Gov. DeSantis pledges $30 million to help save Florida manatees

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis is pledging $30 million in funding toward manatee rescue programs and habitat restoration.

The announcement comes as Florida is on track to see another record year for manatee deaths.

More than 300 deaths have been reported in Brevard County alone this year.

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The governor says there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to saving the manatees, but he feels this will help supercharge those efforts.

In a news conference in Jacksonville, DeSantis announced a commitment of more than $30 million in the 2022-2023 fiscal year’s budget to help with manatee restoration and rehabilitation efforts.

“This historic funding will support important restoration efforts across the state to benefit our manatees and Florida’s natural environment,” DeSantis said. “My administration will continue working to find new and innovative ways to support our native species, like the manatee so that the generations to come can experience Florida’s natural resources.”

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Manatees have been dying in record numbers in what some wildlife leaders are calling an environmental crisis.

Experts believe a lack of seagrass has led to a high number of deaths.

The governor’s funding would put $20 million toward care facilities, restoring access to springs and habitat restoration.

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Another $5.3 million would go toward expanding FWC’s manatee response efforts and $4.7 million would support research and conservation efforts.

Temporary response teams at FPL’s Cape Canaveral Clean Energy Center have already used more than 200,000 pounds of produce to feed at least 800 manatees.

“I know there’s been a lot of work that’s been done, but this will be able to supercharge those efforts,” DeSantis added.

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