May 10, 2023
Bonefish & Tarpon Trust supported historic funding and multiple bills during Florida’s 2023 legislative session to improve water quality and fish habitat along the state’s coasts and estuaries. BTT is grateful to President Passidomo, and Senators Broxon and Brodeur as well as Speaker Renner and Representatives Leek and Altman for their support. We also thank Governor DeSantis for his ongoing leadership on environmental issues.
Funding and relevant bills and their benefits for Florida’s waters and fisheries are highlighted below.
Environmental Funding Highlights
The 2023 session was another historic year for environmental funding. BTT supported the passage of this record funding throughout the legislative process.
In addition, BTT successfully advocated for a new, $2.5 million grant program to fund innovative wastewater technologies that will begin to address contaminants of emerging concern, like pharmaceuticals. This funding is a direct response to BTT research and puts Florida on the cutting edge of water quality improvements that will ensure the conservation of our natural resources.
Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Environmental Package (House Bill 1379)
HB 1379 will reduce the nutrients entering our waterways. These nutrients cause harmful algal blooms (HABs) that impact fish, wildlife, and people, and exacerbate Florida’s red tides. BTT thanks the bill’s sponsors- the House Infrastructure Strategies Committee; the House Water Quality, Supply & Treatment Subcommittee; Representatives Steele and Overdorf; and the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee; the Environment and Natural Resources Committee; and Senator Brodeur. The DEP Environmental Package:
Seagrass Restoration Development (House Bill 724)
Seagrass provides vital habitat for bonefish, tarpon, permit and their prey. It is also a critically important component of healthy and viable coastal ecosystems. BTT thanks the bill’s sponsors – the House Agriculture, Conservation & Resiliency Subcommittee; and Representatives Robinson and Sirois and others; and the Senate Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government; the Senate Environmental and Natural Resources Committee; and Senator Boyd and others.
BTT looks forward to working with the Governor’s office for final approval of these funding and policy priorities. In addition, we are monitoring and engaged in discussions on the implementation of line 146 of SB 2500 that would implement a one-year preemption on new or modified local fertilizer ordinances while a comprehensive study on their effectiveness is completed.
We also look forward to working with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on the implementation of the Innovative Wastewater Technology Grant Program, and all of our federal, state and local partners on Everglades restoration and water quality and habitat programs.
Bonefish & Tarpon Trust
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