This week, Gov. Ron DeSantis tapped Dr. Thomas Frazer to be Florida’s first Chief Science Officer.
On Monday, DeSantis, state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Sec. Noah Valenstein and environmental activists held a media event to make the announcement.
Frazer has led the University of Florida’s School of Natural Resources and Environment since 2012. Before that, he served as acting director of the UF Water Institute. Before that, he was 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,” the governor’s office noted. “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.”
“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,” the governor’s office noted.
“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 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. Frazer 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 Valenstein. “Dr. Frazer’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 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.”