New Florida chief science officer to address water quality, climate change

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida’s chief science officer said ensuring water quality and tackling climate change are among his priorities for his office, which is the first state-level position of its kind in the country.

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Dr. Tom Frazer recently assumed office after being appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier in the year. His main job is to provide lawmakers and those who shape state policies with relevant scientific facts, The Daily Beast reported.

In a call Friday with reporters, Frazer outlined his main focuses: water quality, particularly recent toxic algae blooms, and rising sea levels.

"There is a lot of information out there and it's distributed widely throughout the state," Frazer told The Guardian. "It's important to harness that information, simplify it, provide it to individuals responsible for making policy and carrying out management actions, so, in that regard, science is intended to really inform those policy decisions."

Next on Frazer’s agenda is to get the Blue-Green Algae Task Force up and running.

“The task force will try to better understand the causes of these blooms throughout the state and how we can contain them, what technology, for example, we can bring to bear on dealing with them,” Frazer said.

Frazer and other state officials, such as Florida’s Secretary of Environmental Protection Noah Valenstein, plan to form a cohesive, statewide approach to ensuring resilience against storms and rising sea levels.

Previously, Frazer was director of the University of Florida's School of Natural Resources and Environment.