TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Shawn Hamilton held a press conference on Thursday, announcing seven awards totaling $22.7 million to support Biscayne Bay water quality.

Biscayne Bay is the state’s largest estuary with a direct connection to Florida’s Coral Reef.

“People want to be here. They understand how nice it is,” the governor said. “But we’ve also seen over the years that it has a lot of unique challenges and there have been a lot of efforts to recognize this and to help ameliorate problems as best that we could.” 

Money awarded through the Biscayne Bay grant program to support water quality and other protection projects with go to the village of Key Biscayne, Coral Gables, Miami Springs, North Miami, Miami-Dade County and Cutler Bay, according to Gov. DeSantis.

“You’re looking at things like septic to sewer conversions, you’re looking at storm water management, you’re looking at additional wetland restoration. And so these awards are going to help the areas located around Biscayne Bay, reduce the impacts, it’s a very big, populous part of the state, and so there’s just naturally things that you have to deal with,” he said.

“In the year since we convened the Biscayne Bay Commission, we have improved coordination among stakeholders to develop a path toward restoration of this treasured resource,” said Hamilton. 

The seven projected funded through the awards are:

  • $14.5 million to Miami-Dade County for water quality characterization and pollution reduction projects
  • $2.3 million to the City of North Miami for septic to sewer conversions
  • $2 million to the City of Coral Gables for Phase I Sanitary Sewer improvements
  • $2 million to the City of Miami Springs for storm water infrastructure
  • $700,000 to the Town of Cutler Bay for wetland restoration
  • $650,000 to the Village of Key Biscayne for storm water infrastructure
  • $600,000 to Miami River Fund, Inc., a non-profit organization, will work with local governments on storm water and marine debris management 

Thursday’s funding awards brings the four-year total investment in Biscayne Bay water quality and protection to $52 million, according to the governor’s office.