SARASOTA-  Less than 48 hours after taking office, Governor Ron DeSantis rolled out his first big policy initiative, signing an executive order aimed at protecting Florida’s water quality.

 “By rolling out really bold policy to start,” DeSantis said. “We’re not just talking, we’re acting, and I promised that I would take action if the environment was threatened and I’m following through.”

Governor Rob DeSantis is starting out his term by calling for $2.5 billion dollars for water restoration and protection over the next four years.

“Some of it will be going to water resource projects,” DeSantis said. “That will help with water quality, some of it may be going to places like this who are doing good work.”

His executive order also calls for harmful algal bloom task forces and the appointment of a chief science officer.

“We want to listen to people who are on the ground, in the fight,” DeSantis said. “Who know what may work, what may not, and obviously we still don’t have all the answers on red tide, I wish we did.”

Mote Marine Lab CEO Dr. Michael Crosby says he’s working with the governor and legislature on a funding proposal to develop ways to fight algae blooms.

“A new initiative that would really focus on a very intense five year technology development program,” Dr. Michael Crosby said. “That would develop these technologies at a much more rapid pace over a five year period of time.”

State Senator Joe Gruters says the Governor’s order goes hand in hand with bills he’s already filed to keep pollution out of Florida waters.

“Mote and scientists have already said there is a direct correlation between man made pollution and the intensification of red tide,” Gruters said. “We have to do a better job at mitigating that intensification and hopefully my bills will do that.”

Governor DeSantis says protecting these waterways is the key to protecting Florida’s prosperity.

“We have a great opportunity to do some things with the economy,” DeSantis said. “Some other things, but if we don’t get this right, a lot of the other things it’s much more difficult to get those issues right.”