On his second day on the job, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visited Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) marine field station to announce a major initiative that boosts funding for critically important water research and policy reforms.
Thursday morning’s event took place at FGCU’s Vester Marine and Environmental Science Research Field Station in Bonita Springs. The governor was flanked by First Lady Casey DeSantis and Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez as he signed an executive order that he said calls for “$2.5 billion over the next four years for water resources and Everglades restoration projects.”
“That represents $1 billion more than the previous four years,” he said. “That shows Florida’s commitment to getting these issues right.”
The location picked to announce what the Tampa Bay Times called a “sweeping environmental plan” was no coincidence.
“I think this university, in particular, can really make the water the signature issue,” DeSantis said about FGCU. “I know they’ve focused on it. We obviously want to help with that. I want to provide whatever help we can, whether it’s financial or whether it’s working with other researchers.”
DeSantis’ executive order comes on the heels of a year that saw red tide ravage Florida’s sea life. At the same time, blue-green algae clogged canals on both sides of the state. With a cadre of marine science scholars and researchers and facilities like Vester Field Station in Bonita Springs and the Everglades Wetland Research Park in Naples, FGCU is poised to continue its focus on finding solutions for Florida’s water crisis.
“We were delighted to host Governor DeSantis, and our local legislators, and leaders from the most prominent environment organizations in Florida at FGCU’s Vester Field Station,” said FGCU President Mike Martin. “The event speaks to the important role FGCU will play in collaboration with many others in addressing the critical water quality challenge facing Southwest Florida and indeed the whole state.”