Accountability & Transparency

Ron DeSantis Press Conference

The Office Of Environmental Accountability and Transparency

Created in 2019, in accordance with the objectives outlined in Governor Ron DeSantis’ Executive Order, the Office of Environmental Accountability and Transparency has been charged, in part, with ensuring key water quality objectives are clearly communicated to the public.

Located in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Office of the Secretary, and led by a chief science officer, the office will identify and organize agency resources and scientific expertise to address the broad suite of environmental challenges facing Florida today and those that we can expect in the future. The Office of Environmental Accountability and Transparency will:

  • Lead agency priorities that require management and integration of science and policy as well as coordination between programs and internal and external organizations.
  • Promote and facilitate agency research initiatives intended to address key environmental issues, explore data and identify opportunities to take innovative approaches to address these issues.
  • Organize and manage public-facing communication on priority environmental issues.
Dr. Mark Rains Headshot

About Our Chief Science Officer

Dr. Mark Rains was announced as chief science officer on March 30, 2021. This position was established by Governor Ron DeSantis in his Executive Order in January 2019, and Dr. Rains is the second state CSO in Florida’s history.

This position focuses on leading statewide strategies to address priority environmental issues statewide, and works to ensure that science is at the forefront of environmental protection and policy. With vast expertise engaging across sectors, Dr. Rains is dedicated to working with stakeholders to ensure common values are implemented into science-based policy decisions.

Dr. Rains currently serves as a professor and was past chair and director of the School of Geosciences at the University of South Florida. He earned his bachelor’s degree in ecology, behavior and evolution from the University of California at San Diego, his master’s degree in forest resources from the University of Washington and his Ph.D. in hydrologic sciences from the University of California at Davis.

Dr. Rains is also a certified professional wetland scientist with years of experience in both the public and private sectors in Florida, Alaska and California.