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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XVIII
PUBLIC LANDS AND PROPERTY
Chapter 259
LAND ACQUISITIONS FOR CONSERVATION OR RECREATION
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CHAPTER 259
CHAPTER 259
LAND ACQUISITIONS FOR CONSERVATION OR RECREATION
259.01 Short title.
259.03 Definitions.
259.032 Conservation and recreation lands.
259.0322 Reinstitution of payments in lieu of taxes; duration.
259.035 Acquisition and Restoration Council.
259.036 Management review teams.
259.037 Land Management Uniform Accounting Council.
259.04 Board; powers and duties.
259.042 Tax increment financing for conservation lands.
259.045 Purchase of lands in areas of critical state concern; recommendations by department and land authorities.
259.047 Acquisition of land on which an agricultural lease exists.
259.05 Issuance of bonds.
259.06 Construction.
259.07 Public meetings.
259.101 Florida Preservation 2000 Act.
259.105 The Florida Forever Act.
259.1051 Florida Forever Trust Fund.
259.1052 Babcock Crescent B Ranch Florida Forever acquisition; conditions for purchase.
259.10521 Citizen support organization; use of property.
259.1053 Babcock Ranch Preserve; Babcock Ranch Advisory Group.
259.01 Short title.This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the “Land Conservation Program.”
History.s. 1, ch. 72-300; s. 15, ch. 2016-233.
259.03 Definitions.The following terms and phrases when used in this chapter shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
(1) “Council” means that council established pursuant to s. 259.035.
(2) “Board” means the Governor and Cabinet, as the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund.
(3) “Capital improvement” or “capital project expenditure” means those activities relating to the acquisition, restoration, public access, and recreational uses of such lands, water areas, and related resources deemed necessary to accomplish the purposes of this chapter. Eligible activities include, but are not limited to: the initial removal of invasive plants; the construction, improvement, enlargement or extension of facilities’ signs, firelanes, access roads, and trails; or any other activities that serve to restore, conserve, protect, or provide public access, recreational opportunities, or necessary services for land or water areas. Such activities shall be identified prior to the acquisition of a parcel or the approval of a project. The continued expenditures necessary for a capital improvement approved under this subsection shall not be eligible for funding provided in this chapter.
(4) “Department” means the Department of Environmental Protection.
(5) “Division” means the Division of Bond Finance of the State Board of Administration.
(6) “Water resource development project” means a project eligible for funding pursuant to s. 259.105 that increases the amount of water available to meet the needs of natural systems and the citizens of the state by enhancing or restoring aquifer recharge, facilitating the capture and storage of excess flows in surface waters, or promoting reuse. The implementation of eligible projects under s. 259.105 includes land acquisition, land and water body restoration, aquifer storage and recovery facilities, surface water reservoirs, and other capital improvements. The term does not include construction of treatment, transmission, or distribution facilities.
History.s. 1, ch. 72-300; s. 13, ch. 79-255; s. 2, ch. 81-210; s. 10, ch. 89-116; s. 193, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326; s. 12, ch. 99-247; s. 6, ch. 2000-170.
259.032 Conservation and recreation lands.
(1) It is the policy of the state that the citizens of this state shall be assured public ownership of natural areas for purposes of maintaining this state’s unique natural resources; protecting air, land, and water quality; promoting water resource development to meet the needs of natural systems and citizens of this state; promoting restoration activities on public lands; and providing lands for natural resource-based recreation. In recognition of this policy, it is the intent of the Legislature to provide such public lands for the people residing in urban and metropolitan areas of the state, as well as those residing in less populated, rural areas. It is the further intent of the Legislature, with regard to the lands described in paragraph (2)(c), that a high priority be given to the acquisition, restoration, and management of such lands in or near counties exhibiting the greatest concentration of population and, with regard to the lands described in subsection (2), that a high priority be given to acquiring lands or rights or interests in lands that advance the goals and objectives of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s approved species or habitat recovery plans, or lands within any area designated as an area of critical state concern under s. 380.05 which, in the judgment of the advisory council established pursuant to s. 259.035, or its successor, cannot be adequately protected by application of land development regulations adopted pursuant to s. 380.05. Finally, it is the Legislature’s intent that lands acquired for conservation and recreation purposes be managed in such a way as to protect or restore their natural resource values, and provide the greatest benefit, including public access, to the citizens of this state.
(2) The Governor and Cabinet, sitting as the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, may expend moneys appropriated by the Legislature to acquire the fee or any lesser interest in lands for the following public purposes:
(a) To conserve and protect environmentally unique and irreplaceable lands that contain native, relatively unaltered flora and fauna representing a natural area unique to, or scarce within, a region of this state or a larger geographic area;
(b) To conserve and protect lands within designated areas of critical state concern, if the proposed acquisition relates to the natural resource protection purposes of the designation;
(c) To conserve and protect native species habitat or endangered or threatened species, emphasizing long-term protection for endangered or threatened species designated G-1 or G-2 by the Florida Natural Areas Inventory, and especially those areas that are special locations for breeding and reproduction;
(d) To conserve, protect, manage, or restore important ecosystems, landscapes, and forests, if the protection and conservation of such lands is necessary to enhance or protect significant surface water, groundwater, coastal, recreational, timber, or fish or wildlife resources which cannot otherwise be accomplished through local and state regulatory programs;
(e) To promote water resource development that benefits natural systems and citizens of the state;
(f) To facilitate the restoration and subsequent health and vitality of the Florida Everglades;
(g) To provide areas, including recreational trails, for natural resource-based recreation and other outdoor recreation on any part of any site compatible with conservation purposes;
(h) To preserve significant archaeological or historic sites;
(i) To conserve urban open spaces suitable for greenways or outdoor recreation which are compatible with conservation purposes; or
(j) To preserve agricultural lands under threat of conversion to development through less-than-fee acquisitions.
(3) Lands acquired for conservation and recreation purposes shall be for use as state-designated parks, recreation areas, preserves, reserves, historic or archaeological sites, geologic or botanical sites, recreational trails, forests, wilderness areas, wildlife management areas, urban open space, or other state-designated recreation or conservation lands; or they shall qualify for such state designation and use if they are to be managed by other governmental agencies or nonstate entities as provided for in this section.
(4) The board of trustees may expend funds appropriated by the Legislature for the initiation and maintenance of a natural areas inventory to aid in the identification of areas to be acquired for conservation and recreation purposes.
(5) The board of trustees may enter into any contract necessary to accomplish the purposes of this section. The lead land managing agencies designated by the board of trustees also are directed by the Legislature to enter into contracts or interagency agreements with other governmental entities, including local soil and water conservation districts, or private land managers who have the expertise to perform specific management activities which a lead agency lacks, or which would cost more to provide in-house. Such activities shall include, but not be limited to, controlled burning, road and ditch maintenance, mowing, and wildlife assessments.
(6) Conservation and recreation lands are subject to the selection procedures of s. 259.035 and related rules and shall be acquired in accordance with acquisition procedures for state lands provided for in s. 253.025, except as otherwise provided by the Legislature. An inholding or an addition to conservation and recreation lands is not subject to the selection procedures of s. 259.035 if the estimated value of such inholding or addition does not exceed $500,000. When at least 90 percent of the acreage of a project has been purchased for conservation and recreation purposes, the project may be removed from the list and the remaining acreage may continue to be purchased. Funds appropriated to acquire conservation and recreation lands may be used for title work, appraisal fees, environmental audits, and survey costs related to acquisition expenses for lands to be acquired, donated, or exchanged which qualify under the categories of this section, at the discretion of the board. When the Legislature has authorized the department to condemn a specific parcel of land and such parcel has already been approved for acquisition, the land may be acquired in accordance with chapter 73 or chapter 74, and the funds appropriated to acquire conservation and recreation lands may be used to pay the condemnation award and all costs, including reasonable attorney fees, associated with condemnation.
(7) All lands managed under this chapter and s. 253.034 shall be:
(a) Managed in a manner that will provide the greatest combination of benefits to the public and to the resources.
(b) Managed for public outdoor recreation which is compatible with the conservation and protection of public lands. Such management may include, but not be limited to, the following public recreational uses: fishing, hunting, camping, bicycling, hiking, nature study, swimming, boating, canoeing, horseback riding, diving, model hobbyist activities, birding, sailing, jogging, and other related outdoor activities.
(c) Concurrent with its adoption of the annual list of acquisition projects pursuant to s. 259.035, the board shall adopt a management prospectus for each project. The management prospectus shall delineate:
1. The management goals for the property;
2. The conditions that will affect the intensity of management;
3. An estimate of the revenue-generating potential of the property, if appropriate;
4. A timetable for implementing the various stages of management and for providing access to the public, if applicable;
5. A description of potential multiple-use activities as described in this section and s. 253.034;
6. Provisions for protecting existing infrastructure and for ensuring the security of the project upon acquisition;
7. The anticipated costs of management and projected sources of revenue, including legislative appropriations, to fund management needs; and
8. Recommendations as to how many employees will be needed to manage the property, and recommendations as to whether local governments, volunteer groups, the former landowner, or other interested parties can be involved in the management.
(d) Concurrent with the approval of the acquisition contract pursuant to s. 253.025(4)(c) for any interest in lands except those lands acquired pursuant to s. 259.1052, the board shall designate an agency or agencies to manage such lands. The board shall evaluate and amend, as appropriate, the management policy statement for the project as provided by s. 259.035 to ensure that the policy statement is compatible with conservation, recreation, or both. For any fee simple acquisition of a parcel which is or will be leased back for agricultural purposes, or any acquisition of a less than fee interest in land that is or will be used for agricultural purposes, the board shall first consider having a soil and water conservation district, created pursuant to chapter 582, manage and monitor such interests.
(e) State agencies designated to manage lands acquired under this chapter or with funds deposited into the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, except those lands acquired under s. 259.1052, may contract with local governments and soil and water conservation districts to assist in management activities, including the responsibility of being the lead land manager. Such land management contracts may include a provision for the transfer of management funding to the local government or soil and water conservation district from the land acquisition trust fund of the lead land managing agency in an amount adequate for the local government or soil and water conservation district to perform its contractual land management responsibilities and proportionate to its responsibilities, and which otherwise would have been expended by the state agency to manage the property.
(f) Immediately following the acquisition of any interest in conservation and recreation lands, the department, acting on behalf of the board, may issue to the lead managing entity an interim assignment letter to be effective until the execution of a formal lease.
(8)(a) State, regional, or local governmental agencies or private entities designated to manage lands under this section shall develop and adopt, with the approval of the board, an individual management plan for each project designed to conserve and protect such lands and their associated natural resources. Private sector involvement in management plan development may be used to expedite the planning process.
(b) Individual management plans required by s. 253.034(5), for parcels over 160 acres, shall be developed with input from an advisory group. Members of this advisory group shall include, at a minimum, representatives of the lead land managing agency, comanaging entities, local private property owners, the appropriate soil and water conservation district, a local conservation organization, and a local elected official. If habitat or potentially restorable habitat for imperiled species is located on state lands, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall be included on any advisory group required under chapter 253, and the short-term and long-term management goals required under chapter 253 must advance the goals and objectives of imperiled species management without restricting other uses identified in the management plan. The advisory group shall conduct at least one public hearing within the county in which the parcel or project is located. For those parcels or projects that are within more than one county, at least one areawide public hearing shall be acceptable and the lead managing agency shall invite a local elected official from each county. The areawide public hearing shall be held in the county in which the core parcels are located. Notice of such public hearing shall be posted on the parcel or project designated for management, advertised in a paper of general circulation, and announced at a scheduled meeting of the local governing body before the actual public hearing. The management prospectus required pursuant to paragraph (7)(c) shall be available to the public for a period of 30 days before the public hearing.
(c) Once a plan is adopted, the managing agency or entity shall update the plan at least every 10 years in a form and manner adopted by rule of the board. Such updates, for parcels over 160 acres, shall be developed with input from an advisory group. Such plans may include transfers of leasehold interests to appropriate conservation organizations or governmental entities designated by the council for uses consistent with the purposes of the organizations and the protection, preservation, conservation, restoration, and proper management of the lands and their resources. Volunteer management assistance is encouraged, including, but not limited to, assistance by youths participating in programs sponsored by state or local agencies, by volunteers sponsored by environmental or civic organizations, and by individuals participating in programs for committed delinquents and adults.
(d) For each project for which lands are acquired after July 1, 1995, an individual management plan shall be adopted and in place no later than 1 year after the essential parcel or parcels identified in the priority list developed pursuant to s. 259.105 have been acquired. The department shall distribute only 75 percent of the acquisition funds to which a budget entity or water management district would otherwise be entitled to any budget entity or any water management district that has more than one-third of its management plans overdue.
(e) Individual management plans shall conform to the appropriate policies and guidelines of the state land management plan and shall include, but not be limited to:
1. A statement of the purpose for which the lands were acquired, the projected use or uses as defined in s. 253.034, and the statutory authority for such use or uses.
2. Key management activities necessary to achieve the desired outcomes, including, but not limited to, providing public access, preserving and protecting natural resources, protecting cultural and historical resources, restoring habitat, protecting threatened and endangered species, controlling the spread of nonnative plants and animals, performing prescribed fire activities, and other appropriate resource management.
3. A specific description of how the managing agency plans to identify, locate, protect, and preserve, or otherwise use fragile, nonrenewable natural and cultural resources.
4. A priority schedule for conducting management activities.
5. A cost estimate for conducting priority management activities, to include recommendations for cost-effective methods of accomplishing those activities.
6. A cost estimate for conducting other management activities which would enhance the natural resource value or public recreation value. The cost estimate shall include recommendations for cost-effective methods of accomplishing those activities.
7. A determination of the public uses and public access that would be compatible with conservation, recreation, or both.
(f) The Division of State Lands shall submit a copy of each individual management plan for parcels which exceed 160 acres in size to each member of the council, which shall:
1. Within 60 days after receiving a plan from the Division of State Lands, review each plan for compliance with the requirements of this subsection and with the requirements of the rules adopted by the board pursuant to this subsection.
2. Consider the propriety of the recommendations of the managing agency with regard to the future use or protection of the property.
3. After its review, submit the plan, along with its recommendations and comments, to the board, with recommendations as to whether to approve the plan as submitted, approve the plan with modifications, or reject the plan.
(g) The board shall consider the individual management plan submitted by each state agency and the recommendations of the council and the department and shall approve the plan with or without modification or reject such plan. The use or possession of any lands owned by the board which is not in accordance with an approved individual management plan is subject to termination by the board.

