Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida.
Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee © Michael Rivera

Stories in Florida

Government Relations

Using our powerful voice to support conservation.

The Nature Conservancy in Florida accomplishes so much through our projects and programs across the state, while providing sound science and expertise to those in government who prioritize and act on our conservation challenges. 

TNC shares conservation messages with legislators to empower positive action and thoughtful discussion. We meet regularly with state and federal elected officials on issues important to the future of nature and people. In their own districts and beyond, representatives have joined us outdoors to get a first-hand look at issues, natural systems, and management. Officials have joined us at our preserves, in the water, and even onsite for prescribed fire among the longleaf pines. There’s nothing like experiencing nature close-up to gain a deeper understanding and a feeling of ownership that encourages protection, conservation, and the allocation of much needed funds.

 

The Nature Conservancy in Florida Policy Positions

Address and plan for climate change in the State of Florida

  • Develop a Climate Action Plan for the State of Florida.
  • Embrace Natural Climate Solutions as a tool to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
  • Support the promotion and integration of climate change adaptation projects and natural solutions/infrastructure in disaster mitigation and recovery planning and projects.

Support healthy freshwater

  • Continue to fund state and local government efforts to address sources of pollution including stormwater runoff and septic tanks; including septic to sewer conversions.
  • Continue to fund and support Alternative Water Supply development to diversify water supply sources statewide.

Allocate funding to protect and restore Florida’s natural systems

Policy

Appropriations in the Approved 2022 Florida Budget

  • Florida Forever - $400 million for Rare and Sensitive Lands/Florida Wildlife Corridor Acquisition
  • Water Quality Enhancements - $1.1 billion
  • Resilient Florida Initiative - $530 million
  • Panhandle Estuaries - $2.5 million for Northwest Florida Estuary Program, Pensacola and Perdido Bays
  • Innovative Technologies - $10 million for supporting the evaluation and implementation of innovative technologies and short-term solutions to combat or clean up harmful algal blooms and nutrient enrichment of Florida’s fresh waterbodies, including lakes, rivers, estuaries and canals.
  • Everglades Restoration - $342 million
  • Northern Everglades and Estuaries - $71 million
  • Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project - $50 million
  • Alternative Water Supply - $40 million
  • St. Johns/Suwannee/Apalachicola Rivers watersheds and Springs Coast watershed water quality improvements - $75 million
  • Land Management to Water Management Districts - $10.2 million
  • FDACS Land Management - $8.9 million
  • Florida Forest Service Budget - $132 million

A Message from the TNC Florida Executive Director

Temperince Morgan, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy in Florida.
Temperince Morgan TNC Florida Executive Director © Eric Morgan

The 2021 Florida Legislative Session has adjourned. Overall, approximately one billion dollars has been dedicated to the environment and conservation in Florida leading to positive impacts to the work of The Nature Conservancy in Florida.

Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature prioritized the stewardship of the environment and conservation with historic budget allocations to programs that are critical to a sustainable future for our state and our health and well-being.

By establishing the Resilient Florida program and providing $600 million in project funding, Florida will now have tools and resources to reduce the impacts of sea level rise and flooding to people, communities, and critical assets such as shorelines and conservation lands.

Funding the State’s land protection program, Florida Forever, at $400 million is remarkable and The Nature Conservancy stands ready to assist the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in conserving our rare and sensitive lands.

With over one billion dollars allocated for water quality improvements, Everglades, Florida springs, septic to sewer conversions, and the implementation of Senate Bill 64 which will help meet the water supply demands of our residents and visitors, Florida continues to focus on best managing our water resources.

In Florida, nature isn’t out there—it’s right here. Together, we are responsible for conserving our environment for Floridians and nature. It is imperative we follow these commitments with action and begin the implementation necessary to secure the protection of Florida’s natural resources that we all depend upon. 

Temperince Morgan
Executive Director
The Nature Conservancy in Florida

Download the 2021 Florida Legislative Results Report

  • 2021 Florida Legislative Results Report

    The 2021 Florida Legislative Session has Adjourned

    Overall, approximately one billion dollars has been dedicated to the environment and conservation in Florida.

