are more than 150 documented springs providing $46 million in direct economic impact annually. Governor Scott’s continued investment goes a long way to restoration and protection of these unique water resources.”
Daniel O’Keefe, governing board chairman of the South Florida Water Management District, said: “Protecting Florida’s water resources requires sound science as well as sound investments. Gov. Scott has consistently directed funding to strategic projects and initiatives that benefit our environment, which in turn strengthens our state’s economy.”