By July 1 of each year, each governmental agency and each private entity designated to manage lands shall report to the Secretary of Environmental Protection on the progress of funding, staffing, and resource management of every project for which the agency or entity is responsible.

(9)(a) The Legislature recognizes that acquiring lands pursuant to this chapter serves the public interest by protecting land, air, and water resources which contribute to the public health and welfare, providing areas for natural resource-based recreation, and ensuring the survival of unique and irreplaceable plant and animal species. The Legislature intends for these lands to be managed and maintained in a manner that is compatible with conservation, recreation, or both, consistent with the land management plan and for the public to have access to and use of these lands if public access would not harm the resources the state is seeking to protect on the public’s behalf.
(b) An amount of not less than 1.5 percent of the cumulative total of funds ever deposited into the former Florida Preservation 2000 Trust Fund and the Florida Forever Trust Fund shall be made available for the purposes of management, maintenance, and capital improvements, and for associated contractual services, for conservation and recreation lands acquired with funds deposited into the Land Acquisition Trust Fund pursuant to s. 28(a), Art. X of the State Constitution or pursuant to former s. 259.032, Florida Statutes 2014, former s. 259.101, Florida Statutes 2014, s. 259.105, s. 259.1052, or previous programs for the acquisition of lands for conservation and recreation, including state forests, to which title is vested in the board of trustees and other conservation and recreation lands managed by a state agency. Each agency with management responsibilities shall annually request from the Legislature funds sufficient to fulfill such responsibilities to implement individual management plans. For the purposes of this paragraph, capital improvements shall include, but need not be limited to, perimeter fencing, signs, firelanes, access roads and trails, and minimal public accommodations, such as primitive campsites, garbage receptacles, and toilets. Any equipment purchased with funds provided pursuant to this paragraph may be used for the purposes described in this paragraph on any conservation and recreation lands managed by a state agency. The funding requirement created in this paragraph is subject to an annual evaluation by the Legislature to ensure that such requirement does not impact the respective trust fund in a manner that would prevent the trust fund from meeting other minimum requirements.
(c) All revenues generated through multiple-use management or compatible secondary-use management shall be returned to the lead agency responsible for such management and shall be used to pay for management activities on all conservation, preservation, and recreation lands under the agency’s jurisdiction. In addition, such revenues shall be segregated in an agency trust fund used for land management activities, other than a land acquisition trust fund, and such revenues shall remain available to the agency in subsequent fiscal years to support land management appropriations. For the purposes of this paragraph, compatible secondary-use management shall be those activities described in subsection (7) undertaken on parcels designated as single use pursuant to s. 253.034(2)(b).
(d) Up to one-fifth of the funds appropriated for the purposes identified in paragraph (b) shall be reserved by the board for interim management of acquisitions and for associated contractual services, to ensure the conservation and protection of natural resources on project sites and to allow limited public recreational use of lands. Interim management activities may include, but not be limited to, resource assessments, control of invasive, nonnative species, habitat restoration, fencing, law enforcement, controlled burning, and public access consistent with preliminary determinations made pursuant to paragraph (7)(f). The board shall make these interim funds available immediately upon purchase.
(e) The department shall set long-range and annual goals for the control and removal of nonnative, invasive plant species on public lands. Such goals shall differentiate between aquatic plant species and upland plant species. In setting such goals, the department may rank, in order of adverse impact, species that impede or destroy the functioning of natural systems. Notwithstanding paragraph (a), up to one-fourth of the funds provided for in paragraph (b) may be used by the agencies receiving those funds for control and removal of nonnative, invasive species on public lands.
(f) To ensure that the public has knowledge of and access to conservation lands, as defined in s. 253.034(2)(c), the department shall publish, update, and maintain a database of such lands where public access is compatible with conservation and recreation purposes.
1. By July 1, 2017, the database must be available to the public online and must include, at a minimum, the location, types of allowable recreational opportunities, points of public access, facilities or other amenities, restrictions, and any other information the department deems appropriate to increase public awareness of recreational opportunities on conservation lands. Such data must be electronically accessible, searchable, and downloadable in a generally acceptable format.
2. The department, through its own efforts or through partnership with a third-party entity, shall create an application downloadable on mobile devices to be used to locate state lands available for public access using the user’s locational information or based upon an activity of interest.
3. The database and application must include information for all state conservation lands to which the public has a right of access for recreational purposes. Beginning January 1, 2018, to the greatest extent practicable, the database shall include similar information for lands owned by federal and local governmental entities that allow access for recreational purposes.
4. By January 1 of each year, the department shall provide a report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives describing the percentage of public lands acquired under this chapter to which the public has access and the efforts undertaken by the department to increase public access to such lands.
(10)(a) Beginning July 1, 1999, the Legislature may appropriate funds annually to the department for payment in lieu of taxes to qualifying counties and local governments as defined in paragraph (b) for all actual tax losses incurred as a result of board of trustees acquisitions for state agencies under the Florida Forever program or the former Florida Preservation 2000 program.
(b) Payment in lieu of taxes shall be available:
1. To all counties that have a population of 150,000 or fewer. Population levels shall be determined pursuant to s. 11.031.
2. To all local governments located in eligible counties.
(c) If insufficient funds are available in any year to make full payments to all qualifying counties and local governments, such counties and local governments shall receive a pro rata share of the moneys available.
(d) The payment amount shall be based on the average amount of actual taxes paid on the property for the 3 years preceding acquisition. Applications for payment in lieu of taxes shall be made no later than January 31 of the year following acquisition. No payment in lieu of taxes shall be made for properties which were exempt from ad valorem taxation for the year immediately preceding acquisition.
(e) If property which was subject to ad valorem taxation was acquired by a tax-exempt entity for ultimate conveyance to the state under this chapter, payment in lieu of taxes shall be made for such property based upon the average amount of taxes paid on the property for the 3 years before its being removed from the tax rolls. The department shall certify to the Department of Revenue those properties that may be eligible under this provision. Once eligibility has been established, that county or local government shall receive annual payments for each tax loss until the qualifying county or local government exceeds the population threshold pursuant to this section.
(f) Payment in lieu of taxes pursuant to this subsection shall be made annually to qualifying counties and local governments after certification by the Department of Revenue that the amounts applied for are reasonably appropriate, based on the amount of actual taxes paid on the eligible property. With the assistance of the local government requesting payment in lieu of taxes, the state agency that acquired the land is responsible for preparing and submitting application requests for payment to the Department of Revenue for certification.
(g) If the board of trustees conveys to a local government title to any land owned by the board, any payments in lieu of taxes on the land made to the local government shall be discontinued as of the date of the conveyance.

For the purposes of this subsection, “local government” includes municipalities, the county school board, mosquito control districts, and any other local government entity which levies ad valorem taxes, with the exception of a water management district.

