Gov. Rick Scott on Friday appointed Ocala attorney Fred Roberts Jr. to the St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board.

Roberts, 33, succeeds Arlen Jumper of Fort McCoy, whose term as a governor had expired in August. Roberts’ term will run until March 2015.

“I’m excited about the opportunity,” he said on Monday.

“Water is such an important part of our community and our lives here. This was an opportunity to leap into service to participate in one of the most crucial issues for our community.”

The seat Roberts takes is designated for a resident of the Ocklawaha River basin, which besides eastern Marion includes portions of Alachua, Lake, Orange and Putnam counties.

“From a broad perspective, I’ll simply be looking to preserve and protect our water resources,” Roberts said. “We are a major component of the St. Johns River Water Management District’s total area. We need to be a major part of the discussion.”

Roberts added that he seeks to ensure the district is operating efficiently and “properly investing those resources from a water and a fiscal perspective.”

At one point last fall, the pool for the St. Johns board contained 12 applicants — half of whom were from Marion County.

That roster included Clay Albright, an Ocala Realtor who served as a St. Johns governor from 1999 to 2007; Andy Kesselring, a former county commissioner from Ocala known for his environmentally friendly positions during his two terms; and Don Browning of Weirsdale, once the Ocala-Marion County Chamber of Commerce’s environmentalist of the year and now a congressional candidate.

Albright and Browning had openly sought the board slot nearly a year ago. Roberts was a relative latecomer, applying for the post in December.

Lane Wright, the governor’s spokesman, said in an email on Monday that “Gov. Scott chooses his appointments based on their qualifications, ability to do the job and how closely they share Gov. Scott’s vision for accountable government agencies and organizations. He appointed Fred Roberts Jr. because he felt Mr. Roberts was the most qualified candidate for the job.”

Roberts has served on the board of directors for the College of Central Florida Foundation since 2009 and on the board of the Boys Girls Club of Marion County since 2008. He is a board member of First United Methodist Church and is active in the Metropolitan Ocala Rotary Club, United Way and Friends of Scouting.

Contact Bill Thompson at 352-867-4117 or [email protected]