On Tuesday, Governor Ron DeSantis visited Blue Spring State Park highlighting state funding to protect Florida’s manatees and improve water quality. In January, Blue Spring State Park saw a record 932 manatees seeking warm waters in the spring, beating their previous record on New Year’s Day of 736 manatees. The state has funded over $50 million in manatee programs and more than $1.8 billion in water quality improvements since 2019. As a result, in 2023, Florida manatees had the lowest mortality rate since 2017. 

“Florida’s manatee population continues to strengthen because of our record investments in manatee protection programs and water quality improvements,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I am grateful for FWC for their proactive rescue and rehabilitation efforts.” 

Since 2019, Governor DeSantis has approved more than $50 million for manatee protection, expanding and enhancing manatee rescue and rehabilitation efforts and providing habitat restoration for areas where manatees are highly concentrated. Additionally, Florida has invested $325 million to restore Florida’s world-renowned springs which serve as an important manatee habitat when the animals seek warmer waters in the wintertime. 

Governor DeSantis has also prioritized investments in water quality across the state, approving more than $1.8 billion for water quality improvement projects since 2019. This includes more than $163 million dedicated to projects in the Indian River Lagoon on the east coast of Florida, which is home to thousands of manatees. 

In the Governor’s Focus on Florida’s Future Budget Proposal, he has called for more than $330 million to continue targeted water quality improvements. This includes $100 million for a second year to continue the Indian River Lagoon protection program. Additionally, the Governor has proposed $9.5 million to continue Florida’s successful manatee protection programs.