Governor Ron DeSantis has put a spotlight on Florida’s significant progress in manatee protection during his visit to Blue Spring State Park.
This visit comes at a time when the park reported a historic sighting of 932 manatees, a testament to the state’s conservation success.
Governor DeSantis has prioritized funding for manatees and water quality improvements that enhance manatee habitats, investing over $50 million in manatee programs and more than $1.8 billion in water quality improvements since 2019. As a result, in 2023, Florida manatees had the lowest mortality rate since 2017.
“Florida’s manatee population continues to strengthen because of our record investments in manatee protection programs and water quality improvements,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.
“I am grateful for FWC for their proactive rescue and rehabilitation efforts.”
“Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, over $30 million in the Fiscal Year 2022–2023 budget was allocated to enhance and expand manatee rescue and rehabilitation efforts and provide habitat restoration for areas where manatees are highly concentrated,” said Roger Young, Executive Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“We are grateful for his continued dedication to providing resources for manatee care and rehabilitation.”
“Clean, sustainable water resources are critical for Florida’s residents, visitors, economy and manatees,“ said Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Shawn Hamilton.
“Because of Governor DeSantis’ vision and leadership, along with the support of the Florida Legislature, the state is seeing incredible momentum for environmental protection to ensure Florida’s natural resources are preserved for generations to come.”
Since 2019, Governor DeSantis has approved more than $50 million for manatee protection, expanding and enhancing manatee rescue and rehabilitation efforts and providing habitat restoration for areas where manatees are highly concentrated. Additionally, Florida has invested $325 million to restore Florida’s world-renowned springs which serve as an important manatee habitat when the animals seek warmer waters in the wintertime.
Governor DeSantis has also prioritized investments in water quality across the state, approving more than $1.8 billion for water quality improvement projects since 2019. This includes more than $163 million dedicated to projects in the Indian River Lagoon on the east coast of Florida, which is home to thousands of manatees.
In the Governor’s Focus on Florida’s Future Budget Proposal, he has called for more than $330 million to continue targeted water quality improvements. This includes $100 million for a second year to continue the Indian River Lagoon protection program. Additionally, the Governor has proposed $9.5 million to continue Florida’s successful manatee protection programs.