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The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XXXV
AGRICULTURE, HORTICULTURE, AND ANIMAL INDUSTRY
Chapter 582
SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION
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CHAPTER 582
CHAPTER 582
SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION
582.01 Definitions.
582.02 Legislative policy and findings; purpose of districts.
582.055 Powers and duties of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; rules.
582.06 Soil and Water Conservation Council; powers and duties.
582.10 Creation of soil and water conservation districts.
582.11 Hearing upon question of creation; notice, etc.
582.12 Referendum for creation.
582.13 Expenses of referendum.
582.14 Results of referendum; publication, etc.
582.15 Organization of district, etc.
582.16 Change of district boundaries.
582.18 Election of supervisors of each district.
582.19 Qualifications and tenure of supervisors.
582.20 Powers of districts and supervisors.
582.28 Cooperation between districts.
582.29 State agencies to cooperate.
582.30 Discontinuance of districts; referendum; commissioner’s authority.
582.31 Certification of results of referendum; dissolution.
582.32 Effect of dissolution.
582.01 Definitions.As used in this chapter, the term:
(1) “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Agriculture.
(2) “Council” means the Soil and Water Conservation Council.
(3) “Department” means the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
(4) “District” or “soil and water conservation district” means a governmental subdivision of this state and a body corporate and politic, organized in accordance with the provisions of this chapter for the purpose, with the powers, and subject to the provisions set forth in this chapter. The term “district” when used in this chapter means and includes a “soil and water conservation district.” All districts organized under this chapter shall be known as soil and water conservation districts and shall have all the powers set out herein.
(5) “Due notice,” in addition to notice required pursuant to the provisions of chapter 120, means notice published at least twice, with an interval of at least 7 days between the two publication dates, in a newspaper or other publication of general circulation within the appropriate area.
(6) “Land occupier” or “occupier of land” means a person, other than the owner, who possesses any lands lying within a district organized under the provisions of this chapter, whether as lessee, renter, tenant, or otherwise.
(7) “Landowner” or “owner of land” means a person who holds legal or equitable title to any lands lying within a district organized under the provisions of this chapter.
(8) “Qualified elector” means a person qualified to vote in general elections under the constitution and laws of this state.
(9) “Supervisor” means a member of the governing body of a district who is elected in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
History.s. 3, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 1, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(474); s. 1, ch. 65-334; s. 1, ch. 67-207; s. 1, ch. 70-392; s. 1, ch. 74-53; s. 6, ch. 78-95; s. 4, ch. 78-323; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-129; s. 1, ch. 82-46; s. 2, ch. 83-265; ss. 1, 3, 4, ch. 87-25; s. 5, ch. 91-429; s. 22, ch. 2016-61.
582.02 Legislative policy and findings; purpose of districts.
(1) It is the policy of the Legislature to promote the appropriate and efficient use of soil and water resources, protect water quality, prevent floodwater and sediment damage, preserve wildlife, protect public lands, and protect and promote the health, safety, and general welfare of the people of this state.
(2) The Legislature finds that the farm, forest, and grazing lands; green spaces; recreational areas; and natural areas of the state are among the basic assets of the state and the conservation of these lands is necessary to protect and promote the health, safety, and general welfare of its people and is in the public interest.
(3) The Legislature further finds that to ensure the conservation of the state’s farm, forest, and grazing lands; green spaces; recreational areas; and natural areas, and to conserve, protect, and use soil and water resources, it is necessary that appropriate land and water resources protection practices be implemented.
(4) The purpose of the soil and water conservation districts is to provide assistance, guidance, and education to landowners, land occupiers, the agricultural industry, and the general public in implementing land and water resource protection practices. The Legislature intends for soil and water conservation districts to work in conjunction with federal, state, and local agencies in all matters that implement the provisions of this chapter.
History.s. 2, ch. 18144, 1937; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(473); s. 924, ch. 97-103; s. 23, ch. 2016-61.
582.055 Powers and duties of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; rules.
(1) The provisions of this chapter shall be administered by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
(2) The department is authorized to receive gifts, appropriations, materials, equipment, lands, and facilities and to manage, operate, and disburse them for the use and benefit of the soil and water conservation districts of the state.
(3) The department shall provide for an annual audit of the accounts of receipts and disbursements.
(4) The department may furnish information and call upon any state or local agencies for cooperation in carrying out the provisions of this chapter.