(11) The board of trustees may adopt rules to further define the categories of land for acquisition under this chapter.
(12) Within 90 days after receiving a certified letter from the owner of a property on the priority list established pursuant to s. 259.105 objecting to the property being included in an acquisition project, where such property is a project or part of a project which has not been listed for purchase in the current year’s land acquisition work plan, the board of trustees shall delete the property from the list or from the boundary of an acquisition project on the list.
History.s. 8, ch. 79-255; s. 16, ch. 80-356; s. 5, ch. 81-35; s. 1, ch. 81-210; s. 165, ch. 81-259; s. 1, ch. 82-152; s. 2, ch. 83-80; s. 1, ch. 83-114; s. 10, ch. 84-330; s. 13, ch. 86-178; s. 6, ch. 86-294; s. 1, ch. 87-96; s. 1, ch. 88-387; s. 13, ch. 89-116; s. 1, ch. 89-276; s. 2, ch. 90-1; s. 8, ch. 90-217; s. 1, ch. 91-62; s. 5, ch. 91-420; s. 2, ch. 92-288; s. 45, ch. 93-206; s. 4, ch. 94-197; s. 1, ch. 94-212; s. 1, ch. 94-240; s. 65, ch. 94-356; s. 5, ch. 95-349; ss. 19, 20, ch. 95-430; s. 3, ch. 96-389; s. 19, ch. 96-420; s. 23, ch. 97-94; ss. 27, 29, ch. 97-153; s. 6, ch. 97-164; ss. 26, 38, ch. 98-46; s. 10, ch. 99-4; s. 34, ch. 99-13; ss. 28, 33, 53, ch. 99-228; s. 13, ch. 99-247; s. 20, ch. 99-292; s. 7, ch. 2000-170; s. 61, ch. 2000-171; s. 45, ch. 2001-61; s. 7, ch. 2002-2; s. 28, ch. 2002-402; s. 15, ch. 2003-6; s. 280, ch. 2003-261; s. 6, ch. 2003-394; s. 18, ch. 2004-5; ss. 42, 75, ch. 2004-269; s. 41, ch. 2005-71; ss. 31, 42, ch. 2006-26; s. 4, ch. 2006-231; s. 5, ch. 2008-5; s. 9, ch. 2008-229; s. 21, ch. 2009-21; s. 36, ch. 2013-15; s. 37, ch. 2014-53; s. 20, ch. 2015-229; s. 1, ch. 2016-1; s. 28, ch. 2016-10; s. 17, ch. 2016-233.
Note.Former s. 253.023.
259.0322 Reinstitution of payments in lieu of taxes; duration.If the Department of Environmental Protection has made a payment in lieu of taxes to a governmental entity and subsequently suspended such payment, the department shall reinstitute appropriate payments and continue the payments in consecutive years until the governmental entity has received a total of 10 payments for each tax loss.
History.s. 52, ch. 99-247; s. 6, ch. 99-353; s. 7, ch. 2003-394.
259.035 Acquisition and Restoration Council.
(1) There is created the Acquisition and Restoration Council.
(a) The council shall be composed of 10 voting members, 4 of whom shall be appointed by the Governor. Of these four appointees, three shall be from scientific disciplines related to land, water, or environmental sciences and the fourth shall have at least 5 years of experience in managing lands for both active and passive types of recreation. They shall serve 4-year terms, except that, initially, to provide for staggered terms, two of the appointees shall serve 2-year terms. All subsequent appointments shall be for 4-year terms. An appointee may not serve more than 6 years. The Governor may at any time fill a vacancy for the unexpired term of a member appointed under this paragraph.
(b) The four remaining appointees shall be composed of the Secretary of Environmental Protection, the director of the Florida Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the executive director of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the director of the Division of Historical Resources of the Department of State, or their respective designees.
(c) One member shall be appointed by the Commissioner of Agriculture with a discipline related to agriculture including silviculture. One member shall be appointed by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission with a discipline related to wildlife management or wildlife ecology.
(d) The Governor shall appoint the chair of the council, and a vice chair shall be elected from among the members.
(e) The council shall hold periodic meetings at the request of the chair.
(f) The Department of Environmental Protection shall provide primary staff support to the council and shall ensure that council meetings are electronically recorded. Such recording shall be preserved pursuant to chapters 119 and 257.
(g) The board of trustees has authority to adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement the provisions of this section.
(2) The four members of the council appointed pursuant to paragraph (a) and the two members of the council appointed pursuant to paragraph (c) shall receive reimbursement for expenses and per diem for travel, to attend council meetings, as allowed state officers and employees while in the performance of their duties, pursuant to s. 112.061.
(3) The council shall provide assistance to the board in reviewing the recommendations and plans for state-owned conservation lands required under s. 253.034 and this chapter. The council shall, in reviewing such plans, consider the optimization of multiple-use and conservation strategies to accomplish the provisions funded pursuant to former s. 259.101(3)(a), Florida Statutes 2014, and to s. 259.105(3)(b).
(4)(a) By December 1, 2016, the council shall develop rules defining specific criteria and numeric performance measures needed for lands that are to be acquired for public purpose under the Florida Forever program pursuant to s. 259.105 or with funds deposited into the Land Acquisition Trust Fund pursuant to s. 28(a), Art. X of the State Constitution. These rules shall be reviewed and adopted by the board, then submitted to the Legislature for consideration by February 1, 2017. The Legislature may reject, modify, or take no action relative to the proposed rules. If no action is taken, the rules shall be implemented. Subsequent to their approval, each recipient of funds from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall annually report to the department on each of the numeric performance measures accomplished during the previous fiscal year.
(b) In developing or amending rules, the council shall give weight to the criteria included in s. 259.105(9). The board of trustees shall review the recommendations and shall adopt rules necessary to administer this section.
(5) An affirmative vote of five members of the council is required in order to change a project boundary or to place a proposed project on a list developed pursuant to subsection (4). Any member of the council who by family or a business relationship has a connection with all or a portion of any proposed project shall declare the interest before voting on its inclusion on a list.
(6) The proposal for a project pursuant to this section or s. 259.105(3)(b) may be implemented only if adopted by the council and approved by the board of trustees. The council shall consider and evaluate in writing the merits and demerits of each project that is proposed for acquisition using funds available pursuant to s. 28, Art. X of the State Constitution or Florida Forever funding and shall ensure that each proposed project meets the requirements of s. 28, Art. X of the State Constitution. The council also shall determine whether the project conforms, where applicable, with the comprehensive plan developed pursuant to s. 259.04(1)(a), the comprehensive multipurpose outdoor recreation plan developed pursuant to s. 375.021, the state lands management plan adopted pursuant to s. 253.03(7), the water resources work plans developed pursuant to s. 373.199, and the provisions of s. 259.032, s. 259.101, or s. 259.105, whichever is applicable.
History.s. 14, ch. 79-255; s. 3, ch. 81-210; s. 1, ch. 82-46; s. 4, ch. 82-152; s. 24, ch. 83-55; s. 3, ch. 83-114; s. 2, ch. 83-265; s. 31, ch. 86-163; s. 3, ch. 88-387; ss. 8, 9, 11, ch. 89-116; s. 5, ch. 90-217; s. 5, ch. 91-429; ss. 4, 17, ch. 92-288; s. 6, ch. 93-213; s. 3, ch. 94-240; s. 102, ch. 94-356; s. 851, ch. 95-148; s. 4, ch. 96-389; s. 7, ch. 97-164; s. 50, ch. 98-200; s. 2, ch. 98-332; s. 16, ch. 99-247; s. 9, ch. 2000-170; s. 8, ch. 2001-275; s. 10, ch. 2008-229; s. 119, ch. 2011-142; s. 5, ch. 2012-7; s. 81, ch. 2012-96; s. 21, ch. 2015-229; s. 18, ch. 2016-233.
259.036 Management review teams.
(1) To determine whether conservation, preservation, and recreation lands titled in the name of the board are being managed for purposes that are compatible with conservation, preservation, or recreation in accordance with a land management plan adopted pursuant to s. 259.032, the board, acting through the department, shall cause periodic management reviews to be conducted as follows:
(a) The department shall establish a regional land management review team composed of the following members:
1. One individual who is from the county or local community in which the parcel or project is located and who is selected by the county commission in the county which is most impacted by the acquisition.
2. One individual from the Division of Recreation and Parks of the department.
3. One individual from the Florida Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
4. One individual from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
5. One individual from the department’s district office in which the parcel is located.
6. A private land manager, preferably from the local community, mutually agreeable to the state agency representatives.
7. A member or staff from the jurisdictional water management district or local soil and water conservation district board of supervisors.
8. A member of a conservation organization.
(b) The department shall act as the review team coordinator for the purposes of establishing schedules for the reviews and other staff functions. The Legislature shall appropriate funds necessary to implement land management review team functions.
(2) The land management review team shall review select management areas before the date the manager is required to submit a 10-year land management plan update. For management areas that exceed 1,000 acres in size, the department shall schedule a land management review at least every 5 years. A copy of the review shall be provided to the manager, the department, and the council. The manager shall consider the findings and recommendations of the land management review team in finalizing the required 10-year update of its management plan.
(3) In conducting a review, the land management review team shall evaluate the extent to which the existing management plan provides sufficient protection to threatened or endangered species, unique or important natural or physical features, geological or hydrological functions, or archaeological features. The review shall also evaluate the extent to which the land is being managed for the purposes for which it was acquired and the degree to which actual management practices, including public access, are in compliance with the adopted management plan.
(4) In the event a land management plan has not been adopted within the timeframes specified in s. 259.032(8), the department may direct a management review of the property, to be conducted by the land management review team. The review shall consider the extent to which the land is being managed in a manner that is compatible with conservation, recreation, or both and the degree to which actual management practices are in compliance with the management policy statement and management prospectus for that property.
(5) If the land management review team determines that reviewed lands are not being managed in a manner that is compatible with conservation, recreation, or both, consistent with the adopted land management plan, management policy statement, or management prospectus, or if the managing agency fails to address the review findings in the updated management plan, the department shall provide the review findings to the board, and the managing agency must report to the board its reasons for managing the lands as it has.
(6) No later than the second board meeting in October of each year, the department shall report the annual review findings of its land management review team.
History.s. 8, ch. 97-164; s. 80, ch. 99-245; s. 17, ch. 99-247; s. 8, ch. 2003-394; s. 6, ch. 2012-7; s. 22, ch. 2015-229; s. 19, ch. 2016-233.
259.037 Land Management Uniform Accounting Council.
(1) The Land Management Uniform Accounting Council (LMUAC) is created within the Department of Environmental Protection and shall consist of the director of the Division of State Lands, the director of the Division of Recreation and Parks, and the director of the Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas of the department; the director of the Florida Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; the executive director of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; and the director of the Division of Historical Resources of the Department of State, or their respective designees. Each state agency represented on the LMUAC shall have one vote. The chair of the LMUAC shall rotate annually in the foregoing order of state agencies. The agency of the representative serving as chair shall provide staff support for the LMUAC. The Division of State Lands shall serve as the recipient of and repository for the LMUAC’s documents. The LMUAC shall meet at the request of the chair.
(2) The Auditor General and the director of the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, or their designees, shall advise the LMUAC to ensure that appropriate accounting procedures are used and that a uniform method of collecting and reporting accurate costs of land management activities are created and can be used by all agencies.
(3)(a) All land management activities and costs must be assigned to a specific category, and any single activity or cost may not be assigned to more than one category. Administrative costs, such as planning or training, shall be segregated from other management activities. Specific management activities and costs must initially be grouped, at a minimum, within the following categories:
1. Resource management.
2. Administration.
3. Support.
4. Capital improvements.
5. Recreation visitor services.
6. Law enforcement activities.

Upon adoption of the initial list of land management categories by the LMUAC, agencies assigned to manage conservation or recreation lands shall account for land management costs in accordance with the category to which an expenditure is assigned.

(b) Each reporting agency shall also:
1. Include a report of the available public use opportunities for each management unit of state land, the total management cost for public access and public use, and the cost associated with each use option.
2. List the acres of land requiring minimal management effort, moderate management effort, and significant management effort pursuant to s. 259.032(9)(c). For each category created in paragraph (a), the reporting agency shall include the amount of funds requested, the amount of funds received, and the amount of funds expended for land management.
3. List acres managed and cost of management for each park, preserve, forest, reserve, or management area.
4. List acres managed, cost of management, and lead manager for each state lands management unit for which secondary management activities were provided.
5. Include a report of the estimated calculable financial benefits to the public for the ecosystem services provided by conservation lands, based on the best readily available information or science that provides a standard measurement methodology to be consistently applied by the land managing agencies. Such information may include, but need not be limited to, the value of natural lands for protecting the quality and quantity of drinking water through natural water filtration and recharge, contributions to protecting and improving air quality, benefits to agriculture through increased soil productivity and preservation of biodiversity, and savings to property and lives through flood control.
(4) The LMUAC shall provide a report of the agencies’ expenditures pursuant to the adopted categories to the Acquisition and Restoration Council and the Division of State Lands for inclusion in its annual report required pursuant to s. 259.036.
(5) Should the LMUAC determine that the list of land management categories needs to be revised, it shall meet upon the call of the chair.
(6) Biennially, each reporting agency shall also submit an operational report for each management area along with an approved management plan. The report should assess the progress toward achieving short-term and long-term management goals of the approved management plan, including all land management activities, and identify any deficiencies in management and corrective actions to address identified deficiencies as appropriate. This report shall be submitted to the Acquisition and Restoration Council and the Division of State Lands for inclusion in its annual report required pursuant to s. 259.036.
History.s. 25, ch. 2000-170; s. 46, ch. 2001-61; s. 11, ch. 2008-229; s. 61, ch. 2010-102; s. 7, ch. 2012-7; s. 36, ch. 2014-17; s. 23, ch. 2015-229; s. 20, ch. 2016-233.
259.04 Board; powers and duties.
(1) For projects and acquisitions selected for purchase pursuant to ss. 259.035 and 259.105:
(a) The board is given the responsibility, authority, and power to develop and execute a comprehensive, statewide 5-year plan to conserve, restore, and protect environmentally endangered lands, ecosystems, lands necessary for outdoor recreational needs, and other lands as identified in ss. 259.032 and 259.105. This plan shall be kept current through continual reevaluation and revision. The advisory council or its successor shall assist the board in the development, reevaluation, and revision of the plan.
(b) The board may enter into contracts with the government of the United States or any agency or instrumentality thereof; the state or any county, municipality, district authority, or political subdivision; or any private corporation, partnership, association, or person providing for or relating to the conservation or protection of certain lands in accomplishing the purposes of this chapter.
(c) Within 45 days after the advisory council or its successor submits the lists of projects to the board, the board shall approve, in whole or in part, the lists of projects in the order of priority in which such projects are presented. To the greatest extent practicable, projects on the lists shall be acquired in their approved order of priority.
(d) The board is authorized to acquire, by purchase, gift, or devise or otherwise, the fee title or any lesser interest of lands, water areas, and related resources for environmentally endangered lands.
(2) For state capital projects for outdoor recreation lands, the provisions of chapter 375 and s. 253.025 shall also apply.
History.s. 1, ch. 72-300; s. 15, ch. 79-255; s. 4, ch. 81-210; s. 4, ch. 83-114; s. 12, ch. 89-116; s. 6, ch. 92-288; s. 16, ch. 94-240; s. 18, ch. 99-247; s. 29, ch. 2000-152; s. 24, ch. 2015-229.
259.042 Tax increment financing for conservation lands.
(1) Two or more counties, or a combination of at least one county and one or more municipalities, may establish, through an interlocal agreement, a tax increment area for conservation lands. The interlocal agreement, at a minimum, must:
(a) Identify the geographic boundaries of the tax increment area;
(b) Identify the real property to be acquired as conservation land within the tax increment area;
(c) Establish the percentage of tax increment financing for each jurisdiction in the tax increment area which is a party to the interlocal agreement;
(d) Identify the governing body of the jurisdiction that will administer a separate reserve account in which the tax increment will be deposited;
(e) Require that any tax increment revenues not used to purchase conservation lands by a date certain be refunded to the parties to the interlocal agreement. Any refund shall be proportionate to the parties’ payment of tax increment revenues into the separate reserve account;
(f) Provide for an annual audit of the separate reserve account;
(g) Designate an entity to hold title to any conservation lands purchased using the tax increment revenues;
(h) Provide for a continuing management plan for the conservation lands; and
(i) Identify the entity that will manage these conservation lands.
(2) The water management district in which conservation lands proposed for purchase under this section are located may also enter into the interlocal agreement if the district provides any funds for the purchase of the conservation lands. The water management districts may only use ad valorem tax revenues for agreements described within this section.
(3) The governing body of the jurisdiction that will administer the separate reserve account shall provide documentation to the Department of Economic Opportunity identifying the boundary of the tax increment area. The department shall determine whether the boundary is appropriate in that property owners within the boundary will receive a benefit from the proposed purchase of identified conservation lands. The department must issue a letter of approval stating that the establishment of the tax increment area and the proposed purchases would benefit property owners within the boundary and serve a public purpose before any tax increment funds are deposited into the separate reserve account. If the department fails to provide the required letter within 90 days after receiving sufficient documentation of the boundary, the establishment of the area and the proposed purchases are deemed to provide such benefit and serve a public purpose.
(4) Prior to the purchase of conservation lands under this section, the Department of Environmental Protection must determine whether the proposed purchase is sufficient to provide additional recreational and ecotourism opportunities for residents in the tax increment area. If the department fails to provide a letter of approval within 90 days after receipt of the request for such a letter, the purchase is deemed sufficient to provide recreation and ecotourism opportunities.
(5) The tax increment authorized under this section shall be determined annually and may not exceed 95 percent of the difference in ad valorem taxes as provided in s. 163.387(1)(a).
(6) A separate reserve account must be established for each tax increment area for conservation lands which is created under this section. The separate reserve account must be administered pursuant to the terms of the interlocal agreement. Tax increment funds allocated to this separate reserve account shall be used to acquire the real property identified for purchase in the interlocal agreement. Pursuant to the interlocal agreement, the governing body of the local government that will administer the separate reserve account may spend increment revenues to purchase the real property only if all parties to the interlocal agreement adopt a resolution approving the purchase price.
(7) The annual funding of the separate reserve account may not be less than the increment income of each taxing authority which is held as provided in the interlocal agreement for the purchase of conservation lands.
(8) Unless otherwise provided in the interlocal agreement, a taxing authority that does not pay the tax increment revenues to the separate reserve account by January 1 shall pay interest on the amount of unpaid increment revenues equal to 1 percent for each month that the increment revenue remains outstanding.
(9) The public bodies and taxing authorities listed in s. 163.387(2)(c), school districts, and special districts that levy ad valorem taxes within a tax increment area are exempt from this section.
(10) Revenue bonds under this section are payable solely out of revenues pledged to and received by the local government administering the separate reserve account and deposited into the separate reserve account. The revenue bonds issued under this section do not constitute a debt, liability, or obligation of a public body, the state, or any of the state’s political subdivisions.
History.s. 8, ch. 2007-204; s. 31, ch. 2012-96; s. 2, ch. 2016-155.
259.045 Purchase of lands in areas of critical state concern; recommendations by department and land authorities.Within 45 days after the Administration Commission designates an area as an area of critical state concern under s. 380.05, and annually thereafter, the Department of Environmental Protection shall consider the recommendations of the state land planning agency pursuant to s. 380.05(1)(a) relating to purchase of lands within an area of critical state concern or lands outside an area of critical state concern that directly impact an area of critical state concern, which may include lands used to preserve and protect water supply, and shall make recommendations to the board with respect to the purchase of the fee or any lesser interest in any such lands that are:
(1) Environmentally endangered lands;
(2) Outdoor recreation lands;
(3) Lands that conserve sensitive habitat;
(4) Lands that protect, restore, or enhance nearshore water quality and fisheries;
(5) Lands used to protect and enhance water supply to the Florida Keys, including alternative water supplies such as reverse osmosis and reclaimed water systems; or
(6) Lands used to prevent or satisfy private property rights claims resulting from limitations imposed by the designation of an area of critical state concern if the acquisition of such lands fulfills a public purpose listed in s. 259.032(2).

