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Gov. Rick Scott Announces Budget Plan For Florida Panthers, Everglades

Jessica Meszaros

Governor Rick Scott spoke to reporters with a caged Florida panther present Tuesday at Gator Park in Miami. He announced that $150 million will go toward Everglades restoration this year and $5 billion throughout the next 20 years. Partof the plan he announced funds projects to protect panthers-- 2014was a bad year for panther deaths. The other part is to move, clean and store Florida’s water supply.

Credit Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

"We will first focus on finishing projects that can provide storage to protect our estuaries and their everglades within the next four years," the governor said. "These projects alone will store more than 100 billion gallons of water."

EricEikenbergis the CEO of the Everglades Foundation, a non-profit that strives to protect the Everglades. He was at the governor’s talk.

"This is the shot in the arm to ensure that we finish projects -- projects that have been underway for a number of years, projects that are still needing to be funded," saysEikenberg.

But he says the governor’s plan won’t just restore the Everglades, he says it will also create jobs. These projects require engineers, architects and other graduates of science, technology, engineering and math majors.

"Everglades is a perfect example of how S.T.E.M.-based careers are ensuring that we restore this, America's Everglades,"Eikenbergsaid.

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Since 2012, I’ve been a voice on public radio stations across Florida - in Miami, Fort Myers, and now Tampa.