MANAGEMENT AND STORAGE OF SURFACE WATERS

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MANAGEMENT AND STORAGE
OF SURFACE WATERS

373.403 Definitions.

373.406 Exemptions.

373.409 Headgates, valves, and measuring devices.

373.413 Permits for construction or alteration.

373.4135 Mitigation banks and offsite regional mitigation.

373.4136 Establishment and operation of mitigation banks.

373.4137 Mitigation requirements.

373.4138 High Speed Rail Project; determination of mitigation requirements and costs.

373.414 Additional criteria for activities in surface waters and wetlands.

373.4141 Permits; processing.

373.4142 Water quality within stormwater treatment systems.

373.4145 Interim part IV permitting program for the Northwest Florida Water Management District.

373.4149 Miami-Dade County Lake Belt Plan.

373.41492 Miami-Dade County Lake Belt Mitigation Plan; mitigation for mining activities within the Miami-Dade County Lake Belt.

373.41495 Lake Belt Mitigation Trust Fund; bonds.

373.415 Protection zones; duties of the St. Johns River Water Management District.

373.416 Permits for maintenance or operation.

373.417 Citation of rule.

373.418 Rulemaking; preservation of existing authority.

373.419 Completion report.

373.421 Delineation methods; formal determinations.

373.4211 Ratification of chapter 17-340, Florida Administrative Code, on the delineation of the landward extent of wetlands and surface waters.

373.422 Applications for activities on state sovereignty lands or other state lands.

373.423 Inspection.

373.426 Abandonment.

373.427 Concurrent permit review.

373.4275 Review of consolidated orders.

373.428 Federal consistency.

373.429 Revocation and modification of permits.

373.430 Prohibitions, violation, penalty, intent.

373.433 Abatement.

373.436 Remedial measures.

373.439 Emergency measures.

373.441 Role of counties, municipalities, and local pollution control programs in permit processing.

373.4415 Role of Miami-Dade County in processing permits for limerock mining in Miami-Dade County Lake Belt.

373.443 Immunity from liability.

373.451 Short title; legislative findings and intent.

373.453 Surface water improvement and management plans and programs.

373.455 Review of surface water improvement and management plans.

373.456 Approval of surface water improvement and management plans.

373.457 Implementation of surface water improvement and management plans and programs.

373.459 Funds for surface water improvement and management.

373.4592 Everglades improvement and management.

373.45922 South Florida Water Management District; permit for completion of Everglades Construction Project; report.

373.45924 South Florida Water Management District; Everglades truth in borrowing.

373.45926 Everglades Trust Fund; allocation of revenues and expenditure of funds for conservation and protection of natural resources and abatement of water pollution.

373.4593 Florida Bay Restoration.

373.45931 Alligator Alley tolls; Everglades and Florida Bay restoration.

373.4595 Lake Okeechobee Protection Program.

373.45952 Lake Okeechobee Protection Trust Fund.

373.4596 State compliance with stormwater management programs.

373.4597 The Geneva Freshwater Lens Protection Act.

373.461 Lake Apopka improvement and management.

373.465 Lake Panasoffkee Restoration Council.

373.466 Lake Panasoffkee restoration program.

373.467 The Harris Chain of Lakes Restoration Council.

373.468 The Harris Chain of Lakes restoration program.

373.403 Definitions.–When appearing in this part or in any rule, regulation, or order adopted pursuant thereto, the following terms mean:

(1) “Dam” means any artificial or natural barrier, with appurtenant works, raised to obstruct or impound, or which does obstruct or impound, any of the surface waters of the state.

(2) “Appurtenant works” means any artificial improvements to a dam which might affect the safety of such dam or, when employed, might affect the holding capacity of such dam or of the reservoir or impoundment created by such dam.

(3) “Impoundment” means any lake, reservoir, pond, or other containment of surface water occupying a bed or depression in the earth’s surface and having a discernible shoreline.

(4) “Reservoir” means any artificial or natural holding area which contains or will contain the water impounded by a dam.

(5) “Works” means all artificial structures, including, but not limited to, ditches, canals, conduits, channels, culverts, pipes, and other construction that connects to, draws water from, drains water into, or is placed in or across the waters in the state.

(6) “Closed system” means any reservoir or works located entirely within agricultural lands owned or controlled by the user and which requires water only for the filling, replenishing, and maintaining the water level thereof.