The department, a local government, a special district, or a land authority within an area of critical state concern may make recommendations with respect to additional purchases which were not included in the state land planning agency recommendations.

History.s. 3, ch. 79-73; s. 2, ch. 94-212; s. 103, ch. 94-356; s. 4, ch. 2016-225.
259.047 Acquisition of land on which an agricultural lease exists.
(1) When land with an existing agricultural lease is acquired in fee simple pursuant to this chapter or chapter 375, the existing agricultural lease may continue in force for the actual time remaining on the lease agreement. Any entity managing lands acquired under this section must consider existing agricultural leases in the development of a land management plan required under s. 253.034.
(2) If consistent with the purposes of conservation and recreation, the state or acquiring entity shall make reasonable efforts to keep lands in agricultural production which are in agricultural production at the time of acquisition.
History.s. 4, ch. 2006-255; s. 22, ch. 2016-233.
259.05 Issuance of bonds.
(1) Upon request of the board, by appropriate resolution, the Division of Bond Finance from time to time, subject to the debt limitation provided herein, may issue bonds pledging the full faith and credit of the state as shall be necessary to provide sufficient funds to achieve the purposes set out in such request.
(2) The issuance of such bonds to finance state capital projects for environmentally endangered lands or outdoor recreation lands is authorized in the manner, and subject to the limitations, provided by the State Bond Act, except as otherwise expressly provided herein.
History.s. 1, ch. 72-300.
259.06 Construction.The provisions of ss. 259.01-259.06 shall be liberally construed in a manner to accomplish the purposes thereof.
History.s. 1, ch. 72-300.
259.07 Public meetings.The council, before making recommendations to the board for the purchase of any land pursuant to s. 259.035, shall hold one or more public meetings on the proposed purchase of such land in areas of the state where major portions of such land are situated. At least 30 days in advance of such public meeting, notice shall be published in newspapers of general circulation in the areas where such lands are located, indicating the date, time, and place of such public meeting. A report of the public meeting shall be submitted to the board along with the recommendation for purchase of such land.
History.s. 1, ch. 74-59; s. 7, ch. 92-288.
259.101 Florida Preservation 2000 Act.
(1) SHORT TITLE.This section may be cited as the “Florida Preservation 2000 Act.”
(2) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.The Legislature finds and declares that:
(a) The alteration and development of Florida’s natural areas to accommodate its rapidly growing population have contributed to the degradation of water resources, the fragmentation and destruction of wildlife habitats, the loss of recreation space, and the diminishment of wetlands and forests.
(b) Imminent development of Florida’s remaining natural areas and continuing increases in land values necessitate an aggressive program of public land acquisition during the next decade to preserve the quality of life that attracts so many people to Florida.
(c) Acquisition of public lands, in fee simple or in any lesser interest, should be based on a comprehensive assessment of Florida’s natural resources and planned so as to protect the integrity of ecological systems and to provide multiple benefits, including preservation of fish and wildlife habitat, recreation space, and water recharge areas. Governmental agencies responsible for public land acquisition should work together to purchase lands jointly and to coordinate individual purchases within ecological systems.
(d) One of the purposes of the Florida Communities Trust program is to acquire, protect, and preserve open space and recreation properties within urban areas where pristine animal and plant communities no longer exist. These areas are often overlooked in other programs because of their smaller size and proximity to developed property. These smaller parcels are, however, critically important to the quality of life in these urban areas for the residents who live there as well as to the many visitors to the state. The trust shall consider projects submitted by local governments which further the goals, objectives, and policies of the conservation, recreation and open space, or coastal elements of their local comprehensive plans or which serve to conserve natural resources or resolve land use conflicts.
(e) South Florida’s water supply and unique natural environment depend on the protection of lands buffering the East Everglades and the Everglades water conservation areas.

In addition, the Legislature recognizes the conflicting desires of the citizens of this state to prosper through economic development and to preserve the natural areas of Florida that development threatens to claim. The Legislature further recognizes the urgency of acquiring natural areas in the state for preservation, yet acknowledges the difficulty of ensuring adequate funding for accelerated acquisition in light of other equally critical financial needs of the state.