(5) The department may offer such assistance as may be appropriate to the supervisors of soil and water conservation districts and facilitate communication and cooperation between districts.
(6) The department may seek the cooperation and assistance of any federal, state, or county agencies in the work of such districts, including the receipt and expenditure of state, federal, and other funds or contributions.
(7) The department may disseminate information throughout the state concerning the activities, research, and programs of the soil and water conservation districts and encourage the formation of such districts in areas where their organization is desirable.
(8) The department may create or dissolve a soil and water conservation district pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
(9) The department may adopt rules, as necessary, to implement the provisions of this chapter.
History.s. 2, ch. 70-392; s. 44, ch. 98-34; s. 86, ch. 2013-18; s. 25, ch. 2016-61.
582.06 Soil and Water Conservation Council; powers and duties.
(1) COMPOSITION.
(a) The Soil and Water Conservation Council is created in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and shall be composed of 7 members who have been involved in the practice of soil or water conservation, or in the development or implementation of interim measures or best management practices related thereto, and who have been engaged in agriculture or an occupation related to the agricultural industry for at least 5 years at the time of their appointment.
(b) All members shall be appointed by the commissioner.
(c) Members shall serve 4-year terms or until their successors are duly qualified and appointed. If a vacancy occurs, it shall be filled for the remainder of the term in the manner of an initial appointment.
(2) POWERS AND DUTIES; MEETINGS; PROCEDURES; RECORDS.
(a) The meetings, powers and duties, procedures, and recordkeeping of the Soil and Water Conservation Council shall be conducted pursuant to s. 570.232.
(b) The council shall accept and review requests for creating or dissolving soil and water conservation districts and shall, by a majority vote, recommend, by resolution, to the commissioner that a district be created or dissolved pursuant to the request, or that the request be denied.
(c) When requested by the Governor or a district, the council shall provide a recommendation to the Governor whether to remove a supervisor for neglect of duty or malfeasance in office only after notice, hearing, and thorough review.
History.s. 4, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 2, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(475); s. 1, ch. 28094, 1953; s. 24, ch. 57-1; s. 19, ch. 63-400; s. 2, ch. 67-207; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 3, ch. 69-235; s. 3, ch. 70-392; s. 1, ch. 70-439; s. 16, ch. 77-108; s. 6, ch. 78-95; s. 1, ch. 78-261; s. 4, ch. 78-323; ss. 1, 2, 3, ch. 81-129; s. 1, ch. 82-46; s. 2, ch. 83-265; ss. 2, 3, 4, ch. 87-25; s. 5, ch. 91-429; s. 62, ch. 93-169; s. 27, ch. 94-335; s. 1, ch. 2003-97; s. 8, ch. 2006-289; s. 35, ch. 2012-190; s. 139, ch. 2014-150; s. 26, ch. 2016-61.
Note.Former s. 582.07.
582.10 Creation of soil and water conservation districts.
(1) Any 10 percent of owners of land lying within the limits of the territory proposed to be organized into a district may file a petition with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, asking that a soil and water conservation district be organized to function in the territory described in the petition. Such petition shall set forth:
(a) The proposed name of said district.
(b) That there is need, in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare, for a soil and water conservation district to function in the territory described in the petition.
(c) A description of the territory proposed to be organized as a district, which description shall not be required to be given by metes and bounds or by legal subdivisions, but shall be deemed sufficient if generally accurate.
(d) A request that the department duly define the boundaries for such district; that a referendum be held within the territory so defined on the question of the creation of a soil and water conservation district in such territory; and that the department determine that such a district be created.
(2) Where more than one petition is filed covering parts of the same territory the department may consolidate all or any petitions.
History.s. 5, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 3, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(476); s. 3, ch. 67-207; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 2, ch. 2003-97.
