DeSantis Awards Millions to Saving Florida's Reefs

DeSantis Awards Millions to Saving Florida's Reefs

Governor DeSantis has awarded $9.5 million in efforts to restore Florida's dying coral

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
March 23, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL—Governor Ron DeSantis has awarded $9.5 million toward restoring the struggling third largest barrier reef system in the world—Florida's own coral reefs.

Through Florida's Coral Reef Restoration and Recovery Initiative, DeSantis has granted $9.5 million to safeguard Florida's Coral Reef, which is the third-largest barrier reef system behind Australia's Great Barrier Reef and the Belize Barrier Reef System.

“Florida’s Coral Reef protects Southeast Florida against approaching storms and attracts visitors year-round,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Safeguarding our coral reef is important both environmentally and economically and we will continue to support projects that keep this natural resource healthy."

The Sunshine State's reef extends over 350 nautical miles from the Dry Tortugas to the St. Lucie Inlet, but the massive ecosystem has faced coral bleaching, hurricanes, and Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease—a sickness decimating coral populations.

DeSantis' award money, however, is to be partially used on rearing species most impacted by the illness in attempts to slowly increase the affected population.

“As we tackle environmental challenges, we understand that preparation and planning make all the difference,” said Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Shawn Hamilton. “We are extremely thankful that this administration has prioritized environmental initiatives, because without them, we might be facing a different outcome for Florida’s Coral Reef.”

More than 90% of Florida's corals have died over the past 40-years, mostly attributed to rising water temperatures causing stress to the marine life. These uninhabitable temperatures cause algae around the coral to retreat, causing the coral to bleach and die.

Efforts to restore coral populations are underway, with environmental groups working to harvest and replant the most sensitive populations. Since 2019, DeSantis and the Florida Legislature have spent over $50 million for coral reef recovery and restoration.

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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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