Message from Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle

Florida, District are committed to state’s water resources

June 3, 2021

A view of Moses Creek from the District’s Moses Creek Conservation Area.

A view of Moses Creek from the District’s Moses Creek Conservation Area.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and state lawmakers have demonstrated their dedication to Florida’s natural resources with approval of several bills along with significant funding during the recently concluded legislative session, making it clear they are committed to protecting Florida’s environment and water resources.

Among environmental bills of note are two related to water quality, water supply, flood protection and natural systems, all core mission topics we work on daily at the St. Johns River Water Management District. The first is Senate Bill 1954, which created the Resilient Florida Program. It will be administered by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and provide grant funding for projects that promote resiliency. Senate Bill 2514 created the Resilient Florida Trust Fund, which the Legislature funded at $641 million, to fund resiliency projects. Resiliency projects are those that help communities respond to flood vulnerabilities and adapt to future conditions such as sea-level rise.

Also linked to these measures is Senate Bill 2512, which revises Documentary Stamp Tax distributions. This will provide future recurring revenue annually for the new Resilient Florida Grant Program. In addition, it provides for the Water Sustainability and Accountability Trust Fund to be used for the wastewater treatment grant program. The wastewater treatment grant program received $641 million for the coming year.

The state budget provides millions of dollars in funding for beneficial projects, such as $75 million for springs restoration and $40 million for alternative water supply. Specific to our District, the budget includes our annual appropriation of $2.25 million for land management activities.

We are grateful to the Governor, Legislature and state leaders for their dedication to Florida’s water and natural environment. We stand committed to the collaborative work ahead to ensure sustainable water for Florida.

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