    DOWNLOAD

2021 Florida Legislative Platform

The Nature Conservancy government relations team continues to build support and find innovative ways to reach lawmakers who can help us protect land and water, tackle climate change, provide food and water sustainably, build healthy cities, and connect people and nature. We engage with city, county, state and federal representatives, making recommendations to influence policy and keep nature at the forefront of decision-making.  

A car drives through standing water in an intersection in the Brickell neighborhood in Miami.
Sunny Day Flooding Miami's Brickell neighborhood. © Wikimedia Creative Commons

Climate

Address and plan for climate change in the State of Florida

Advocates for the development a Climate Action Plan for the State of Florida that includes GHG emission reduction strategies:

  • Legislative direction to FDEP to develop and execute a greenhouse gas inventory for the State of Florida.
  • Legislative funding for the Florida Climate Institute compilation of a risk assessment of Florida’s climate vulnerability necessary to develop support for a state climate plan.
  • Adoption of language recognizing Natural Climate Solutions as a tool to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change and in disaster mitigation and recovery planning and projects.
  • Legislative direction to develop a funding strategy for local government Climate Compacts, and regional planning councils to plan for sustainability/resiliency projects to meet the demands of climate change as regional building block of the State Climate Action Plan.
A Florida panther at night walking past a camera trap.
Florida Panther A Florida panther roaming in the wild. © fStop Foundation

Land

Funding for Land Management, Conservation Easements and Land Management

Future Florida land acquisitions should address strategic needs such as connecting wildlife corridors, enhancing water quality and water storage, or provide buffers to existing state-owned lands.

  • Conservation easements, like those in the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program, are invaluable to keeping agriculture vibrant in Florida and ensuring the long-term sustainability of our precious Florida land. 
  • The Nature Conservancy extends its technical expertise to state agencies to execute existing real estate transactions.

During the 2021 Florida Legislative Session, The Nature Conservancy advocates for the following:

  • Florida Forever at $50 million.
  • Rural and Family Lands at $10 million.
  • Land Management - Additional funding to FDEP and the Division of Forestry to grow land management funding.

The Nature Conservancy's priority is the Florida Panther Corridor – support for these identified projects:

  • Fisheating Creek Ecosystem
  • Caloosahatchee Ecoscape
  • Twelvemile Slough
  • Panther Glades
  • Devil’s Garden - remaining parcels
  • Lake Wales Ridge Ecosystem/Hendrie Ranch
Clear blue water with a forest shoreline at Manatee Spring in Florida.
Manatee Spring Fresh water spring in Florida © Lesley Bertolotti/TNC

Freshwater

  • Recommends a heightened standard of protection of our water bodies beyond Minimum Flows and Levels.
  • Recommends the Peace Creek Watershed plan with funding including Alternative Water Supply funding.
  • Support and grow Septic to Sewer conversions statewide.
A stand of palm trees at the end of tall wetland grass in the Fakahatchee Strand marshes of the Florida Everglades.
Everglades Fakahatchee Strand marshes comprise the River of Grass. © Jeff Ripple

Everglades

The Florida Chapter of The Nature Conservancy fully supports the 20-year history of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and encourages the Federal government to fund Congressionally authorized projects.  Keeping funding focused on projects that are already planned and authorized for construction is the most effective way to assure that Everglades restoration stays on track because the projects are sequenced based on science to achieve the quickest ecosystem benefits. TNC encourages the Legislature to incentivize regional projects in the Northern Everglades that improve water quality and/or help manage flows into Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries.

  • TNC Recommends updates to Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule based on sound science and complete stakeholder participation and include equality among all water users.
  • Support legislation and funding, if filed, accelerating Northern Everglades and Lake Okeechobee projects, Aquifer Storage and Recovery.
Schooling porkfish gather under the protection of coral on a beautiful coral reef in Key Largo, Florida.
Coral Reef A coral reef in the Florida Keys. © Rachel Hancock Davis

Healthy Oceans

  • Support the continued funding for Estuary Programs in Florida.
  • Support the implementation of a public/private partnership of the Florida Oceans Alliance as outlined in the Alliance’s restoration plan.
  • Recommends the adoption/implementation of the Oyster Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management Plan for the Greater Pensacola Bay System.
  • Support for appropriations for ongoing coral reef restoration and further research and studies to improve health of coral reefs.