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.

This page was last updated on September 18, 2020.

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. 

The Conservancy 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

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

Thanks to the positive strides taken by Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature, conservation in our state continues to move in a positive direction. With $650 million allocated for water quality advancements, progress toward implementing the recommendations of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force, allotting essential funds for land acquisitions through Florida Forever including $8.6 million for agriculture conservation easements, we are well on our way toward a better quality of life for Floridians and a more sustainable future for the state. It is now imperative to follow these achievements with action and begin implementation to secure the protection of Florida’s natural resources that we all depend upon.  As we are all rapidly adjusting to our current situation and concerns around the spread of COVID-19, it is important that we acknowledge achievements and good news where we can along with recognizing the role that nature plays in our health and well-being.

Temperince Morgan
Executive Director
The Nature Conservancy in Florida

Download the 2020 Florida Legislative Results Report

  • 2020 Florida Legislative Results Report

    The 2020 Florida Legislative Session has Adjourned

    The Florida legislature dedicated $690 million overall 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.  

Sunny day flooding in the streets of 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.
Florida panther roaming in the wild in Florida
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 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.