Governor Ron DeSantis announced the appointment of Dr. Thomas K. Frazer as the State of Florida’s first Chief Science Officer. Joining Governor DeSantis at the announcement were Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Noah Valenstein and leadership of Florida’s environmental organizations.
On January 10, Governor DeSantis announced major water policy reforms for the state of Florida by signing Executive Order 19-12 (Achieving More Now for Florida’s Environment). Among many other initiatives, the executive order called for the appointment of a Chief Science Officer to coordinate and prioritize scientific data, research, monitoring and analysis needs to ensure alignment with current and emerging environmental concerns most pressing to Floridians.
“As one of Florida’s leading environmental researchers, Dr. Frazer understands the unique water issues facing our state and the actions we must take to solve them,” said Governor DeSantis. “Since day one, my administration has been laser focused on addressing our pressing environmental challenges and commitment to science-based solutions. With science at the center, Florida can lead the world in environmental innovation and water quality improvement.”
“We are excited to have Dr. Frazier join our team and lead the effort to ensure sound science is at the forefront of our mission to achieving more now for Florida’s environment,” said DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein. “Dr. Frazier’s impressive background and connection to our state’s leading research institutions will be the perfect addition. Through collaboration and with science as our foundation, we are on the path to meaningful improvement for Florida’s water quality.”
“I am incredibly honored by this appointment and I thank Governor DeSantis for naming me Florida’s first Chief Science Officer,” said Dr. Frazer. “Our environment and waterways make Florida unique. I look forward to working with the Governor and the Department of Environmental Protection on ways we can use sound science and research to improve our state’s water quality and protect the environment.”
Thomas K. Frazer
Since 2012, Dr. Frazer has served as the Director of the University of Florida’s School of Natural Resources and Environment and previously served as Acting Director of the UF Water Institute. Prior to this position, he served as Associate Director of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation and the Leader of the Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Program. At UF, his research focuses on the effects of anthropogenic activities on the ecology of both freshwater and marine ecosystems. He currently serves as chair of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. He received his B.S. in Marine Fisheries from Humboldt State University, his M.S. in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences from the University of Florida and his PhD. In Biological Sciences from the University of California Santa Barbara.
Dr. Frazer is on temporary leave from the School of Natural Resources and Environment. In his absence, Dr. K. Ramesh Reddy, graduate research professor of wetland biogeochemistry in the UF/IFAS Soil and Water Sciences Department, will serve as interim director of SNRE. Reddy recently stepped down as chair of the Soil and Water Sciences Department.
Editor’s note: The above announcement is credited to the governor’s office.