WE NEED YOUR HELP. Our legislature is using the final hours of Florida’s 2019 legislative session to reduce Florida Forever funding.
Florida voters like you made it very clear that the Florida Forever program must be fully funded, not least because of the link between healthy lands and waters and economic prosperity. The wild lands protected by Florida Forever provide recreation and a home for native species. They are critically important for drinking water–recharging our aquifers and acting as natural sinks for excess phosphorus to keep our rivers and estuaries clean. Floridians have fought to prioritize the acquisition of natural lands as a proactive response to more costly and less effective restoration efforts down the road.
Despite this, acquisition funds have been misappropriated, Florida Forever has been infamously defunded, and now in keeping with less-than-admirable trends, the State House and Senate have currently budgeted it at $20-45 million–a far cry from the $100 million requested by Gov. DeSantis. This is clear disregard for the will of the people who continue to struggle with environmental, economic, and human health disasters like toxic algae blooms from Lake Okeechobee discharges.
Florida’s estuaries and America’s Everglades can’t wait decades for action. The acquisition of natural lands has the ability to increase storage, treatment, and conveyance of fresh water from Lake Okeechobee–putting an end to toxic discharges to the coastal estuaries and providing life-giving freshwater to the Everglades and Florida Bay. By securing full funding of Florida Forever, we have a chance for meaningful progress towards protecting Florida’s most exceptional places.
You can make a difference. Before session ends tomorrow, please click here to send a pre-formatted email to the Budget Conference Committee Appropriations Chairs telling them to follow the Governor’s lead (and yours) and stand up to legislative leaders trying to siphon off the acquisition funds for other purposes. Let them know that you don’t support a budget that underfunds Florida Forever.