(7) “Alter” means to extend a dam or works beyond maintenance in its original condition, including changes which may increase or diminish the flow or storage of surface water which may affect the safety of such dam or works.

(8) “Maintenance” or “repairs” means remedial work of a nature as may affect the safety of any dam, impoundment, reservoir, or appurtenant work or works, but excludes routine custodial maintenance.

(9) “Drainage basin” means a subdivision of a watershed.

(10) “Stormwater management system” means a system which is designed and constructed or implemented to control discharges which are necessitated by rainfall events, incorporating methods to collect, convey, store, absorb, inhibit, treat, use, or reuse water to prevent or reduce flooding, overdrainage, environmental degradation, and water pollution or otherwise affect the quantity and quality of discharges from the system.

(11) “State water quality standards” means water quality standards adopted pursuant to chapter 403.

(12) “Watershed” means the land area which contributes to the flow of water into a receiving body of water.

(13) “Dredging” means excavation, by any means, in surface waters or wetlands, as delineated in s. 373.421(1). It also means the excavation, or creation, of a water body which is, or is to be, connected to surface waters or wetlands, as delineated in s. 373.421(1), directly or via an excavated water body or series of water bodies.

(14) “Filling” means the deposition, by any means, of materials in surface waters or wetlands, as delineated in s. 373.421(1).

(15) “Estuary” means a semienclosed, naturally existing coastal body of water which has a free connection with the open sea and within which seawater is measurably diluted with fresh water derived from riverine systems.

(16) “Lagoon” means a naturally existing coastal zone depression which is below mean high water and which has permanent or ephemeral communications with the sea, but which is protected from the sea by some type of naturally existing barrier.

(17) “Seawall” means a manmade wall or encroachment, except riprap, which is made to break the force of waves and to protect the shore from erosion.

(18) “Ecological value” means the value of functions performed by uplands, wetlands, and other surface waters to the abundance, diversity, and habitats of fish, wildlife, and listed species. These functions include, but are not limited to, providing cover and refuge; breeding, nesting, denning, and nursery areas; corridors for wildlife movement; food chain support; and natural water storage, natural flow attenuation, and water quality improvement, which enhances fish, wildlife, and listed species utilization.

(19) “Mitigation bank” means a project permitted under s. 373.4136 undertaken to provide for the withdrawal of mitigation credits to offset adverse impacts authorized by a permit under this part.

(20) “Mitigation credit” means a standard unit of measure which represents the increase in ecological value resulting from restoration, enhancement, preservation, or creation activities.

(21) “Mitigation service area” means the geographic area within which mitigation credits from a mitigation bank may be used to offset adverse impacts of activities regulated under this part.

(22) “Offsite regional mitigation” means mitigation on an area of land off the site of an activity permitted under this part, where an applicant proposes to mitigate the adverse impacts of only the applicant’s specific activity as a requirement of the permit, which provides regional ecological value, and which is not a mitigation bank permitted under s. 373.4136.

History.–s. 1, part IV, ch. 72-299; s. 18, ch. 73-190; s. 4, ch. 80-259; s. 1, ch. 82-101; s. 11, ch. 89-279; s. 28, ch. 93-213; s. 4, ch. 96-371.

373.406 Exemptions.–The following exemptions shall apply:

(1) Nothing herein, or in any rule, regulation, or order adopted pursuant hereto, shall be construed to affect the right of any natural person to capture, discharge, and use water for purposes permitted by law.

(2) Nothing herein, or in any rule, regulation, or order adopted pursuant hereto, shall be construed to affect the right of any person engaged in the occupation of agriculture, silviculture, floriculture, or horticulture to alter the topography of any tract of land for purposes consistent with the practice of such occupation. However, such alteration may not be for the sole or predominant purpose of impounding or obstructing surface waters.

(3) Nothing herein, or in any rule, regulation, or order adopted pursuant hereto, shall be construed to be applicable to construction, operation, or maintenance of any agricultural closed system. However, part II of this chapter shall be applicable as to the taking and discharging of water for filling, replenishing, and maintaining the water level in any such agricultural closed system. This subsection shall not be construed to eliminate the necessity to meet generally accepted engineering practices for construction, operation, and maintenance of dams, dikes, or levees.

(4) All rights and restrictions set forth in this section shall be enforced by the governing board or the Department of Environmental Protection or its successor agency, and nothing contained herein shall be construed to establish a basis for a cause of action for private litigants.

