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.

 

Legislative Priorities and Policy Positions

Address and plan for climate change in the State of Florida

  • Support the development of a Climate Action Plan for the State of Florida.
  • Advocate for natural climate solutions as a tool to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
  • Support the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) in planning and prioritizing how and where Florida Resilience Funding is directed and the incorporation of nature-based solutions.
  • Support the Florida Climate Institute’s project: "Laying the Groundwork for ‘Getting to Neutral’ in the State of Florida,” which includes a statewide greenhouse gas emissions inventory and net-zero action planning.
  • Support development of policies that promote the adoption of electric vehicles and renewable energy by public and private sectors.

Support healthy freshwater

  • Advocate for continued funding of state and local government efforts to address sources of pollution including stormwater runoff and septic tanks, including septic to sewer conversions.
  • Support funding and policies that improve Alternative Water Supply development to diversify water supply sources statewide.
  • Support development and adoption of FDEP Rules that improve water quality (e.g., stormwater and septic tank siting rules).
  • Implementation of recommendations of Blue-Green Algae Task Force not previously adopted.

Protect, manage, and restore Florida’s natural systems

  • Advocate for consistent long-term appropriations to address land acquisitions and conservation easements on rare and sensitive lands.
  • TNC extends its technical expertise to state agencies to execute existing real estate transactions.
  • Support consideration by Florida road building authorities of strategies to avoid and or acquire land identified as high priority Wildlife Corridor tracts.
  • Support policies and funding that reduce discharge of nutrients into Florida’s springs, rivers, lakes and estuaries.
  • Support policies and funding that improve Florida’s springs, rivers, lakes and coastal habitat restoration efforts and Everglades restoration.
  • Support funding for Florida’s Estuary Programs.
Sustainable development
  • Support projects and policies that reduce impacts to green spaces and water resources and improve urban resilience, the capacity of a city's systems, businesses, institutions, communities, and individuals.
  • Support legislation that prioritizes state investments in innovative stormwater infrastructure.
  • Support FDOT prioritization of green infrastructure in design, construction and reconstruction/repair of public highways that will meet the demands of Florida’s climate change challenges. 
  • Support energy and water efficiency opportunities.

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 © Roberto Gonzalez
The 2022 Florida Legislative Session began with our first week of Legislative Committees, and the full session begins January 11, 2022.  The Nature Conservancy will continue to work with our legislators for the greater conservation good of Florida. 
 
In the 2021 Legislative Session, approximately one billion dollars was dedicated to the environment and conservation in Florida leading to positive impacts to the work of The Nature Conservancy in Florida. This was an amazing achievement and we look forward to another great Session in 2022.
 
Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature have consistently 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.
 
In Florida, nature isn’t out there—it’s right here. Working with our elected leaders in Tallahassee, we can conserve and protect our environment for Floridians and nature.
 
 
Temperince Morgan

Executive Director
The Nature Conservancy in Florida

Download the 2021 Florida Legislative Results Report

2022 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 greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction strategies:

  • Support efforts from legislation and regional compacts to reduce GHG emissions.
  • Support legislation codifying and funding the position of Chief Resiliency Officer for the State of Florida.
  • Support legislation encouraging expansion of renewable energy including solar.
  • Support legislation and funding that supports planning for and deployment of electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure.
  • Legislative funding for the Florida Climate Institute to perform a risk assessment of Florida’s climate vulnerability which will support a state climate plan.
  • $2 million to FDACS to support the Sequestering Carbon and Protecting Florida Land Program.
Florida panther standing in front of a highway underpass wildlife crossing.
Florida Panther Florida panther crossing under SR80 via wildlife underpass © Carlton Ward Jr.

Land

Funding for Strategic Land Acquisition, 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.

During the 2022 Florida Legislative Session, The Nature Conservancy advocates for the following:

The Nature Conservancy's priorities in the Florida Wildlife 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

Land Management

$30 million to FDEP and grow agency land management funding in:

  • Division of Forestry
  • DEP DSL Land Management
  • DEP Parks Land Management
  • Water Management Districts
  • Greenways CARL Land Management
  • FWC land management, including Invasive Plant Management
Clear blue water with a forest shoreline at Manatee Spring in Florida.
Manatee Spring Fresh water spring in Florida © Lesley Bertolotti/TNC

Freshwater

  • Recommend a heightened standard of protection of our water bodies beyond Minimum Flows and Levels.
  • Support expansion of Septic to Sewer conversions statewide.
  • Support efforts of restoration of the Ocklawaha River.
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 Panhandle Estuary Programs in Florida.
  • Support the UF/IFAS Oyster to Wild Harvest and Aquaculture Pilot Plan.
  • Support appropriations for coastal and marine restoration efforts.
Public wetland in Florida.
Public Greenspace An example of green stormwater infrastructure. © Lesley Bertolotti/TNC

Sustainable Development

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 decades-long history of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and encourages the Federal government's funding of 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.