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DeSantis announces $30 million in funding for manatee rescue programs

Posted at 1:39 PM, May 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-02 16:43:21-04

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — During a press conference in Jacksonville, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that more than $30 million in the 2022-23 budget will go toward the enhancement and expansion of manatee rescue and rehabilitation efforts.

This is a more than $17 million increase over the current year's budget.

“This historic funding will support important restoration efforts across the state to benefit our manatees and Florida’s natural environment,” DeSantis said. “My administration will continue working to find new and innovative ways to support our native species, like the manatee, so that the generations to come can experience Florida’s natural resources.”

The more than $30 million included in the budget includes:

  • $20 million to enhance and expand the network of manatee acute care facilities, restore access to springs, provide habitat restoration in manatee concentrated areas, expand manatee rescue and recovery efforts, and implement pilot projects like the supplemental feeding trials that took place this past winter.
  • $5.3 million to expand Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) manatee mortality and response efforts, including 12 new positions.
  • $160,000 to support increased aerial surveys.
  • $4.7 million in base funding to support manatee acute care facilities and research, rescue, and conservation activities.

“Governor DeSantis has provided great support for addressing the manatee unusual mortality event in the Indian River Lagoon and we appreciate his efforts,” said FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton. “This historic investment in manatee rescue efforts and habitat restoration will expand the state’s critical care network, increase access to warm water environments, and restore access to manatee foraging habitat.”