(5) The department or the governing board may by rule establish general permits for stormwater management systems which have, either singularly or cumulatively, minimal environmental impact. The department or the governing board also may establish by rule exemptions or general permits that implement interagency agreements entered into pursuant to s. 373.046, s. 378.202, s. 378.205, or s. 378.402.

(6) Any district or the department may exempt from regulation under this part those activities that the district or department determines will have only minimal or insignificant individual or cumulative adverse impacts on the water resources of the district. The district and the department are authorized to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether a specific activity comes within this exemption. Requests to qualify for this exemption shall be submitted in writing to the district or department, and such activities shall not be commenced without a written determination from the district or department confirming that the activity qualifies for the exemption.

(7) Nothing in this part, or in any rule or order adopted under this part, may be construed to require a permit for mining activities for which an operator receives a life-of-the-mine permit under s. 378.901.

(8) Certified aquaculture activities which apply appropriate best management practices adopted pursuant to s. 597.004 are exempt from this part.

(9) Implementation of measures having the primary purpose of environmental restoration or water quality improvement on agricultural lands are exempt from regulation under this part where these measures or practices are determined by the district or department, on a case-by-case basis, to have minimal or insignificant individual and cumulative adverse impact on the water resources of the state. The district or department shall provide written notification as to whether the proposed activity qualifies for the exemption within 30 days after receipt of a written notice requesting the exemption. No activity under this exemption shall commence until the district or department has provided written notice that the activity qualifies for the exemption.

(10) Implementation of interim measures or best management practices adopted pursuant to s. 403.067 that are by rule designated as having minimal individual or cumulative adverse impacts to the water resources of the state are exempt from regulation under this part.

(11) Any district or the department may adopt rules to exempt from regulation under this part any system for a mining or mining-related activity that is described in or covered by an exemption confirmation letter issued by the district pursuant to applicable rules implementing this part that were in effect at the time the letter was issued, and that will not be harmful to the water resources. Such rules may include provisions for the duration of this exemption.

History.–s. 2, part IV, ch. 72-299; s. 47, ch. 79-65; s. 5, ch. 80-259; s. 2, ch. 82-101; s. 12, ch. 89-279; s. 268, ch. 94-356; s. 2, ch. 95-215; s. 2, ch. 96-370; s. 15, ch. 98-203; s. 21, ch. 98-333; s. 2, ch. 2000-130; s. 2, ch. 2002-253.

373.409 Headgates, valves, and measuring devices.–

(1) The department or the governing board may, by regulation, require the owner of any dam, impoundment, reservoir, appurtenant work, or works subject to the provisions of this part to install and maintain a substantial and serviceable headgate or valve at the point designated by the department or the governing board to measure the water discharged or diverted.

(2) If any owner shall not have constructed or installed such headgate or valve or such measuring device within 60 days after the governing board or department has ordered its construction, the governing board or department shall have such headgate, valve, or measuring device constructed or installed, and the costs of installing the headgate, valve, or measuring device shall be a lien against the owner’s land upon which such installation takes place until the governing board or department is reimbursed in full.

(3) No person shall alter or tamper with a measuring device so as to cause it to register other than the actual amount of water diverted, discharged, or taken. Violation of this subsection shall be a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable under s. 775.082(4)(b).

History.–s. 3, part IV, ch. 72-299; s. 28, ch. 87-225; s. 49, ch. 91-221.

373.413 Permits for construction or alteration.–

(1) Except for the exemptions set forth herein, the governing board or the department may require such permits and impose such reasonable conditions as are necessary to assure that the construction or alteration of any stormwater management system, dam, impoundment, reservoir, appurtenant work, or works will comply with the provisions of this part and applicable rules promulgated thereto and will not be harmful to the water resources of the district. The department or the governing board may delineate areas within the district wherein permits may be required.

(2) A person proposing to construct or alter a stormwater management system, dam, impoundment, reservoir, appurtenant work, or works subject to such permit shall apply to the governing board or department for a permit authorizing such construction or alteration. The application shall contain the following:

(a) Name and address of the applicant.

(b) Name and address of the owner or owners of the land upon which the works are to be constructed and a legal description of such land.

(c) Location of the work.

(d) Sketches of construction pending tentative approval.

(e) Name and address of the person who prepared the plans and specifications of construction.

