SECURING OUR STATE COMMITMENT TO THE ENVIRONMENT
Gayle worked diligently for over 2 years with Speaker Crisafulli, Rep. Matt Caldwell and the environmental community including the Everglades Foundation, the Nature Conservancy and Audubon Florida to craft HB 989 – Legacy Florida. Governor Rick Scott signed the bill on Everglades Day.
- Legacy Florida will provide a consistent, dedicated funding source to restore the Florida Everglades, Lake Okeechobee, and the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers. Importantly for us on the Treasure Coast, it will bring much needed relief to our communities affected by water releases from Lake Okeechobee.
- Under provisions of the legislation, a minimum of 25% of Amendment 1 dollars or at least $200 million will be appropriated each and every year for restoration projects that implement the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan for at least $4 billion, the Long Term Plan and the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program. Priority must be given to projects that reduce the discharges from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries.
Gayle worked closely with Governor Jeb Bush and Senator Ken Pruitt from the time she was first elected in 2000 to fund over $2.4 billion for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and $200 million for Lake Okeechobee Restoration.
Gayle supported the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program (NEEPP) in 2007, which expanded the Lake Okeechobee Protection Act to include the Caloosahatchee and the St. Lucie Rivers and estuaries.
Gayle supported the Indian River Lagoon-South Restoration Project consisting of multiple water storage and water treatment projects including the construction and operation of four new above ground reservoirs (including connecting canals, control structures, and levees) as well as four new STAs. Early phases of construction of the C-44 reservoir have already begun with state dollars.
Gayle worked closely with Senator Negron to fund the recommendations of the Senate Select Committee on the Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee Basin.
Gayle worked diligently in the House to procure $135 million for Everglades restoration in the 2014 Budget and $78 million in the 2013 Budget.
Gayle voted for $50 million for springs restoration around the state in the 2014 Budget.
Gayle fought for funding of Florida Forever since she was first elected in 2000.
Gayle voted for $57.5 million to Florida Forever for the purchase of lands to preserve Florida’s unique natural resources and enhance recreational opportunities in the 2014 Budget and $70 million in the 2013 Budget.
PARTNERING WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
Gayle has sponsored a Memorial or message to Congress for 5 years, including HM 607, Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, urging Congress to authorize the next phase of Everglades restoration. Each of these Memorials represent the voice of the people of the State of Florida speaking directing to the Congress and the President of the United States to send a strong message to fund the Everglades Restoration program. Under the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan passed by Congress in 2000 the state and the federal government are to be 50-50 partners in Everglades restoration.
Gayle has travelled to Washington, D.C. on many occasions to meet directly with our Congressional Delegation as well as influential Members of various environmental committees to encourage funding for CERP and Hubert Hoover Dike repair. She has also met directly with Army Corp of Engineers both in Jacksonville and Washington, D.C. to discuss the releases from Lake Okeechobee and repair the Hubert Hoover Dike
PARTNERING WITH LOCAL COMMUNITIES
Gayle has worked with our local County Commissions, City Commissions and Councils, and the St. Lucie River Issues Team. She was worked diligently to secure over $32 million for local Issue Team projects over the years, $100 million for the C-44 Canal project in Martin County, $3 million for the Danforth Creek Storm Water project, $30,000 for water testing in the St. Lucie Estuary by the Martin County Health Department, $3 million to control agricultural runoff in the Okeechobee, Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie River watersheds as well as funding for our local beaches and inlets.