582.11 Hearing upon question of creation; notice, etc.Within 30 days after such a petition has been filed with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, it shall cause due notice to be given of a proposed hearing upon the question of the desirability and necessity, in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare, of the creation of such district, upon the question of the appropriate boundaries to be assigned to such district, upon the propriety of the petition and other proceedings taken under this chapter, and upon all questions relevant to such inquiries. All owners and occupiers of land within the limits of the territory described in the petition, and of lands within any territory considered for addition to such described territory, and all other interested parties, shall have the right to attend such hearings and to be heard. If it shall appear upon the hearing that it may be desirable to include within the proposed district territory outside of the area within which due notice of the hearing has been given, the hearing shall be adjourned and due notice of further hearing shall be given throughout the entire area considered for inclusion in the district and such further hearing held. After such hearing, if the department shall determine, upon the facts presented at such hearing and upon such other relevant facts and information as may be available that there is need, in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare, for a soil and water conservation district to function in the territory considered at the hearing, it shall make and record such determination, and shall define, by metes and bounds or by legal subdivisions, the boundaries of such district. In making such determination and in defining such boundaries, the department shall give due weight and consideration to the topography of the area considered and of the state, the composition of soils therein, the distribution of erosion, the prevailing land use practices, the desirability and necessity of including within the boundaries the particular lands under consideration and the benefits such lands may receive from being included within such boundaries, the relation of the proposed area to existing watersheds and agricultural regions, and to other soil and water conservation districts already organized or proposed for organization under the provisions of this chapter, and such other physical, geographical, and economic factors as are relevant, having due regard to the legislative determinations set forth in this chapter. The territory to be included within such boundaries need not be contiguous. If the department shall determine after such hearing, after due consideration of the said relevant facts, that there is no need for a soil and water conservation district to function in the territory considered at the hearing, it shall make and record such determination and shall deny the petition. After 6 months shall have expired from the date of the denial of any such petition, subsequent petitions covering the same or substantially the same territory may be filed as aforesaid and new hearings held and determinations made thereon.
History.s. 5, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 3, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(476); s. 3, ch. 67-207; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106.
582.12 Referendum for creation.After the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has made and recorded a determination that there is need, in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare, for the organization of a district in a particular territory and has defined the boundaries thereof, it shall consider the question whether the operation of a district within such boundaries with the powers conferred upon soil and water conservation districts in this chapter is administratively practicable and feasible. To assist the department in the determination of such administrative practicability and feasibility, the department, within a reasonable time after entry of the finding that there is need for the organization of the proposed district and the determination of the boundaries thereof, shall hold a referendum within the proposed district upon the proposition of the creation of the district, and cause due notice of such referendum to be given. The question shall be submitted by ballots upon which the words “For creation of a soil and water conservation district of the lands below described and lying in the County (ies) of  ,  , (and)  ” and “Against creation of a soil and water conservation district of the lands below described and lying in the County (ies) of   (and)  ” shall appear with a square before each proposition and a direction to insert an X mark in the square before one or the other of said propositions as the voter may favor or oppose creation of such district. The ballot shall set forth the boundaries of such proposed district as determined by the department. All owners of lands lying within the boundaries of the territory, as determined by the department, shall be eligible to vote in such referendum. Only such landowners shall be eligible to vote.
History.s. 5, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 3, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(476); s. 3, ch. 67-207; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106.
582.13 Expenses of referendum.The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall pay all expenses for the issuance of such notices and the conduct of such hearings and referenda, and shall supervise the conduct of such hearings and referenda. It shall issue appropriate regulations governing the conduct of such hearings and referenda, and providing for the registration prior to the date of the referendum of all eligible voters, or prescribing some other appropriate procedure for the determination of those eligible as voters in such referendum. No informalities in the conduct of such referendum or in any matters relating thereto shall invalidate said referendum or the result thereof if notice thereof shall have been given substantially as provided in s. 582.12, and said referendum shall have been fairly conducted.
History.s. 5, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 3, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(476); ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106.
582.14 Results of referendum; publication, etc.The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall publish the result of such referendum and shall thereafter consider and determine whether the operation of the district within the defined boundaries is administratively practicable and feasible. If the department shall determine that the operation of such district is not administratively practicable and feasible, it shall record such determination and deny the petition. If the department shall determine that the operation of such district is administratively practicable and feasible, it shall record such determination and shall proceed with the organization of the district in the manner hereinafter provided. In making such determination the department shall give due regard and weight to the attitude of the owners and occupiers of lands lying within the defined boundaries, the number of landowners eligible to vote in such referendum who shall have voted, the proportion of the votes cast in such referendum in favor of the creation of the district to the total number of votes cast, the approximate wealth and income of the landowners and occupiers of the proposed district, the probable expense of carrying on erosion-control operations within such district, and such other economic and social factors as may be relevant to such determination having due regard to the legislative determinations set forth in this chapter; provided, however, that the department shall not determine that the operation of the proposed district within the defined boundaries is administratively practicable and feasible unless at least a majority of the votes cast in the referendum upon the proposition of creation of the district shall have been cast in favor of the creation of such district.