(f) Name and address of the person who will construct the proposed work.

(g) General purpose of the proposed work.

(h) Such other information as the governing board or department may require.

(3) After receipt of an application for a permit, the governing board or department shall publish notice of the application by sending a notice to any persons who have filed a written request for notification of any pending applications affecting the particular designated area. Such notice may be sent by regular mail. The notice shall contain the name and address of the applicant; a brief description of the proposed activity, including any mitigation; the location of the proposed activity, including whether it is located within an Outstanding Florida Water or aquatic preserve; a map identifying the location of the proposed activity subject to the application; a depiction of the proposed activity subject to the application; a name or number identifying the application and the office where the application can be inspected; and any other information required by rule.

(4) In addition to the notice required by subsection (3), the governing board or department may publish, or require an applicant to publish at the applicant’s expense, in a newspaper of general circulation within the affected area, a notice of receipt of the application and a notice of intended agency action. This subsection does not limit the discretionary authority of the department or the governing board of a water management district to publish, or to require an applicant to publish at the applicant’s expense, any notice under this chapter. The governing board or department shall also provide notice of this intended agency action to the applicant and to persons who have requested a copy of the intended agency action for that specific application.

(5) The governing board or department may charge a subscription fee to any person who has filed a written request for notification of any pending applications to cover the cost of duplication and mailing charges.

History.–s. 4, part IV, ch. 72-299; s. 19, ch. 73-190; s. 14, ch. 78-95; s. 13, ch. 89-279; s. 500, ch. 94-356.

373.4135 Mitigation banks and offsite regional mitigation.–

(1) The Legislature finds that the adverse impacts of activities regulated under this part may be offset by the creation, maintenance, and use of mitigation banks and offsite regional mitigation. Mitigation banks and offsite regional mitigation can enhance the certainty of mitigation and provide ecological value due to the improved likelihood of environmental success associated with their proper construction, maintenance, and management. Therefore, the department and the water management districts are directed to participate in and encourage the establishment of private and public mitigation banks and offsite regional mitigation. Mitigation banks and offsite regional mitigation should emphasize the restoration and enhancement of degraded ecosystems and the preservation of uplands and wetlands as intact ecosystems rather than alteration of landscapes to create wetlands. This is best accomplished through restoration of ecological communities that were historically present.

(a) The Legislature intends that the provisions for establishing mitigation banks apply equally to both public and private entities, except that the rules of the department and water management districts may set forth different measures governing financial responsibility, and different measures governing legal interest, needed to ensure the construction and perpetual protection of a mitigation bank.

(b) It is the further intent of the Legislature that mitigation banks and offsite regional mitigation be considered appropriate and a permittable mitigation option under the conditions specified by the rules of the department and water management districts.

(c) Offsite mitigation, including offsite regional mitigation, may be located outside the regional watershed in which the adverse impacts of an activity regulated under this part are located, if such adverse impacts are offset by the offsite mitigation.

(d) The department or water management district may allow the use of a mitigation bank or offsite regional mitigation alone or in combination with other forms of mitigation to offset adverse impacts of activities regulated under this part.

(e) When an applicant for a permit under the provisions of this part other than this section and s. 373.4136 submits more than one mitigation proposal to the department or a water management district, the department or water management district shall, in evaluating each proposal, ensure that such proposal adequately offsets the adverse impacts.

(2) Local governments shall not deny the use of a mitigation bank or offsite regional mitigation due to its location outside of the jurisdiction of the local government.

(3) Nothing in this section or s. 373.4136 shall be construed to eliminate or diminish any of the regulatory requirements applicable to applicants seeking permits pursuant to other provisions of this part.

(4) Except as otherwise provided herein, nothing in this section or s. 373.4136 shall be construed to diminish or limit the existing authority of the department, water management districts, or local governments.

(5) Nothing in this section or s. 373.4136 shall be construed to limit the consideration of forms of mitigation other than mitigation banks and offsite regional mitigation.

(6) An environmental creation, preservation, enhancement, or restoration project, including regional offsite mitigation areas, for which money is donated or paid as mitigation, that is sponsored by the department, a water management district, or a local government and provides mitigation for five or more applicants for permits under this part, or for 35 or more acres of adverse impacts, shall be established and operated under a memorandum of agreement. The memorandum of agreement shall be between the governmental entity proposing the mitigation project and the department or water management district, as appropriate. Such memorandum of agreement need not be adopted by rule. For the purposes of this subsection, one creation, preservation, enhancement, or restoration project shall mean one or more parcels of land with similar ecological communities that are intended to be created, preserved, enhanced, or restored under a common scheme.

