Local governments will get help building environmental protections into their long-term comprehensive growth plans under an Executive Order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this month.
Executive Order 23-06 Achieving Even More Now for Florida’s Environment directs collaboration among state agencies. It proposes a $3.5 billion set aside over four years for Everglades’ restoration and protection of the state’s water resources.
Signed by DeSantis during a Jan. 10 press event in Bonita Springs, the order directs the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to work with the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) to improve local governments’ long-term comprehensive growth plans to ensure sustainable growth while protecting the area’s natural resources.
The order also expands the state’s existing Wastewater Grant Program by broadening project eligibility to address how a project affects water quality from sources such as stormwater and agricultural runoff.
Hernando County’s Utilities Director Gordon Onderdonk welcomed increased funding for the Wastewater Grant Program.
“Recently, we’ve been very successful in receiving funding from this program to upgrade our wastewater facilities to advanced treatment and convert septic systems to centralized sewers. These projects will reduce the groundwater nitrogen that is negatively impacting Weeki Wachee Springs,” he said. “This additional funding could allow us to complete additional phases of our septic to sewer program, which is reliant on receiving 85 percent grant funding to reduce the amount of homeowner contribution.”