History.s. 5, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 3, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(476); ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106.
582.15 Organization of district, etc.
(1) If the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall determine that the operation of the proposed district within the defined boundaries is administratively practicable and feasible, any five of the petitioners who signed the petition for the creation of the proposed district may present to the Department of State an application signed by them which shall set forth (and such application need contain no details other than the mere recitals):
(a) That a petition for the creation of the district was filed with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, and that the proceedings specified in this chapter were taken pursuant to such petition; that the application is being filed in order to complete the organization of the district under this chapter;
(b) The name which is proposed for the district; and
(c) The location selected by the department to be the principal office of the supervisors of the district.

The application shall be accompanied by a statement by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which shall certify (and such statement need contain no detail other than the mere recitals) that a petition was filed, notice issued, and hearing held as aforesaid; that the department did duly determine that there is need, in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare, for a soil and water conservation district to function in the proposed territory and did define the boundaries thereof, that notice was given and a referendum held on the question of the creation of such district, and that the result of such referendum showed a majority of the votes cast in such referendum to be in favor of the creation of the district; that thereafter the department did duly determine that the operation of the proposed district is administratively practicable and feasible. The said statement shall set forth the boundaries of the district as they have been defined by the department.

(2) The Department of State shall examine the application and statement and, if it finds that the name proposed for the district is not identical with that of any other soil and water conservation district of this state or so nearly similar as to lead to confusion or uncertainty, it shall receive and file them and shall record them in an appropriate book of record in its office. If the Department of State shall find that the name proposed for the district is identical with that of any other soil and water conservation district of this state, or so nearly similar as to lead to confusion and uncertainty, it shall certify such fact to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and to the five petitioners and the petitioners shall thereupon submit to the Department of State a new name for the said district not subject to such defects. Upon receipt of such new name, free of such defects, the Department of State shall record the application and statement, with the name so modified, in an appropriate book of record in its office. The Department of State shall make and issue a certificate under the seal of the state, of the due organization of the said district, and shall record such certificate with the application and statement. The boundaries of such district shall include the territory as determined by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
(3) After 6 months shall have expired from the date of entry of a determination by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that operation of a proposed district is not administratively practicable and feasible, and denial of a petition pursuant to such determination, subsequent petitions may be filed as aforesaid, and action taken thereon in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
History.s. 5, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 3, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(476); s. 7, ch. 22858, 1945; s. 1, ch. 25407, 1949; s. 3, ch. 67-207; ss. 10, 14, 35, ch. 69-106.
582.16 Change of district boundaries.Requests for increasing or reducing the boundaries of an existing district may be filed with the department, and the department shall follow the proceedings provided in this chapter to create a district.
History.s. 5, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 3, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(476); s. 2, ch. 25407, 1949; s. 3, ch. 67-207; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 28, ch. 2016-61.
582.18 Election of supervisors of each district.
(1) The election of supervisors for each soil and water conservation district shall be held every 2 years. The elections shall be held at the time of the general election provided for by s. 100.041. The office of the supervisor of a soil and water conservation district is a nonpartisan office, and candidates for such office are prohibited from campaigning or qualifying for election based on party affiliation.
(a) Each candidate for supervisor for such district shall qualify as directed by chapter 99.
(b) Each nominee who collects or expends campaign contributions shall conduct her or his campaign for supervisor of a soil and water conservation district in accordance with the provisions of chapter 106. Candidates who neither receive contributions nor make expenditures, other than expenditures for verification of signatures on petitions, are exempt from the provisions of chapter 106 requiring establishment of bank accounts and appointment of a campaign treasurer, but shall file periodic reports as required by s. 106.07.
(c) The names of all nominees on behalf of whom such nominating petitions have been filed shall appear upon ballots in accordance with the general election laws. All qualified electors residing within the district shall be eligible to vote in such election. The candidates who receive the largest number of the votes cast from each group of candidates in such election shall be the elected supervisors from such group for such district. In the case of a newly created district participating in a regular election for the first time, three groups of candidates shall be elected for terms of 4 years, and two groups shall be elected for initial terms of 2 years. Each candidate elected shall assume office on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January following the election.
