The Florida governor has a bold vision for the long-term protection of the state’s natural resources.
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — On Tuesday, Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 1379 to bolster Florida’s common sense conservation agenda.
“Four years ago, I laid out a bold agenda for the protection of Florida’s natural resources and we not only met our ambitious goals – we greatly exceeded them,” said Governor DeSantis.
“In Florida, our natural resources are the foundation of our way of life and a large driver of the economy. With this legislation, we are building on the progress we have made in water quality protection and land conservation, ensuring that we leave Florida better to God than we found it for future generations.”
The new law enhances protections for the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), expands the existing wastewater grant program, strengthens Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs), improves local government long-term comprehensive planning and creates dedicated funding for the state’s land conservation efforts.
In January, DeSantis signed Executive Order 23-06 to build on Florida’s historic investments and accomplishments during his first term. The order directed a record-setting $3.5 billion over four years to protect water resources and restore America’s Everglades.
“With the signing of House Bill 1379, Governor DeSantis is both renewing and expanding upon his commitment to protecting and restoring our water quality statewide, with a much-needed focus on some of our most at-risk waters in the Everglades and the Indian River Lagoon,” said Chief Science Officer Dr. Mark Rains. “This legislation directs strategic action to address nutrient sources and expedite restoration.”
HB 1379 provides comprehensive protections for Florida’s environment, including:
- Enhancing the protection of the Indian River Lagoon by creating the IRL Protection Program and requiring a comprehensive water quality monitoring program.
- Expanding the eligibility requirements for the Wastewater Grant Program to include stormwater and agriculture and expanding the geographic areas of eligibility to include all waterbodies that are not meeting water quality standards.
- Strengthening Basin Management Action Plans by requiring local governments to identify projects that will help meet nutrient reduction goals.
- Improving local government’s long-term comprehensive planning to support environmental protection and restoration by requiring comprehensive plans to determine the feasibility of providing sewer over septic in certain areas and upgrading systems to advanced wastewater treatment.
This bill also dedicates $100 million annually to the Florida Forever Program – Florida’s premier conservation and recreation lands acquisition program.