(3) TITLE TO CERTAIN PROPERTY ACQUIRED WITH PRESERVATION 2000 BONDS.Title to lands purchased pursuant to former paragraphs (a), (d), (e), (f), or (g) of this subsection, Florida Statutes 2014, shall be vested in the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund. Title to lands purchased pursuant to former paragraph (c) of this subsection, Florida Statutes 2014, may be vested in the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund. The board of trustees shall hold title to land protection agreements and conservation easements that were acquired pursuant to former s. 380.0677, Florida Statutes 2014, and the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the St. Johns River Water Management District shall monitor such agreements and easements within their respective districts until the state assumes this responsibility.
(4) FLORIDA FOREST SERVICE FUND USE.All deeds or leases with respect to any real property acquired with Preservation 2000 funds received by the Florida Forest Service must contain sufficient covenants and restrictions to ensure that the use of such real property complies with s. 375.051 and s. 9, Art. XII of the 1968 Constitution of Florida and reverter clauses providing for the reversion of title to such property to the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund or, in the case of a lease of such property, providing for termination of the lease upon a failure to use the property conveyed thereby for such purposes.
(5) DISPOSITION OF LANDS.
(a) Any lands acquired pursuant to former paragraphs (3)(a), (3)(c), (3)(d), (3)(e), (3)(f), or (3)(g) of this section, Florida Statutes 2014, if title to such lands is vested in the board, may be disposed of by the board in accordance with the provisions and procedures set forth in s. 253.0341, and lands acquired pursuant to former paragraph (3)(b) of this section, Florida Statutes 2014, may be disposed of by the owning water management district in accordance with the procedures and provisions set forth in ss. 373.056 and 373.089 provided such disposition also shall satisfy the requirements of paragraphs (b) and (c).
(b) Before land acquired with Preservation 2000 funds may be surplused as required by s. 253.0341 or determined to be no longer required for its purposes under s. 373.056(4), as applicable, there shall first be a determination by the board, or, in the case of water management district lands, by the owning water management district, that such land no longer needs to be preserved in furtherance of the intent of the Florida Preservation 2000 Act. Any lands eligible to be disposed of under this procedure also may be used to acquire other lands through an exchange of lands if such lands obtained in an exchange are described in the same paragraph of former subsection (3) of this section, Florida Statutes 2014, as the lands disposed.
(c) Revenue derived from the disposal of lands acquired with Preservation 2000 funds may not be used for any purpose except for deposit into the Florida Forever Trust Fund within the department, for recredit to the share held under former subsection (3) of this section, Florida Statutes 2014, in which such disposed land is described.
(6) ALTERNATE USES OF ACQUIRED LANDS.
(a) The board, or, in the case of water management district lands, the owning water management district, may authorize the granting of a lease, easement, or license for the use of any lands acquired pursuant to former subsection (3) of this section, Florida Statutes 2014, for any governmental use permitted by s. 17, Art. IX of the State Constitution of 1885, as adopted by s. 9(a), Art. XII of the State Constitution, and any other incidental public or private use that is determined by the board or the owning water management district to be compatible with conservation, preservation, or recreation purposes.
(b) Any existing lease, easement, or license acquired for incidental public or private use on, under, or across any lands acquired pursuant to former subsection (3) of this section, Florida Statutes 2014, shall be presumed not to be incompatible with the purposes for which such lands were acquired.
(7) PUBLIC RECREATIONAL USE.An agency or water management district that acquired lands using Preservation 2000 funds distributed pursuant to former subsection (3) of this section, Florida Statutes 2014, shall manage such lands to make them available for public recreational use if the recreational use does not interfere with the protection of natural resource values. The agency or district may enter into an agreement with the department or another appropriate state agency to transfer management authority or lease to such agencies’ lands purchased with Preservation 2000 funds for the purpose of managing the lands to make them available for public recreational use. The water management districts and the department shall take action to control the growth of nonnative invasive plant species on lands they manage which were purchased with Preservation 2000 funds.
History.s. 1, ch. 90-217; s. 2, ch. 91-62; s. 7, ch. 91-80; s. 1, ch. 91-192; s. 5, ch. 92-288; s. 64, ch. 93-206; s. 3, ch. 94-115; s. 3, ch. 94-212; s. 17, ch. 94-240; s. 104, ch. 94-356; s. 1, ch. 95-334; s. 4, ch. 95-349; s. 6, ch. 96-389; s. 37, ch. 97-153; ss. 9, 10, ch. 97-164; s. 13, ch. 98-336; s. 35, ch. 99-13; s. 20, ch. 99-247; s. 2, ch. 2000-129; s. 31, ch. 2000-152; s. 40, ch. 2000-158; s. 10, ch. 2000-170; s. 7, ch. 2000-197; s. 47, ch. 2001-61; ss. 36, 37, ch. 2001-254; s. 13, ch. 2001-275; s. 8, ch. 2003-265; s. 190, ch. 2010-102; s. 8, ch. 2012-7; s. 32, ch. 2012-96; s. 3, ch. 2013-9; s. 26, ch. 2015-229; s. 23, ch. 2016-233.
259.105 The Florida Forever Act.
(1) This section may be cited as the “Florida Forever Act.”
(2)(a) The Legislature finds and declares that:
1. Land acquisition programs have provided tremendous financial resources for purchasing environmentally significant lands to protect those lands from imminent development or alteration, thereby ensuring present and future generations’ access to important waterways, open spaces, and recreation and conservation lands.
2. The continued alteration and development of the state’s natural and rural areas to accommodate the state’s growing population have contributed to the degradation of water resources, the fragmentation and destruction of wildlife habitats, the loss of outdoor recreation space, and the diminishment of wetlands, forests, working landscapes, and coastal open space.
3. The potential development of the state’s remaining natural areas and escalation of land values require government efforts to restore, bring under public protection, or acquire lands and water areas to preserve the state’s essential ecological functions and invaluable quality of life.
4. It is essential to protect the state’s ecosystems by promoting a more efficient use of land, to ensure opportunities for viable agricultural activities on working lands, and to promote vital rural and urban communities that support and produce development patterns consistent with natural resource protection.
5. The state’s groundwater, surface waters, and springs are under tremendous pressure due to population growth and economic expansion and require special protection and restoration efforts, including the protection of uplands and springsheds that provide vital recharge to aquifer systems and are critical to the protection of water quality and water quantity of the aquifers and springs. To ensure that sufficient quantities of water are available to meet the current and future needs of the natural systems and citizens of the state, and assist in achieving the planning goals of the department and the water management districts, water resource development projects on public lands, if compatible with the resource values of and management objectives for the lands, are appropriate.
6. The needs of urban, suburban, and small communities in the state for high-quality outdoor recreational opportunities, greenways, trails, and open space have not been fully met by previous acquisition programs. Through such programs as the Florida Communities Trust and the Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program, the state shall place additional emphasis on acquiring, protecting, preserving, and restoring open space, ecological greenways, and recreation properties within urban, suburban, and rural areas where pristine natural communities or water bodies no longer exist because of the proximity of developed property.
7. Many of the state’s unique ecosystems, such as the Florida Everglades, are facing ecological collapse due to the state’s burgeoning population growth and other economic activities. To preserve these valuable ecosystems for future generations, essential parcels of land must be acquired to facilitate ecosystem restoration.
8. Access to public lands to support a broad range of outdoor recreational opportunities and the development of necessary infrastructure, if compatible with the resource values of and management objectives for such lands, promotes an appreciation for the state’s natural assets and improves the quality of life.
9. Acquisition of lands, in fee simple, less than fee interest, or other techniques shall be based on a comprehensive science-based assessment of the state’s natural resources which targets essential conservation lands by prioritizing all current and future acquisitions based on a uniform set of data and planned so as to protect the integrity and function of ecological systems and working landscapes, and provide multiple benefits, including preservation of fish and wildlife habitat, recreation space for urban and rural areas, and the restoration of natural water storage, flow, and recharge.
10. The state has embraced performance-based program budgeting as a tool to evaluate the achievements of publicly funded agencies, build in accountability, and reward those agencies which are able to consistently achieve quantifiable goals. While previous and existing state environmental programs have achieved varying degrees of success, few of these programs can be evaluated as to the extent of their achievements, primarily because performance measures, standards, outcomes, and goals were not established at the outset. Therefore, the Florida Forever program shall be developed and implemented in the context of measurable state goals and objectives.
11. The state must play a major role in the recovery and management of its imperiled species through the acquisition, restoration, enhancement, and management of ecosystems that can support the major life functions of such species. It is the intent of the Legislature to support local, state, and federal programs that result in net benefit to imperiled species habitat by providing public and private land owners meaningful incentives for acquiring, restoring, managing, and repopulating habitats for imperiled species. It is the further intent of the Legislature that public lands, both existing and to be acquired, identified by the lead land managing agency, in consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for animals or the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for plants, as habitat or potentially restorable habitat for imperiled species, be restored, enhanced, managed, and repopulated as habitat for such species to advance the goals and objectives of imperiled species management for conservation, recreation, or both, consistent with the land management plan without restricting other uses identified in the management plan. It is also the intent of the Legislature that of the proceeds distributed pursuant to subsection (3), additional consideration be given to acquisitions that achieve a combination of conservation goals, including the restoration, enhancement, management, or repopulation of habitat for imperiled species. The council, in addition to the criteria in subsection (9), shall give weight to projects that include acquisition, restoration, management, or repopulation of habitat for imperiled species. The term “imperiled species” as used in this chapter and chapter 253, means plants and animals that are federally listed under the Endangered Species Act, or state-listed by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. As part of the state’s role, all state lands that have imperiled species habitat shall include as a consideration in management plan development the restoration, enhancement, management, and repopulation of such habitats. In addition, the lead land managing agency of such state lands may use fees received from public or private entities for projects to offset adverse impacts to imperiled species or their habitat in order to restore, enhance, manage, repopulate, or acquire land and to implement land management plans developed under s. 253.034 or a land management prospectus developed and implemented under this chapter. Such fees shall be deposited into a foundation or fund created by each land management agency under s. 379.223, s. 589.012, or s. 259.032(9)(c), to be used solely to restore, manage, enhance, repopulate, or acquire imperiled species habitat.
12. There is a need to change the focus and direction of the state’s major land acquisition programs and to extend funding and bonding capabilities, so that future generations may enjoy the natural resources of this state.
(b) The Legislature recognizes that acquisition of lands in fee simple is only one way to achieve the aforementioned goals and encourages the use of less-than-fee interests, other techniques, and the development of creative partnerships between governmental agencies and private landowners. Such partnerships may include those that advance the restoration, enhancement, management, or repopulation of imperiled species habitat on state lands as provided for in subparagraph (a)11. Easements acquired pursuant to s. 570.71(2)(a) and (b), land protection agreements, and nonstate funded tools such as rural land stewardship areas, sector planning, and mitigation should be used, where appropriate, to bring environmentally sensitive tracts under an acceptable level of protection at a lower financial cost to the public, and to provide private landowners with the opportunity to enjoy and benefit from their property.
(c) Public agencies or other entities that receive funds under this section shall coordinate their expenditures so that project acquisitions, when combined with acquisitions under Florida Forever, Preservation 2000, Save Our Rivers, the Florida Communities Trust, other public land acquisition programs, and the techniques, partnerships, and tools referenced in subparagraph (a)11. and paragraph (b), are used to form more complete patterns of protection for natural areas, ecological greenways, and functioning ecosystems, to better accomplish the intent of this section.
(d) A long-term financial commitment to restoring, enhancing, and managing Florida’s public lands in order to implement land management plans developed under s. 253.034 or a land management prospectus developed and implemented under this chapter must accompany any land acquisition program to ensure that the natural resource values of such lands are restored, enhanced, managed, and protected; that the public enjoys the lands to their fullest potential; and that the state achieves the full benefits of its investment of public dollars. Innovative strategies such as public-private partnerships and interagency planning and sharing of resources shall be used to achieve the state’s management goals.
(e) With limited dollars available for restoration, enhancement, management, and acquisition of land and water areas and for providing long-term management and capital improvements, a competitive selection process shall select those projects best able to meet the goals of Florida Forever and maximize the efficient use of the program’s funding.
(f) To ensure success and provide accountability to the citizens of this state, it is the intent of the Legislature that any cash or bond proceeds used pursuant to this section be used to implement the goals and objectives recommended by a comprehensive science-based assessment and approved by the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund and the Legislature.
(g) As it has with previous land acquisition programs, the Legislature recognizes the desires of the residents of this state to prosper through economic development and to preserve, restore, and manage the state’s natural areas and recreational open space. The Legislature further recognizes the urgency of restoring the natural functions, including wildlife and imperiled species habitat functions, of public lands or water bodies before they are degraded to a point where recovery may never occur, yet acknowledges the difficulty of ensuring adequate funding for restoration, enhancement, and management efforts in light of other equally critical financial needs of the state. It is the Legislature’s desire and intent to fund the implementation of this section and to do so in a fiscally responsible manner, by issuing bonds to be repaid with documentary stamp tax or other revenue sources, including those identified in subparagraph (a)11.
(h) The Legislature further recognizes the important role that many of our state and federal military installations contribute to protecting and preserving Florida’s natural resources as well as our economic prosperity. Where the state’s land conservation plans overlap with the military’s need to protect lands, waters, and habitat to ensure the sustainability of military missions, it is the Legislature’s intent that agencies receiving funds under this program cooperate with our military partners to protect and buffer military installations and military airspace, by:
1. Protecting habitat on nonmilitary land for any species found on military land that is designated as threatened or endangered, or is a candidate for such designation under the Endangered Species Act or any Florida statute;
2. Protecting areas underlying low-level military air corridors or operating areas;
3. Protecting areas identified as clear zones, accident potential zones, and air installation compatible use buffer zones delineated by our military partners; and
4. Providing the military with technical assistance to restore, enhance, and manage military land as habitat for imperiled species or species designated as threatened or endangered, or a candidate for such designation, and for the recovery or reestablishment of such species.
(3) Less the costs of issuing and the costs of funding reserve accounts and other costs associated with bonds, the proceeds of cash payments or bonds issued pursuant to this section shall be deposited into the Florida Forever Trust Fund created by s. 259.1051. The proceeds shall be distributed by the Department of Environmental Protection in the following manner:
(a) Thirty percent to the Department of Environmental Protection for the acquisition of lands and capital project expenditures necessary to implement the water management districts’ priority lists developed pursuant to s. 373.199. The funds are to be distributed to the water management districts as provided in subsection (11). A minimum of 50 percent of the total funds provided over the life of the Florida Forever program pursuant to this paragraph shall be used for the acquisition of lands.
(b) Thirty-five percent to the Department of Environmental Protection for the acquisition of lands and capital project expenditures described in this section. Of the proceeds distributed pursuant to this paragraph, it is the intent of the Legislature that an increased priority be given to those acquisitions which achieve a combination of conservation goals, including protecting Florida’s water resources and natural groundwater recharge. At a minimum, 3 percent, and no more than 10 percent, of the funds allocated pursuant to this paragraph shall be spent on capital project expenditures identified during the time of acquisition which meet land management planning activities necessary for public access. Beginning in the 2017-2018 fiscal year and continuing through the 2026-2027 fiscal year, at least $5 million of the funds allocated pursuant to this paragraph shall be spent on land acquisition within the Florida Keys Area of Critical State Concern as authorized pursuant to s. 259.045.
(c) Twenty-one percent to the Department of Environmental Protection for use by the Florida Communities Trust for the purposes of part III of chapter 380, as described and limited by this subsection, and grants to local governments or nonprofit environmental organizations that are tax-exempt under s. 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code for the acquisition of community-based projects, urban open spaces, parks, and greenways to implement local government comprehensive plans. From funds available to the trust and used for land acquisition, 75 percent shall be matched by local governments on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The Legislature intends that the Florida Communities Trust emphasize funding projects in low-income or otherwise disadvantaged communities and projects that provide areas for direct water access and water-dependent facilities that are open to the public and offer public access by vessels to waters of the state, including boat ramps and associated parking and other support facilities. At least 30 percent of the total allocation provided to the trust shall be used in Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas, but one-half of that amount shall be used in localities in which the project site is located in built-up commercial, industrial, or mixed-use areas and functions to intersperse open spaces within congested urban core areas. From funds allocated to the trust, no less than 5 percent shall be used to acquire lands for recreational trail systems, provided that in the event these funds are not needed for such projects, they will be available for other trust projects. Local governments may use federal grants or loans, private donations, or environmental mitigation funds for any part or all of any local match required for acquisitions funded through the Florida Communities Trust. Any lands purchased by nonprofit organizations using funds allocated under this paragraph must provide for such lands to remain permanently in public use through a reversion of title to local or state government, conservation easement, or other appropriate mechanism. Projects funded with funds allocated to the trust shall be selected in a competitive process measured against criteria adopted in rule by the trust.
(d) Two percent to the Department of Environmental Protection for grants pursuant to s. 375.075.
(e) One and five-tenths percent to the Department of Environmental Protection for the purchase of inholdings and additions to state parks and for capital project expenditures as described in this section. At a minimum, 1 percent, and no more than 10 percent, of the funds allocated pursuant to this paragraph shall be spent on capital project expenditures identified during the time of acquisition which meet land management planning activities necessary for public access. For the purposes of this paragraph, “state park” means any real property in the state which is under the jurisdiction of the Division of Recreation and Parks of the department, or which may come under its jurisdiction.
(f) One and five-tenths percent to the Florida Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to fund the acquisition of state forest inholdings and additions pursuant to s. 589.07, the implementation of reforestation plans or sustainable forestry management practices, and for capital project expenditures as described in this section. At a minimum, 1 percent, and no more than 10 percent, of the funds allocated for the acquisition of inholdings and additions pursuant to this paragraph shall be spent on capital project expenditures identified during the time of acquisition which meet land management planning activities necessary for public access.
(g) One and five-tenths percent to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to fund the acquisition of inholdings and additions to lands managed by the commission which are important to the conservation of fish and wildlife and for capital project expenditures as described in this section. At a minimum, 1 percent, and no more than 10 percent, of the funds allocated pursuant to this paragraph shall be spent on capital project expenditures identified during the time of acquisition which meet land management planning activities necessary for public access.
(h) One and five-tenths percent to the Department of Environmental Protection for the Florida Greenways and Trails Program, to acquire greenways and trails or greenways and trail systems pursuant to chapter 260, including, but not limited to, abandoned railroad rights-of-way and the Florida National Scenic Trail and for capital project expenditures as described in this section. At a minimum, 1 percent, and no more than 10 percent, of the funds allocated pursuant to this paragraph shall be spent on capital project expenditures identified during the time of acquisition which meet land management planning activities necessary for public access.
(i) Three and five-tenths percent to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the acquisition of agricultural lands, through perpetual conservation easements and other perpetual less than fee techniques, which will achieve the objectives of Florida Forever and s. 570.71. Rules concerning the application, acquisition, and priority ranking process for such easements shall be developed pursuant to s. 570.71(10) and as provided by this paragraph. The board shall ensure that such rules are consistent with the acquisition process provided for in s. 570.715. The rules developed pursuant to s. 570.71(10), shall also provide for the following:
1. An annual priority list shall be developed pursuant to s. 570.71(10), submitted to the council for review, and approved by the board pursuant to s. 259.04.
2. Terms of easements and acquisitions proposed pursuant to this paragraph shall be approved by the board and may not be delegated by the board to any other entity receiving funds under this section.
3. All acquisitions pursuant to this paragraph shall contain a clear statement that they are subject to legislative appropriation.

