Treasure Coast residents who dealt with another summer of toxic algae will be keeping a close eye on Gov. Ron DeSantis to see if he can actually pull off all the promises of clean water.
At the Riverland Marina, it’s been a few months since they’ve seen any blue-green algae here in the South Fork of the St. Lucie River.
They hope DeSantis can keep it that way.
“If the governor can do half of what he says he’s gonna do, it would be fantastic,” Tom Nolin said.
Nolin is maintenance director and groundskeeper at Riverland Mobile Home Park and Marina near Stuart.
“I think Gov. DeSantis is coming in knowing that there’s a problem," he said. "A big problem and people around here are upset about it."
Last summer, when water was being discharged from Lake Okeechobee to lower the lake level, the St. Lucie River was fouled by blue-green algae.
“This marina was, for the most part, constantly green,” Nolin said.
So Nolin is relieved that DeSantis plans to do something, including spending $2.5 billion on Everglades restoration and protection of water resources, as well as creating a Blue-Green Algae Task Force.
“I’m just hoping that he can follow through with what he’s talking about,” Nolin said.
DeSantis is also calling for the resignation of all the members of the South Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board, which is not sitting well with at least one board member.
“Speaking for myself, I will not be resigning. I don’t feel it would be appropriate for me to resign. I think for the governor to ask it is not respectful of the time and energy the board members have put in,” said James Moran, a SFWMD Governing Board member from Wellington. “I’ve put eight years of my life into the district and I don’t want to go out under these circumstances."
Meanwhile, back at the Riverland Mobile Home Park and Marina, Nolin wonders if the governor really can get his water quality reforms done. He hopes Gov. DeSantis is not just trying to make headlines.
“Politicians say a lot of things," he said. "It doesn’t always happen."
But Nolin says he’s glad to see the DeSantis has come out with this water quality plan so quickly, just two days after being sworn in.