Gaming compact revenues to fund environmental preservation in Florida

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Florida Construction News staff writer

In a move he says will safeguard Florida’s environment, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation to direct $150 million generated by the Seminole Tribe Compact to essential repairs and upgrades on the Central and South Florida Water Management System.

Also, the legislation mandates that 96 percent of the revenue from the compact be allocated to fund water quality improvement, infrastructure enhancements, and the ongoing acquisition and management of conservation lands across Florida.

“Among Florida’s greatest assets are its natural resources,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “This revenue stream will further enhance our efforts to conserve our natural resources, protect our waterways, and make our ecological infrastructure more resilient.”

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the South Florida Water Management District support the plan.

“The consistent revenue stream from this legislation will allow the state to double down on its efforts to protect Florida’s natural resources for generations to come,” said Shawn Hamilton, Secretary of the DEP.

Funds will also be allocated for a comprehensive study of Lake Okeechobee in collaboration with the Florida Gulf Coast University Water School, focusing on invasive plant control, replanting of native vegetation, and wildlife management.

For the fiscal year 2024-2025, the legislation appropriates various distributions of the Seminole Gaming Compact revenues, including $100 million for land acquisitions within the Florida Wildlife Corridor and $100 million for the Resilient Florida Grant Program, aimed at safeguarding communities against storm damage and flooding.

For more information on the legislation, refer to the full text available here.

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