Funds provided under this paragraph may not be expended until final adoption of rules by the board pursuant to s. 570.71.

(j) Two and five-tenths percent to the Department of Environmental Protection for the acquisition of land and capital project expenditures necessary to implement the Stan Mayfield Working Waterfronts Program within the Florida Communities Trust pursuant to s. 380.5105.
(k) It is the intent of the Legislature that cash payments or proceeds of Florida Forever bonds distributed under this section shall be expended in an efficient and fiscally responsible manner. An agency that receives proceeds from Florida Forever bonds under this section may not maintain a balance of unencumbered funds in its Florida Forever subaccount beyond 3 fiscal years from the date of deposit of funds from each bond issue. Any funds that have not been expended or encumbered after 3 fiscal years from the date of deposit shall be distributed by the Legislature at its next regular session for use in the Florida Forever program.
(l) For the purposes of paragraphs (e), (f), (g), and (h), the agencies that receive the funds shall develop their individual acquisition or restoration lists in accordance with specific criteria and numeric performance measures developed pursuant to s. 259.035(4). Proposed additions may be acquired if they are identified within the original project boundary, the management plan required pursuant to s. 253.034(5), or the management prospectus required pursuant to s. 259.032(7)(c). Proposed additions not meeting the requirements of this paragraph shall be submitted to the council for approval. The council may only approve the proposed addition if it meets two or more of the following criteria: serves as a link or corridor to other publicly owned property; enhances the protection or management of the property; would add a desirable resource to the property; would create a more manageable boundary configuration; has a high resource value that otherwise would be unprotected; or can be acquired at less than fair market value.
(m) Notwithstanding paragraphs (a)-(j) and for the 2016-2017 fiscal year only:
1. The amount of $15,156,206 to only the Division of State Lands within the Department of Environmental Protection for the Board of Trustees Florida Forever Priority List land acquisition projects.
2. Thirty-five million dollars to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the acquisition of agricultural lands through perpetual conservation easements and other perpetual less-than-fee techniques, which will achieve the objectives of Florida Forever and s. 570.71.
3.a. Notwithstanding any allocation required pursuant to paragraph (c), $10 million shall be allocated to the Florida Communities Trust for projects acquiring conservation or recreation lands to enhance recreational opportunities for individuals with unique abilities.
b. The Department of Environmental Protection may waive the local government matching fund requirement of paragraph (c) for projects acquiring conservation or recreation lands to enhance recreational opportunities for individuals with unique abilities.
c. Notwithstanding sub-subparagraphs a. and b., any funds required to be used to acquire conservation or recreation lands to enhance recreational opportunities for individuals with unique abilities which have not been awarded for those purposes by May 1, 2017, may be awarded to redevelop or renew outdoor recreational facilities on public lands, including recreational trails, parks, and urban open spaces, together with improvements required to enhance recreational enjoyment and public access to public lands, if such redevelopment and renewal is primarily geared toward enhancing recreational opportunities for individuals with unique abilities. The department may waive the local matching requirement of paragraph (c) for such redevelopment and renewal projects.

This paragraph expires July 1, 2017.

(4) It is the intent of the Legislature that projects or acquisitions funded pursuant to paragraphs (3)(a) and (b) contribute to the achievement of the following goals, which shall be evaluated in accordance with specific criteria and numeric performance measures developed pursuant to s. 259.035(4):
(a) Enhance the coordination and completion of land acquisition projects, as measured by:
1. The number of acres acquired through the state’s land acquisition programs that contribute to the enhancement of essential natural resources, ecosystem service parcels, and connecting linkage corridors as identified and developed by the best available scientific analysis;
2. The number of acres protected through the use of alternatives to fee simple acquisition; or
3. The number of shared acquisition projects among Florida Forever funding partners and partners with other funding sources, including local governments and the Federal Government.
(b) Increase the protection of Florida’s biodiversity at the species, natural community, and landscape levels, as measured by:
1. The number of acres acquired of significant strategic habitat conservation areas;
2. The number of acres acquired of highest priority conservation areas for Florida’s rarest species;
3. The number of acres acquired of significant landscapes, landscape linkages, and conservation corridors, giving priority to completing linkages;
4. The number of acres acquired of underrepresented native ecosystems;
5. The number of landscape-sized protection areas of at least 50,000 acres that exhibit a mosaic of predominantly intact or restorable natural communities established through new acquisition projects or augmentations to previous projects; or
6. The percentage increase in the number of occurrences of imperiled species on publicly managed conservation areas.
(c) Protect, restore, and maintain the quality and natural functions of land, water, and wetland systems of the state, as measured by:
1. The number of acres of publicly owned land identified as needing restoration, enhancement, and management, acres undergoing restoration or enhancement, acres with restoration activities completed, and acres managed to maintain such restored or enhanced conditions; the number of acres which represent actual or potential imperiled species habitat; the number of acres which are available pursuant to a management plan to restore, enhance, repopulate, and manage imperiled species habitat; and the number of acres of imperiled species habitat managed, restored, enhanced, repopulated, or acquired;
2. The percentage of water segments that fully meet, partially meet, or do not meet their designated uses as reported in the Department of Environmental Protection’s State Water Quality Assessment 305(b) Report;
3. The percentage completion of targeted capital improvements in surface water improvement and management plans created under s. 373.453(2), regional or master stormwater management system plans, or other adopted restoration plans;
4. The number of acres acquired that protect natural floodplain functions;
5. The number of acres acquired that protect surface waters of the state;
6. The number of acres identified for acquisition to minimize damage from flooding and the percentage of those acres acquired;
7. The number of acres acquired that protect fragile coastal resources;
8. The number of acres of functional wetland systems protected;
9. The percentage of miles of critically eroding beaches contiguous with public lands that are restored or protected from further erosion;
10. The percentage of public lakes and rivers in which invasive, nonnative aquatic plants are under maintenance control; or
11. The number of acres of public conservation lands in which upland invasive, exotic plants are under maintenance control.
(d) Ensure that sufficient quantities of water are available to meet the current and future needs of natural systems and the citizens of the state, as measured by:
1. The number of acres acquired which provide retention and storage of surface water in naturally occurring storage areas, such as lakes and wetlands, consistent with the maintenance of water resources or water supplies and consistent with district water supply plans;
2. The quantity of water made available through the water resource development component of a district water supply plan for which a water management district is responsible; or
3. The number of acres acquired of groundwater recharge areas critical to springs, sinks, aquifers, other natural systems, or water supply.
(e) Increase natural resource-based public recreational and educational opportunities, as measured by:
1. The number of acres acquired that are available for natural resource-based public recreation or education;
2. The miles of trails that are available for public recreation, giving priority to those that provide significant connections including those that will assist in completing the Florida National Scenic Trail; or
3. The number of new resource-based recreation facilities, by type, made available on public land.
(f) Preserve significant archaeological or historic sites, as measured by:
1. The increase in the number of and percentage of historic and archaeological properties listed in the Florida Master Site File or National Register of Historic Places which are protected or preserved for public use; or
2. The increase in the number and percentage of historic and archaeological properties that are in state ownership.
(g) Increase the amount of forestland available for sustainable management of natural resources, as measured by:
1. The number of acres acquired that are available for sustainable forest management;
2. The number of acres of state-owned forestland managed for economic return in accordance with current best management practices;
3. The number of acres of forestland acquired that will serve to maintain natural groundwater recharge functions; or
4. The percentage and number of acres identified for restoration actually restored by reforestation.
(h) Increase the amount of open space available in urban areas, as measured by:
1. The percentage of local governments that participate in land acquisition programs and acquire open space in urban cores; or
2. The percentage and number of acres of purchases of open space within urban service areas.

Florida Forever projects and acquisitions funded pursuant to paragraph (3)(c) shall be measured by goals developed by rule by the Florida Communities Trust Governing Board created in s. 380.504.

