Ernie Barnett
Department of Environmental Protection
Tallahassee, Florida

Ernie Barnett is the director of Ecosystem Projects with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. He coordinates the department’s ecosystem restoration and protection projects, and he coordinates the department’s efforts to restore the South Florida ecosystem. Mr. Barnett has worked with the department for 17 years, serving previously as a shellfish biologist, aquatic preserve manager, environmental administrator, and water management administrator. During his tenure, he has authored and co-authored 32 publications and agency reports on a variety of subjects. In addition, Mr. Barnett has contributed to the passage of several landmark environmental laws in the Florida Legislature and in the U.S. Congress. He co-authored the state’s Oil Pollution Control Act of 1992, which established the first natural resource damage assessment procedure in the country. Mr. Barnett helped draft and lobby for the successful passage of ecosystem management and Everglades restoration legislation during the 1995, 1996, 1999, and 2000 Florida legislative sessions. During the 2000 Florida legislative session, he was the lead state agent for the successful passage of the Lake Okeechobee Protection Act and the Everglades Restoration Investment Act, which dedicates $1 billion for Everglades restoration over 10 years. At the national level, Mr. Barnett helped secure passage of the Water Resource Development Act of 2000, which authorized the $7.8-billion Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. His environmental programs have been recognized for excellence in government by the Council of State Governments, and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, among others.

— John Outland, Department of Environmental Protection, Tallahassee, Florida