(2) After the issuance of a certificate of organization of a soil and water conservation district by the Department of State, or in the event of a vacancy resulting from death, resignation, removal, or otherwise, each vacancy shall be filled by appointment by the remaining supervisors of the district until the next regular election.
History.s. 6, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 4, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(477); s. 2, ch. 28094, 1953; s. 3, ch. 67-207; ss. 10, 14, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 72-114; s. 2, ch. 74-53; s. 2, ch. 78-261; s. 42, ch. 84-302; s. 45, ch. 90-315; s. 925, ch. 97-103; s. 31, ch. 2001-40; s. 88, ch. 2002-1; s. 54, ch. 2007-30.
582.19 Qualifications and tenure of supervisors.
(1) The governing body of the district shall consist of five supervisors, elected as provided hereinabove.
(2) The supervisors shall designate a chair and may, from time to time, change such designation by majority vote. The term of office of each supervisor shall be 4 years, except that two supervisors shall be elected to serve for initial terms of 2 years, respectively, from the date of their election as provided in this chapter. A supervisor shall hold office until her or his successor has been elected and qualified. The selection of successors to fill an unexpired term shall be in accordance with s. 582.18(2). Selection for a full term in a newly created district shall be by election of the qualified electors of the district. A majority of the supervisors shall constitute a quorum and the concurrence of a majority of the supervisors in any matter within their duties shall be required for its determination. A supervisor shall receive no compensation for her or his services, but she or he shall, with approval of the supervisors of the district, be reimbursed for travel expenses as provided in s. 112.061.
(3) The supervisors may utilize the services of the county agricultural agents and the facilities of the county agricultural agents’ offices insofar as practicable and feasible and may employ such additional employees and agents, permanent and temporary, as they may require, and determine their qualifications, duties and compensation. The supervisors may delegate to their chair, to one or more supervisors, or to one or more agents, or employees such powers and duties as they may deem proper. The supervisors shall furnish to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, upon request, copies of such rules, regulations, orders, contracts, forms and other documents as they shall adopt or employ, and such other information concerning their activities as it may require in the performance of its duties under this chapter.
(4) The supervisors shall provide for the execution of surety bonds for all employees and officers who shall be entrusted with funds or property; shall provide for the keeping of a full and accurate record of all proceedings and of all resolutions, regulations, and others issued or adopted; and shall provide for an annual audit of the accounts of receipts and disbursements. Any supervisors may be removed by the Governor of this state upon notice and hearing, for neglect of duty or malfeasance in office, but for no other reason.
(5) The supervisors may invite the legislative body of any municipality or county located within or near the territory comprised within the district to designate a representative to advise and consult with the supervisors of the district on all questions of program and policy which may affect the property, water supply, or other interest of such municipality or county.
History.s. 7, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 5, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(478); s. 3, ch. 28094, 1953; s. 19, ch. 63-400; s. 3, ch. 67-207; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 3, ch. 74-53; s. 926, ch. 97-103.