(5)(a) All lands acquired pursuant to this section shall be managed for multiple-use purposes, where compatible with the resource values of and management objectives for such lands. As used in this section, “multiple-use” includes, but is not limited to, outdoor recreational activities as described in ss. 253.034 and 259.032(7)(b), water resource development projects, sustainable forestry management, carbon sequestration, carbon mitigation, or carbon offsets.
(b) Upon a decision by the entity in which title to lands acquired pursuant to this section has vested, such lands may be designated single use as defined in s. 253.034(2)(b).
(c) For purposes of this section, the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund shall adopt rules that pertain to the use of state lands for carbon sequestration, carbon mitigation, or carbon offsets and that provide for climate-change-related benefits.
(6) As provided in this section, a water resource or water supply development project may be allowed only if the following conditions are met: minimum flows and levels have been established for those waters, if any, which may reasonably be expected to experience significant harm to water resources as a result of the project; the project complies with all applicable permitting requirements; and the project is consistent with the regional water supply plan, if any, of the water management district and with relevant recovery or prevention strategies if required pursuant to s. 373.0421(2).
(7)(a) Beginning no later than July 1, 2001, and every year thereafter, the Acquisition and Restoration Council shall accept applications from state agencies, local governments, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, private land trusts, and individuals for project proposals eligible for funding pursuant to paragraph (3)(b). The council shall evaluate the proposals received pursuant to this subsection to ensure that they meet at least one of the criteria under subsection (9).
(b) Project applications shall contain, at a minimum, the following:
1. A minimum of two numeric performance measures that directly relate to the overall goals adopted by the council. Each performance measure shall include a baseline measurement, which is the current situation; a performance standard which the project sponsor anticipates the project will achieve; and the performance measurement itself, which should reflect the incremental improvements the project accomplishes towards achieving the performance standard.
2. Proof that property owners within any proposed acquisition have been notified of their inclusion in the proposed project. Any property owner may request the removal of such property from further consideration by submitting a request to the project sponsor or the Acquisition and Restoration Council by certified mail. Upon receiving this request, the council shall delete the property from the proposed project; however, the board of trustees, at the time it votes to approve the proposed project lists pursuant to subsection (16), may add the property back on to the project lists if it determines by a super majority of its members that such property is critical to achieve the purposes of the project.
(c) The title to lands acquired under this section shall vest in the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, except that title to lands acquired by a water management district shall vest in the name of that district and lands acquired by a local government shall vest in the name of the purchasing local government.
(8) The Acquisition and Restoration Council shall develop a project list that shall represent those projects submitted pursuant to subsection (7).
(9) The Acquisition and Restoration Council shall recommend rules for adoption by the board of trustees to competitively evaluate, select, and rank projects eligible for Florida Forever funds pursuant to paragraph (3)(b). In developing these proposed rules, the Acquisition and Restoration Council shall give weight to the following criteria:
(a) The project meets multiple goals described in subsection (4).
(b) The project is part of an ongoing governmental effort to restore, protect, or develop land areas or water resources.
(c) The project enhances or facilitates management of properties already under public ownership.
(d) The project has significant archaeological or historic value.
(e) The project has funding sources that are identified and assured through at least the first 2 years of the project.
(f) The project contributes to the solution of water resource problems on a regional basis.
(g) The project has a significant portion of its land area in imminent danger of development, in imminent danger of losing its significant natural attributes or recreational open space, or in imminent danger of subdivision which would result in multiple ownership and make acquisition of the project costly or less likely to be accomplished.
(h) The project implements an element from a plan developed by an ecosystem management team.
(i) The project is one of the components of the Everglades restoration effort.
(j) The project may be purchased at 80 percent of appraised value.
(k) The project may be acquired, in whole or in part, using alternatives to fee simple, including but not limited to, tax incentives, mitigation funds, or other revenues; the purchase of development rights, hunting rights, agricultural or silvicultural rights, or mineral rights; or obtaining conservation easements or flowage easements.
(l) The project is a joint acquisition, either among public agencies, nonprofit organizations, or private entities, or by a public-private partnership.
(10) The council shall give increased priority to:
(a) Projects for which matching funds are available.
(b) Project elements previously identified on an acquisition list pursuant to this section that can be acquired at 80 percent or less of appraised value.
(c) Projects that can be acquired in less than fee ownership, such as a permanent conservation easement.
(d) Projects that contribute to improving the quality and quantity of surface water and groundwater.
(e) Projects that contribute to improving the water quality and flow of springs.
(f) Projects for which the state’s land conservation plans overlap with the military’s need to protect lands, water, and habitat to ensure the sustainability of military missions including:
1. Protecting habitat on nonmilitary land for any species found on military land that is designated as threatened or endangered, or is a candidate for such designation under the Endangered Species Act or any Florida statute;
2. Protecting areas underlying low-level military air corridors or operating areas; and
3. Protecting areas identified as clear zones, accident potential zones, and air installation compatible use buffer zones delineated by our military partners, and for which federal or other funding is available to assist with the project.
(11) For the purposes of funding projects pursuant to paragraph (3)(a), the Secretary of Environmental Protection shall ensure that each water management district receives the following percentage of funds annually:
(a) Thirty-five percent to the South Florida Water Management District, of which amount $25 million for 2 years beginning in fiscal year 2000-2001 shall be transferred by the Department of Environmental Protection into the Save Our Everglades Trust Fund and shall be used exclusively to implement the comprehensive plan under s. 373.470.
(b) Twenty-five percent to the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
(c) Twenty-five percent to the St. Johns River Water Management District.
(d) Seven and one-half percent to the Suwannee River Water Management District.
(e) Seven and one-half percent to the Northwest Florida Water Management District.
(12) It is the intent of the Legislature that in developing the list of projects for funding pursuant to paragraph (3)(a), that these funds not be used to abrogate the financial responsibility of those point and nonpoint sources that have contributed to the degradation of water or land areas. Therefore, an increased priority shall be given by the water management district governing boards to those projects that have secured a cost-sharing agreement allocating responsibility for the cleanup of point and nonpoint sources.
(13) An affirmative vote of at least five members of the council shall be required in order to place a project submitted pursuant to subsection (7) on the proposed project list developed pursuant to subsection (8). Any member of the council who by family or a business relationship has a connection with any project proposed to be ranked shall declare such interest before voting for a project’s inclusion on the list.
(14) Each year that cash disbursements or bonds are to be issued pursuant to this section, the Acquisition and Restoration Council shall review the most current approved project list and shall, by the first board meeting in May, present to the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund for approval a listing of projects developed pursuant to subsection (8). The board of trustees may remove projects from the list developed pursuant to this subsection, but may not add projects or rearrange project rankings.
(15) The council shall submit to the board, with its list of projects, a report that includes, but need not be limited to, the following information for each project listed:
(a) The stated purpose for inclusion.
(b) Projected costs to achieve the project goals.
(c) An interim management budget that includes all costs associated with immediate public access.
(d) Specific performance measures.
(e) Plans for public access.
(f) An identification of the essential parcel or parcels within the project without which the project cannot be properly managed.
(g) Where applicable, an identification of those projects or parcels within projects which should be acquired in fee simple or in less than fee simple.
(h) An identification of those lands being purchased for conservation purposes.
(i) A management policy statement for the project and a management prospectus pursuant to s. 259.032(7)(c).
(j) An estimate of land value based on county tax assessed values.
(k) A map delineating project boundaries.
(l) An assessment of the project’s ecological value, outdoor recreational value, forest resources, wildlife resources, ownership pattern, utilization, and location.
(m) A discussion of whether alternative uses are proposed for the property and what those uses are.
(n) A designation of the management agency or agencies.
(16) All proposals for projects pursuant to paragraph (3)(b) shall be implemented only if adopted by the Acquisition and Restoration Council and approved by the board of trustees. The council shall consider and evaluate in writing the merits and demerits of each project that is proposed for Florida Forever funding. The council shall ensure that each proposed project will meet a stated public purpose for the restoration, conservation, or preservation of environmentally sensitive lands and water areas or for providing outdoor recreational opportunities. The council also shall determine whether the project or addition conforms, where applicable, with the comprehensive plan developed pursuant to s. 259.04(1)(a), the comprehensive multipurpose outdoor recreation plan developed pursuant to s. 375.021, the state lands management plan adopted pursuant to s. 253.03(7), the water resources work plans developed pursuant to s. 373.199, and the provisions of this section.
(17) On an annual basis, the Division of State Lands shall prepare an annual work plan that prioritizes projects on the Florida Forever list and sets forth the funding available in the fiscal year for land acquisition. The work plan shall consider the following categories of expenditure for land conservation projects already selected for the Florida Forever list pursuant to subsection (8):
(a) A critical natural lands category, including functional landscape-scale natural systems, intact large hydrological systems, lands that have significant imperiled natural communities, and corridors linking large landscapes, as identified and developed by the best available scientific analysis.
(b) A partnerships or regional incentive category, including:
1. Projects where local and regional cost-share agreements provide a lower cost and greater conservation benefit to the people of the state. Additional consideration shall be provided under this category where parcels are identified as part of a local or regional visioning process and are supported by scientific analysis; and
2. Bargain and shared projects where the state will receive a significant reduction in price for public ownership of land as a result of the removal of development rights or other interests in lands or receives alternative or matching funds.
(c) A substantially complete category of projects where mainly inholdings, additions, and linkages between preserved areas will be acquired and where 85 percent of the project is complete.
(d) A climate-change category list of lands where acquisition or other conservation measures will address the challenges of global climate change, such as through protection, restoration, mitigation, and strengthening of Florida’s land, water, and coastal resources. This category includes lands that provide opportunities to sequester carbon, provide habitat, protect coastal lands or barrier islands, and otherwise mitigate and help adapt to the effects of sea-level rise and meet other objectives of the program.
(e) A less-than-fee category for working agricultural lands that significantly contribute to resource protection through conservation easements and other less-than-fee techniques, tax incentives, life estates, landowner agreements, and other partnerships, including conservation easements acquired in partnership with federal conservation programs, which will achieve the objectives of Florida Forever while allowing the continuation of compatible agricultural uses on the land. Terms of easements proposed for acquisition under this category shall be developed by the Division of State Lands in coordination with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Projects within each category shall be ranked by order of priority. The work plan shall be adopted by the Acquisition and Restoration Council after at least one public hearing. A copy of the work plan shall be provided to the board of trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund no later than October 1 of each year.

