By: Chad Gillis, Fort Myers News-Press
Optimism flowed at The Hilton in Naples Wednesday as environmental groups applauded moves from Gov. Ron DeSantis and welcomed new South Florida Water Management District governing board member Chauncey Goss.
"Right now I'm actually enthusiastic about what we're going to see ahead," said Goss, who is also on the Sanibel city council. "Six months ago not so much. Six months ago was really tough, particularly on Sanibel. Our economy absolutely shut down, completely. I've never seen anything like it. Our environment shut down. It was awful. But I'm seeing change."
Goss spoke in front of more than 100 people at a Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce breakfast.
He said DeSantis is committed to improving Florida's ailing waterways.
Southwest Florida was hit last year with a double-whammy when a red tide was killing tons of marine wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico while a blue-green algae bloom was plaguing the Fort Myers and Cape Coral areas.
"He got to see how awful it was (while visiting during the campaign)," Goss said of the new governor. "He knows that every single person living in Southwest Florida wants to be here for the quality of life, and he recognizes that the economy is integrally related to basically what is going on in the environment. That's the reason I'm encouraged."
Goss was the first water district governing board appointee for DeSantis, who has since also selected "Alligator" Ron Bergeron to serve on the same board.
DeSantis asked the entire nine-member board to step down soon after he was elected. It had approved a controversial lease to sugar farmers on lands designated for the Everglades Area Agriculture, or EAA, reservoir, a vote many thought should have been postponed and better advertised…