582.20 Powers of districts and supervisors.A soil and water conservation district organized under the provisions of this chapter shall constitute a governmental subdivision of this state, and a public body corporate and politic, exercising public powers, and such district and the supervisors thereof shall have the following powers, in addition to others granted in other sections of this chapter:
(1) To conduct surveys, studies, and research relating to soil and water resources and to publish and disseminate the results of such surveys, studies, research, and related information;
(2) To conduct agricultural best management practices demonstration projects and projects for the conservation, protection, and restoration of soil and water resources:
(a) Within the district’s boundaries;
(b) Within another district’s boundaries, subject to the other district’s approval;
(c) In areas not contained within any district’s boundaries on lands owned or controlled by this state or any of its agencies, with the cooperation of the agency administering and having jurisdiction thereof; or
(d) On any other lands within the district’s boundaries, within another district’s boundaries subject to the other district’s approval, or not contained within any district’s boundaries upon obtaining the consent of the owner or occupier of the lands or the necessary rights or interests in such lands;
(3) To cooperate, or enter into agreements with, any special district, municipality, county, water management district, state or federal agency, governmental or otherwise, or owner or occupier of lands within the district’s boundaries, within another district’s boundaries subject to the other district’s approval, or not contained within any district’s boundaries in furtherance of the purposes and provisions of this chapter;
(4) To obtain options upon and to acquire, by purchase, exchange, lease, gift, grant, bequest, devise or otherwise, any property, real or personal, or rights or interests therein; to maintain, administer, and improve any properties acquired, to receive income from such properties and to expend such income in carrying out the purposes and provisions of this chapter; and to sell, lease, or otherwise dispose of any of its property or interests therein in furtherance of the purposes and provisions of this chapter;
(5) To make available, on such terms as it shall prescribe, to any owner or occupier of lands within the district’s boundaries, within another district’s boundaries subject to the other district’s approval, or not contained within any district’s boundaries agricultural and engineering machinery and equipment, and such other material or equipment, that will assist such landowners and occupiers to carry on operations upon their lands for the conservation and protection of soil and water resources;
(6) To construct, improve, operate, and maintain such structures as may be necessary or convenient for the performance of any of the operations authorized in this chapter;
(7) To provide, or assist in providing, training and education programs that further the purposes and provisions of this chapter;
(8) To sue and be sued in the name of the district; to have a seal, which seal shall be judicially noticed; to have perpetual succession unless terminated as provided in this chapter; to make and execute contracts and other instruments necessary or convenient to the exercise of its powers; upon a majority vote of the supervisors of the district, to borrow money and to execute promissory notes and other evidences of indebtedness in connection therewith, and to pledge, mortgage, and assign the income of the district and its personal property as security therefor, the notes and other evidences of indebtedness to be general obligations only of the district and in no event to constitute an indebtedness for which the faith and credit of the state or any of its revenues are pledged;
(9) To use, in coordination with the applicable county or counties, the services of the county agricultural agents and the facilities of their offices, if practicable and feasible. The supervisors may also employ additional permanent and temporary staff, as needed, and determine their qualifications, duties, and compensation. The supervisors may delegate to the chair, to one or more supervisors, or to employees such powers and duties as they may deem proper, consistent with the provisions of this chapter. The supervisors shall furnish to the department, upon request, copies of rules, orders, contracts, forms, and other documents that the district has adopted or used, and any other information concerning the district’s activities, that the department may require in the performance of its duties under this chapter;
(10) To adopt rules to implement the provisions of this chapter; and
(11) To request that the Governor remove a supervisor for neglect of duty or malfeasance in office by adoption of a resolution at a public meeting. If the district believes there is a need for a review of the request, the district may request that the council, by resolution, review its request to the Governor and provide the Governor with a recommendation.

Any provision with respect to the acquisition, operation, or disposition of property by public bodies of this state does not apply to a district organized under this chapter unless specifically so stated by the Legislature. The property and property rights of every kind and nature acquired by any district organized under the provisions of this chapter are exempt from state, county, and other taxation.

History.s. 8, ch. 18144, 1937; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(479); s. 7, ch. 22858, 1945; s. 2, ch. 65-334; s. 3, ch. 67-207; s. 5, ch. 69-235; s. 36, ch. 2012-190; s. 30, ch. 2016-61.
582.28 Cooperation between districts.The supervisors of any two or more districts organized under the provisions of this chapter may cooperate with one another in the exercise of any or all powers conferred in this chapter.
History.s. 12, ch. 18144, 1937; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(483).
582.29 State agencies to cooperate.Agencies of this state that have jurisdiction over, or are charged with, the administration of any state-owned lands, and of any county, or other governmental subdivision of the state, that have jurisdiction over, or are charged with the administration of, any county-owned or other publicly owned lands, shall cooperate to the fullest extent with the supervisors of such districts in the implementation of programs and operations undertaken by the supervisors under the provisions of this chapter. The supervisors of such districts shall be given free access to enter and perform work upon such publicly owned lands.
History.s. 13, ch. 18144, 1937; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(484); s. 37, ch. 2012-190; s. 32, ch. 2016-61.
