WHAT THEY ARE SAYING Environmental Leaders React to Gov. DeSantis’ Appointment of Dr. Thomas K. Frazer as Chief Science Officer

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Tallahassee, Fla. – Yesterday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the appointment of Dr. Thomas K. Frazer as the state of Florida’s first Chief Science Officer. Here is what environmental leaders and stakeholders are saying about the appointment:

“Yesterday’s announcement reflects Dr. Frazer’s impressive credentials and an equally impressive priority for science. Dr. Frazer is one of the nation’s premiere researchers, one who is well acquainted with the unique water challenges facing Florida. Governor DeSantis’ appointment of a Chief Science Officer is itself a historic occasion, one that signals that sound science will be at the core of Florida policy affecting the environment,” said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation.

“With our solid foundation in science as our guiding conservation principle, we thank Governor DeSantis for his bold hiring of Dr. Frazer to the position of Chief Science Officer for the state of Florida. In our long partnership with Secretary Valenstein and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and now more broadly with Dr. Frazer, we look forward to additional opportunities to serve the citizens of and visitors to Florida,” said Temperince Morgan,Executive Director of the Florida Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.

“Governor DeSantis has wisely selected a scientist with not only the sophistication to understand the science, but the ability to synthesize and communicate it. With these skills, Tom Frazer can be a catalyst for the environmental work we must undertake as a state, helping Florida craft policy solutions founded on science rather than rhetoric. From Gulf restoration to the Apalachicola and St. Johns rivers, North Florida’s springs to the River of Grass, the ecological principles underpinning Florida’s challenges are universal. This is an important opportunity for our entire state,” said Julie Wraithmell, Executive Director of Audubon Florida.

“Mote Marine Laboratory welcomes the opportunity to work closely with Dr. Frazer, who is an outstanding selection to help ensure objective science serves as the foundation for addressing the critical environment and water quality issues facing our state,” said Dr. Michael P. Crosby, President and CEO of Mote Marine Laboratory.

“Governor DeSantis made an outstanding choice by appointing Dr. Tom Frazer as Florida’s chief science officer. Dr. Frazer’s years of experience in water quality and Florida’s diverse habitats, in addition to his strong understanding of the economic impact of fisheries on our economy, are the perfect combination to take on the environmental challenges facing the Sunshine State. We look forward to working with him to improve Florida’s water quality and address Everglades restoration,” said Kellie Ralston, Policy Director of American Sportfishing Association’s Southeast Fisheries. 

“I applaud Governor DeSantis’ appointment of Dr. Tom Frazer as Chief Science Officer. Dr. Frazer’s accomplishments in cutting edge research and applied science demonstrate his deep understanding of Florida’s complex ecosystems, and I look forward to working with him in his new position,” said Eric Sutton, Executive Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

“From protecting Florida’s coasts to restoring Florida Everglades, it will take leadership and the best scientific knowledge to get the job done. The District looks forward to sharing all our scientific knowledge with Dr. Frazer. Thank you to Governor DeSantis for showing leadership in establishing this position and for choosing Dr. Frazer,” said Drew Bartlett, Executive Director of the South Florida Water Management District. 

“Dr. Frazer is an author of the 2015 University of Florida Water Institute’s “Technical Review” that is respected by all stakeholders. Dr. Frazer’s sound science and expertise will help us understand the history and effects of nutrient enrichment in Florida’s waters and how to achieve a healthy ecosystem,” said Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, Governing Board Member of the South Florida Water Management District.

“Dr. Frazer has long been a champion of Florida’s ocean and coastal resources. Florida’s marine environment is at a crossroads and Ocean Conservancy is pleased that he will be advising Governor DeSantis on the biggest environmental threats facing the state. Now more than ever, we can make changes to safeguard the future of our waters – and we need the scientific underpinning to make sure it is done right. Dr. Frazer brings that scientific expertise and we are excited to see what is in store,” said Jon Paul “J.P.” Brooker, Senior Manager and Policy Counsel for Florida Conservation for the Ocean Conservancy.

“I met Dr. Frazer when he was a member of the University of Florida Water Institute in 2015. They were doing the review of options to reduce flows to the coastal estuaries and move more water south from Lake Okeechobee to the Southern Everglades. Dr. Frazer certainly has the scientific experience and a deep interest in protecting Florida’s aquatic resources. We look forward to his leadership in supporting our understanding of Florida’s aquatic ecosystems and application of the science to protect and preserve our water resources,” said Mark Perry, Executive Director of the Florida Oceanographic Society.

“We applaud Governor DeSantis’ appointment of a scientist as one of his chief advisors. A clean environment is critical to our way of life as Floridians and science-based solutions to our water crisis can’t come quickly enough,” said Lisa Interlandi, Executive Director of the Everglades Law Center.

“We applaud Governor DeSantis’ choice of Dr. Thomas Frazer as Florida’s first Chief Science Officer. Florida’s complex environmental challenges, including the water quality issues that recently plagued both Florida coasts, require science-based, solutions-oriented leadership. Dr. Frazer has amply demonstrated he is just such a leader through his Chairmanship on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. With Dr. Frazer at the helm in that role, the Council is expected to approve a groundbreaking plan that would improve accountability and data in the red snapper fishery while enhancing recreational angler access. Dr. Frazer’s expertise in aquatic sciences and environmental stressors, paired with his experience leading the Department of Natural Resources and Environment for the University of Florida, position him as an exceptional choice to guide the state’s progress toward positive, scientifically sound solutions,” said Robert E. Jones, Director of the Gulf of Mexico Oceans Program.

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