(18)(a) The Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, or, in the case of water management district lands, the owning water management district, may authorize the granting of a lease, easement, or license for the use of certain lands acquired pursuant to this section, for certain uses that are determined by the appropriate board to be compatible with the resource values of and management objectives for such lands.
(b) Any existing lease, easement, or license acquired for incidental public or private use on, under, or across any lands acquired pursuant to this section shall be presumed to be compatible with the purposes for which such lands were acquired.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a), no such lease, easement, or license shall be entered into by the Department of Environmental Protection or other appropriate state agency if the granting of such lease, easement, or license would adversely affect the exclusion of the interest on any revenue bonds issued to fund the acquisition of the affected lands from gross income for federal income tax purposes, pursuant to Internal Revenue Service regulations.
(19) The council shall recommend adoption of rules by the board necessary to implement this section relating to solicitation, scoring, selecting, and ranking of Florida Forever project proposals; disposing of or leasing lands or water areas selected for funding through the Florida Forever program; and the process of reviewing and recommending for approval or rejection the land management plans associated with publicly owned properties.
(20) Lands listed as projects for acquisition under the Florida Forever program may be managed for conservation pursuant to s. 259.032, on an interim basis by a private party in anticipation of a state purchase in accordance with a contractual arrangement between the acquiring agency and the private party that may include management service contracts, leases, cost-share arrangements, or resource conservation agreements. Lands designated as eligible under this subsection shall be managed to maintain or enhance the resources the state is seeking to protect by acquiring the land and to accelerate public access to the lands as soon as practicable. Funding for these contractual arrangements may originate from the documentary stamp tax revenue deposited into the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. No more than $6.2 million may be expended from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund for this purpose.
History.s. 21, ch. 99-247; s. 3, ch. 2000-129; s. 32, ch. 2000-152; s. 11, ch. 2000-170; s. 1, ch. 2001-275; s. 3, ch. 2002-261; s. 66, ch. 2003-399; s. 12, ch. 2005-3; s. 5, ch. 2006-231; s. 13, ch. 2008-229; ss. 5, 14, ch. 2009-2; s. 22, ch. 2009-21; s. 120, ch. 2011-142; s. 9, ch. 2012-7; s. 33, ch. 2012-119; s. 28, ch. 2013-41; s. 37, ch. 2014-17; s. 36, ch. 2014-53; s. 47, ch. 2015-222; s. 27, ch. 2015-229; s. 82, ch. 2016-62; s. 5, ch. 2016-225; s. 24, ch. 2016-233.
259.1051 Florida Forever Trust Fund.
(1) There is created the Florida Forever Trust Fund to carry out the purposes of ss. 259.032, 259.105, 259.1052, and 375.031. The Florida Forever Trust Fund shall be held and administered by the Department of Environmental Protection. Proceeds from the sale of bonds, except proceeds of refunding bonds, issued under s. 215.618 and payable from moneys transferred to the Land Acquisition Trust Fund under s. 201.15(1), not to exceed $5.3 billion, must be deposited into this trust fund to be distributed and used as provided in s. 259.105(3). The bond resolution adopted by the governing board of the Division of Bond Finance of the State Board of Administration may provide for additional provisions that govern the disbursement of the bond proceeds.
(2) The Department of Environmental Protection shall distribute revenues from the Florida Forever Trust Fund only to programs of state agencies or local governments as set out in s. 259.105(3) or as provided in s. 259.1052. Excluding distributions to the Save Our Everglades Trust Fund and distributions for the acquisition of the Babcock Crescent B Ranch Florida Forever acquisition as provided in s. 259.1052, the distributions shall be spent by the recipient within 90 days after the date on which the Department of Environmental Protection initiates the transfer.
(3) The Department of Environmental Protection shall ensure that the proceeds from the sale of bonds issued under s. 215.618 and payable from moneys transferred to the Land Acquisition Trust Fund under s. 201.15(1) shall be administered and expended in a manner that ensures compliance of each issue of bonds that are issued on the basis that interest thereon will be excluded from gross income for federal income tax purposes, with the applicable provisions of the United States Internal Revenue Code and the regulations promulgated thereunder, to the extent necessary to preserve the exclusion of interest on the bonds from gross income for federal income tax purposes. The Department of Environmental Protection shall administer the use and disbursement of the proceeds of such bonds or require that the use and disbursement thereof be administered in a manner to implement strategies to maximize any available benefits under the applicable provisions of the United States Internal Revenue Code or regulations promulgated thereunder, to the extent not inconsistent with the purposes identified in s. 259.105(3).
History.s. 1, ch. 99-246; s. 4, ch. 2000-129; s. 6, ch. 2006-231; s. 14, ch. 2008-229; s. 28, ch. 2015-229.
259.1052 Babcock Crescent B Ranch Florida Forever acquisition; conditions for purchase.
(1) The acquisition of the state’s portion of the Babcock Crescent B Ranch by the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund is a conservation acquisition under the Florida Forever program created in s. 259.105, with a goal of sustaining the ecological and economic integrity of the property being acquired while allowing the business of the ranch to operate and prosper.
(2) The Babcock Crescent B Ranch constitutes a unique land mass that has significant scientific, cultural, historical, recreational, ecological, wildlife, fisheries, and productive values. The property is part of a potential greenway of undeveloped land extending from Lake Okeechobee to the east and Charlotte Harbor to the west. The natural beauty and abundant resources of the ranch provide numerous public recreational opportunities such as hiking, fishing, camping, horseback riding, and hunting.
(3) The Legislature recognizes that the acquisition of the state’s portion of the Babcock Crescent B Ranch represents a unique opportunity to assist in preserving the largest private and undeveloped single-ownership tract of land in Charlotte County. The Legislature further recognizes Lee County as a partner in the acquisition of the ranch. Upon the termination or expiration of the management agreement, Lee County will retain ownership and assume responsibility for management of the Lee County portion of the acquisition. Lee County and the lead manager may enter into an agreement for management of the Lee County property.
(4) This section authorizes the acquisition of the state’s portion of the Babcock Crescent B Ranch in order to protect and preserve for future generations the scientific, scenic, historic, and natural values of the ranch, including rivers and ecosystems; to protect and preserve the archaeological, geological, and cultural resources of the ranch; to provide for species recovery; and to provide opportunities for public recreation compatible with the working ranch and agricultural activities conducted on the property.
(5) The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall, with the cooperation of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, be the lead managing agency responsible for the management of Babcock Crescent B Ranch.
History.s. 7, ch. 2006-231; s. 2, ch. 2013-226; s. 25, ch. 2016-233.
259.10521 Citizen support organization; use of property.
(1) DEFINITIONS.For the purpose of this section, the “citizen support organization” means an organization that is:
(a) A Florida corporation not for profit incorporated under the provisions of chapter 617 and approved by the Department of State;
(b) Organized and operated to conduct programs and activities in the best interest of the state; raise funds; request and receive grants, gifts, and bequests of money; acquire, receive, hold, invest, and administer, in its own name, securities, funds, objects of value, or other property, real or personal; and make expenditures to or for the direct or indirect benefit of the Babcock Ranch Preserve;
(c) Determined by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Forest Service within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to be consistent with the goals of the state in acquiring the ranch and in the best interests of the state; and
(d) Approved in writing by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Forest Service to operate for the direct or indirect benefit of the ranch and in the best interest of the state. Such approval shall be given in a letter of agreement from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Forest Service. Only one citizen support organization may be created to operate for the direct or indirect benefit of the Babcock Ranch Preserve.
(2) USE OF PROPERTY.
(a) The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Forest Service may permit, without charge, appropriate use of fixed property and facilities of the Babcock Ranch Preserve by a citizen support organization, subject to the provisions of this section. Such use must be directly in keeping with the approved purposes of the citizen support organization and may not be made at times or places that would unreasonably interfere with recreational opportunities for the general public.
(b) The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Forest Service may prescribe by rule any condition with which the citizen support organization shall comply in order to use fixed property or facilities of the ranch.
(c) The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Forest Service shall not permit the use of any fixed property or facilities of the ranch by a citizen support organization that does not provide equal membership and employment opportunities to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, or national origin.
(3) PARTNERSHIPS.
(a) The Legislature recognizes that the Babcock Ranch Preserve will need a variety of facilities to enhance its public use and potential. Such facilities include, but are not limited to, improved access, camping areas, picnic shelters, management facilities, and environmental education facilities. The need for such facilities may exceed the ability of the state to provide such facilities in a timely manner with moneys available. The Legislature finds it to be in the public interest to provide incentives for partnerships with private organizations with the intent of producing additional revenue to help enhance the use and potential of the ranch.
(b) The Legislature may annually appropriate funds from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund for use only as state matching funds, in conjunction with private donations in aggregates of at least $60,000, matched by $40,000 of state funds, for a total minimum project amount of $100,000 for capital improvement facility development at the ranch at either individually designated locations or for priority projects within the overall ranch system. The citizen support organization may acquire private donations pursuant to this section, and matching state funds for approved projects may be provided in accordance with this subsection. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Forest Service are authorized to properly recognize and honor a private donor by placing a plaque or other appropriate designation noting the contribution on project facilities or by naming project facilities after the person or organization that provided matching funds. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Forest Service are authorized to adopt necessary administrative rules to carry out the purposes of this subsection.
(4) REPEAL.This section is repealed October 1, 2019, unless reviewed and saved from repeal by the Legislature.
History.s. 8, ch. 2006-231; s. 10, ch. 2012-7; s. 3, ch. 2013-226; s. 10, ch. 2014-96.
259.1053 Babcock Ranch Preserve; Babcock Ranch Advisory Group.
(1) SHORT TITLE.This section may be cited as the “Babcock Ranch Preserve Act.”
(2) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Babcock Ranch Preserve” and “preserve” mean the lands and facilities acquired in the purchase of the Babcock Crescent B Ranch, as provided in s. 259.1052.
(b) “Commission” means the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
(c) “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Agriculture.
(d) “Department” means the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
(e) “Executive director” means the Executive Director of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
(f) “Financially self-sustaining” means having management and operation expenditures not more than the revenues collected from fees and other receipts for resource use and development and from interest and invested funds.
(g) “Florida Forest Service” means the Florida Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
(h) “Multiple use” means the management of all of the renewable surface resources of the Babcock Ranch Preserve to best meet the needs of the public, including the use of the land for some or all of the renewable surface resources or related services over areas large enough to allow for periodic adjustments in use to conform to the changing needs and conditions of the preserve while recognizing that a portion of the land will be used for some of the renewable surface resources available on that land. The goal of multiple use is the harmonious and coordinated management of the renewable surface resources without impairing the productivity of the land and considering the relative value of the renewable surface resources, and not necessarily a combination of uses to provide the greatest monetary return or the greatest unit output.
(i) “Sustained yield of the renewable surface resources” means the achievement and maintenance of a high level of annual or regular periodic output of the various renewable surface resources of the preserve without impairing the productivity of the land.
(3) CREATION OF BABCOCK RANCH PRESERVE.
(a) Upon the date of acquisition of the Babcock Crescent B Ranch, there is created the Babcock Ranch Preserve, which shall be managed in accordance with the purposes and requirements of this section.
(b) The preserve is established to protect and preserve the environmental, agricultural, scientific, scenic, geologic, watershed, fish, wildlife, historic, cultural, and recreational values of the preserve, and to provide for the multiple use and sustained yield of the renewable surface resources within the preserve consistent with this section.
(c) This section does not preclude the use of common varieties of mineral materials such as sand, stone, and gravel for construction and maintenance of roads and facilities within the preserve.
(d) This section does not affect the constitutional responsibilities of the commission in the exercise of its regulatory and executive power with respect to wild animal life and freshwater aquatic life, including the regulation of hunting, fishing, and trapping within the preserve.
(e) This section does not interfere with or prevent the implementation of agricultural practices authorized by the agricultural land use designations established in the local comprehensive plans of either Charlotte County or Lee County as those plans apply to the Babcock Ranch Preserve.
(f) This section does not preclude the maintenance and use of roads and trails or the relocation of roads in existence on the effective date of this section, or the construction, maintenance, and use of new trails, or any motorized access necessary for the administration of the land contained within the preserve, including motorized access necessary for emergencies involving the health or safety of persons within the preserve.
(4) BABCOCK RANCH ADVISORY GROUP.
(a) The purpose of the Babcock Ranch Advisory Group is to assist the department by providing guidance and advice concerning the management and stewardship of the Babcock Ranch Preserve.
(b) The Babcock Ranch Advisory Group shall be comprised of nine members appointed to 5-year terms. Based on recommendations from the Governor and Cabinet, the commission, and the governing boards of Charlotte County and Lee County, the commissioner shall appoint members as follows:
1. One member with experience in sustainable management of forest lands for commodity purposes.
2. One member with experience in financial management, budget and program analysis, and small business operations.
3. One member with experience in management of game and nongame wildlife and fish populations, including hunting, fishing, and other recreational activities.
4. One member with experience in domesticated livestock management, production, and marketing, including range management and livestock business management.
5. One member with experience in agriculture operations or forestry management.
6. One member with experience in hunting, fishing, nongame species management, or wildlife habitat management, restoration, and conservation.
7. One member with experience in public outreach and education.
8. One member who is a resident of Lee County, to be designated by the Board of County Commissioners of Lee County.
9. One member who is a resident of Charlotte County, to be designated by the Board of County Commissioners of Charlotte County.

Vacancies will be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made. A member appointed to fill a vacancy shall serve for the remainder of that term.

(c) Members of the Babcock Ranch Advisory Group shall:
1. Elect a chair and vice chair from among the group members.
2. Meet regularly as determined by the chair.
3. Serve without compensation but shall receive reimbursement for travel and per diem expenses as provided in s. 112.061.
(5) MANAGEMENT OF PRESERVE; FEES.
(a) The department shall assume all authority provided by this section to manage and operate the preserve as a working ranch upon the termination or expiration of the management agreement attached as Exhibit “E” to that certain agreement for sale and purchase approved by the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund on November 22, 2005, and by Lee County on November 20, 2005.
(b) Upon assuming management and operation of the preserve, the department shall:
1. Manage and operate the preserve and the uses thereof, including, but not limited to, the activities necessary to administer and operate the preserve as a working ranch; the activities necessary for the preservation and development of the land and renewable surface resources of the preserve; the activities necessary for interpretation of the history of the preserve on behalf of the public; the activities necessary for the management, public use, and occupancy of facilities and lands within the preserve; and the maintenance, rehabilitation, repair, and improvement of property within the preserve.
2. Develop programs and activities relating to the management of the preserve as a working ranch.
3. Establish procedures for entering into lease agreements and other agreements for the use and occupancy of the facilities of the preserve. The procedures shall ensure reasonable competition and set guidelines for determining reasonable fees, terms, and conditions for such agreements.
4. Assess reasonable fees for admission to, use of, and occupancy of the preserve to offset costs of operating the preserve as a working ranch. These fees are independent of fees assessed by the commission for the privilege of hunting, fishing, or pursuing outdoor recreational activities within the preserve, and shall be deposited into the Incidental Trust Fund of the Florida Forest Service, subject to appropriation by the Legislature.
(c) The commission, in cooperation with the department, shall:
1. Establish and implement public hunting and other fish and wildlife management activities. Tier I and Tier II public hunting opportunities shall be provided consistent with the management plan and the recreation master plan. Tier I public hunting shall provide hunting opportunities similar to those offered on wildlife management areas with an emphasis on youth and family-oriented hunts. Tier II public hunting shall be provided specifically by fee-based permitting to ensure compatibility with livestock grazing and other essential agricultural operations on the preserve.
2. Establish and administer permit fees for Tier II public hunting to capitalize on the value of hunting on portions of the preserve and to help ensure the preserve is financially self-sufficient. The fees shall be deposited into the State Game Trust Fund of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to be used to offset the costs of providing public hunting and to support fish and wildlife management and other land management activities on the preserve.
(d) The Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund or its designated agent may:
1. Negotiate directly with and enter into such agreements, leases, contracts, and other arrangements with any person, firm, association, organization, corporation, or governmental entity, including entities of federal, state, and local governments, as are necessary and appropriate to carry out the purposes and activities authorized by this section.
2. Grant privileges, leases, concessions, and permits for the use of land for the accommodation of visitors to the preserve, provided no natural curiosities or objects of interest shall be granted, leased, or rented on such terms as shall deny or interfere with free access to them by the public. Such grants, leases, and permits may be made and given without advertisement or securing competitive bids. Such grants, leases, or permits may not be assigned or transferred by any grantee without consent of the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund or its designated agent.
(6) DISSOLUTION OF BABCOCK RANCH, INC.Upon dissolution of the Babcock Ranch, Inc., all statutory powers, duties, functions, records, personnel, property, and unexpended balances of appropriations, allocations, and other funds of the corporation shall be transferred to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services unless otherwise provided by law. Any cash balances of funds shall revert to the Incidental Trust Fund of the Florida Forest Service.
History.s. 9, ch. 2006-231; s. 33, ch. 2007-5; s. 23, ch. 2009-21; s. 4, ch. 2013-226.