TALLAHASSEE — After saying he wants to put Florida on a “war footing” in its fight against widespread water pollution, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday began putting dollars behind that pledge.

DeSantis is asking the Legislature to spend $625 million this year on water projects, the first step toward a roughly $2.5 billion, four year investment to tackle problems plaguing Lake Okeechobee, nearby rivers and estuaries, freshwater springs and the Everglades.

“What we’re doing in the budget is historic,” DeSantis said in rolling out his environmental spending plan at Rookery Bay reserve near Naples. “I think it will have a very big impact on the water and quality of life in Florida, and I think it’s something that Floridians from all walks of life and political persuasions think needs to be done.”

The Republican governor outlined many of the goals he now wants dollars for in an executive order issued shortly after he was sworn in to office this month.

If he eventually gets the four years of funding, DeSantis said it would amount to $1 billion more than the state spent the previous four years under his predecessor, Gov. Rick Scott, whose jobs focus and slashing of state growth management regulations is blamed by many environmentalists for leading to the water woes.

DeSantis also began reshaping the South Florida Water Management District, whose nine-member board he wants overhauled after demanding the resignations of its current members.

The governor announced the nomination of Chauncey Goss to the district board. Goss is a Sanibel city councilman and son of former U.S. Rep. Porter Goss, who also was director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

In his budget proposal to the Republican-controlled Legislature, DeSantis is calling for increases in many areas of state environmental spending. For Everglades restoration, the $360 million he is seeking boosts dollars for nearby agricultural area projects intended to reduce nutrient runoff and ease the natural flow of water south toward Florida Bay.

The money also would go to reservoir projects under way that seek to store polluted water. DeSantis said he also has spoken with the Trump administration about lowering water levels in Lake Okeechobee to reduce the risk of rainy season discharges, which carry contaminants into nearby estuaries.

The proposed $50 million for springs cleanup matches the state’s current level of spending.

Still, DeSantis seems eager to set a fresh tone, pointing out that he will have a “chief resiliency officer” in the governor’s office to coordinate environmental programs that span several state agencies.

He also said the Department of Environmental Protection is seeking applicants for a nine-member, blue-green algae task force proposed in his executive order. The task force will to him with recommendations to stem repeats of the algal outbreaks that have plagued Florida for past year.

Officials earlier this week said that in Sarasota County the hotel occupancy rate tumbled last fall at the sharpest rate since the 2001 terrorist attacks — a tangible sign of how the region’s red tide kept tourists and their dollars away.

DeSantis on Tuesday also said the DEP is looking for a chief science officer, another element of his executive order. That new post is designed to coordinate scientific data and research and monitor environmental issues at the forefront of Florida.

Audubon Florida Executive Director Julie Wraithmell said she is optimistic about what she called a “pro-water agenda.”

“Water quality and quantity challenges are facing all corners of Florida, and these recommendations improve the outlook for water resources,” she said. “Florida’s environment is the foundation of our economy. Getting the water right protects our future.”

Lisa Rinaman with St. Johns Riverkeeper said she welcomed the new administration’s attention to sea level concerns.

“It’s an inland issue; it’s not just a coastal issue,” Rinaman said. “We’re already seeing impacts of sea level rise in downtown Jacksonville.”

Environmental writer Dinah Voyles Pulver of the Daytona Beach News-Journal contributed to this report.