582.30 Discontinuance of districts; referendum; commissioner’s authority.
(1) Any time after 5 years from the organization of a district under the provisions of this chapter, any 10 percent of owners of land lying within the boundaries of such district may file a petition with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services praying that the operations of the district be terminated and the existence of the district discontinued. The department may conduct such public meetings and public hearings upon petition as may be necessary to assist it in the consideration thereof. Within 60 days after such a petition has been received by the department it shall give due notice of the holding of a referendum, and shall supervise such referendum, and issue appropriate regulations governing the conduct thereof, the question to be submitted by ballots upon which the words “For terminating the existence of the   (Name of the soil and water conservation district to be here inserted)  ” and “Against terminating the existence of the   (Name of the soil and water conservation district to be here inserted)  ” shall appear with a square before each proposition and a direction to insert an X mark in the square before one or the other of said propositions as the voter may favor or oppose discontinuance of such district. All owners of lands lying within the boundaries of the district shall be eligible to vote in such referendum. Only such landowners shall be eligible to vote. No informalities in the conduct of such referendum or in any matters relating thereto shall invalidate said referendum or the result thereof if notice thereof shall have been given substantially as herein provided and said referendum shall have been fairly conducted.
(2) If two-thirds or more of the qualified voters in such referendum shall have voted for the discontinuance of the district, the department shall certify to the supervisors of the district the result of such referendum and that the continued operation of the district is not administratively practicable and feasible.
(3) In the alternative, the Commissioner of Agriculture may dissolve or discontinue a district if:
(a) Upon review and recommendation of the Soil and Water Conservation Council, the council determines that the continued operation of the district is not administratively practicable and feasible under the provisions of this chapter;
(b) The district fails to comply with any audit or financial reporting requirement of chapter 189 and the department’s inspector general reviews and confirms in writing that the district has failed to comply with such requirement; or
(c) The department receives a resolution adopted by the supervisors of the district requesting that the commissioner issue a certificate determining that the continued operation of the district is not administratively practicable and feasible under the provisions of this chapter.
(4) If the requirements for dissolution or discontinuance of a district are satisfied under subsection (1), subsection (2), or subsection (3), the department shall publish notice of a proposed certification determining that the continued operation of the district is not administratively practicable and feasible under the provisions of this chapter. The notice shall be published once a week for 2 weeks in a newspaper of general circulation within the county or counties in which the district is located, stating the name of the district and a general description of the territory included in the district, and requiring that any comments or objections to the proposed certification, or any claims against the assets of the district, must be filed with the department clerk not later than 60 days after the date of last publication.
(5)(a) Upon expiration of the 60-day period after the date of last publication, the commissioner, upon review of any comments or objections received under subsection (4), may issue a certificate determining that the continued operation of the district is not administratively practicable and feasible under the provisions of this chapter.
(b) If the commissioner issues a certificate determining that the continued operation of a district is not administratively practicable and feasible under the provisions of this chapter, the department shall file the original certificate with the Department of State and shall provide a copy of the certificate to the supervisors of the district at the district’s principal office designated under s. 582.15(1)(c).
History.s. 14, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 7, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(485); s. 3, ch. 67-207; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 3, ch. 2003-97; s. 52, ch. 2011-206; s. 38, ch. 2012-190.
582.31 Certification of results of referendum; dissolution.Upon receipt from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services of a certification that the department has determined that the continued operation of the district is not administratively practicable and feasible, pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, the supervisors shall forthwith proceed to terminate the affairs of the district. The supervisors shall dispose of all property belonging to the district at public auction and shall pay over the proceeds of such sale to be converted into the State Treasury, which amount shall be placed to the credit of the district for the purpose of liquidating any legal obligations the district may have at the time of its discontinuance. The supervisors shall thereupon file an application, duly verified, with the Department of State for the discontinuance of the district, and shall transmit with such application the certificate of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services setting forth the determination of the department that the continued operation of the district is not administratively practicable and feasible. The application shall recite that the property of the district has been disposed of and the proceeds paid over as in this section provided, and shall set forth a full accounting of such properties and proceeds of the sale. The Department of State shall issue to the supervisors a certificate of dissolution and shall record such certificate in an appropriate book of record in its office.
History.s. 14, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 7, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(485); s. 3, ch. 67-207; ss. 10, 14, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 39, ch. 2012-190.
582.32 Effect of dissolution.
(1) Upon issuance of a certificate of dissolution, s. 189.076(2) applies and all land use regulations in effect within such districts are void.
(2) The department shall not be required to entertain petitions for the discontinuance of any district nor conduct referenda upon such petitions nor make determinations pursuant to such petitions in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, more often than once in 5 years.
History.s. 14, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 7, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(485); s. 3, ch. 67-207; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 40, ch. 2012-190; s. 87, ch. 2014-22.