(a) For any ongoing creation, preservation, enhancement, or restoration project and regional offsite mitigation area sponsored by the department, a water management district, or a local government, for which money was or is paid as mitigation, that was begun prior to the effective date of this subsection and has operated as of the effective date of this subsection, or is anticipated to operate, in excess of the mitigation thresholds provided in this subsection, the governmental entity sponsoring such project shall submit a draft memorandum of agreement to the water management district or department by October 1, 2000. The governmental entity sponsoring such project shall make reasonable efforts to obtain the final signed memorandum of agreement within 1 year after such submittal. The governmental entity sponsoring such project may continue to receive moneys donated or paid toward the project as mitigation, provided the requirements of this paragraph are met.

(b) The memorandum of agreement shall establish criteria that each environmental creation, preservation, enhancement, or restoration project must meet. These criteria must address the elements listed in paragraph (c). The entity sponsoring such project, or category of projects, shall submit documentation or other evidence to the water management district or department that the project meets, or individual projects within a category meet, the specified criteria.

(c) At a minimum, the memorandum of agreement must address the following for each project authorized:

1. A description of the work that will be conducted on the site and a timeline for completion of such work.

2. A timeline for obtaining any required environmental resource permit.

3. The environmental success criteria that the project must achieve.

4. The monitoring and long-term management requirements that must be undertaken for the project.

5. An assessment of the project in accordance with s. 373.4136(4)(a)-(i), until the adoption of the uniform wetland mitigation assessment method pursuant to s. 373.414(18).

6. A designation of the entity responsible for the successful completion of the mitigation work.

7. A definition of the geographic area where the project may be used as mitigation established using the criteria of s. 373.4136(6).

8. Full cost accounting of the project, including annual review and adjustment.

9. Provision and a timetable for the acquisition of any lands necessary for the project.

10. Provision for preservation of the site.

11. Provision for application of all moneys received solely to the project for which they were collected.

12. Provision for termination of the agreement and cessation of use of the project as mitigation if any material contingency of the agreement has failed to occur.

(d) A single memorandum of understanding may authorize more than one environmental creation, preservation, enhancement, or restoration project, or category of projects, as long as the elements listed in paragraph (c) are addressed for each project.

(e) Projects governed by this subsection, except for projects established pursuant to subsection (7), shall be subject to the provisions of s. 373.414(1)(b)1.

(f) The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to mitigation areas established to implement the provisions of s. 373.4137.

(g) The provisions of this subsection shall not apply when the department, water management district, or local government establishes, or contracts with a private entity to establish, a mitigation bank permitted under s. 373.4136. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to other entities that establish offsite regional mitigation as defined in this section and s. 373.403.

(7) The department, water management districts, and local governments may elect to establish and manage mitigation sites, including regional offsite mitigation areas, or contract with permitted mitigation banks, to provide mitigation options for private single-family lots or homeowners. The department, water management districts, and local governments shall provide a written notice of their election under this subsection by United States mail to those individuals who have requested, in writing, to receive such notice. The use of mitigation options established under this subsection are not subject to the full-cost-accounting provision of s. 373.414(1)(b)1. To use a mitigation option established under this subsection, the applicant for a permit under this part must be a private, single-family lot or homeowner, and the land upon which the adverse impact is located must be intended for use as a single-family residence by the current owner. The applicant must not be a corporation, partnership, or other business entity. However, the provisions of this subsection shall not apply to other entities that establish offsite regional mitigation as defined in this section and s. 373.403.

History.–s. 29, ch. 93-213; s. 6, ch. 96-371; s. 2, ch. 2000-133; s. 8, ch. 2001-62.

373.4136 Establishment and operation of mitigation banks.–

(1) MITIGATION BANK PERMITS.–The department and the water management districts may require permits to authorize the establishment and use of mitigation banks. A mitigation bank permit shall also constitute authorization to construct, alter, operate, maintain, abandon, or remove any surface water management system necessary to establish and operate the mitigation bank. To obtain a mitigation bank permit, the applicant must provide reasonable assurance that:

(a) The proposed mitigation bank will improve ecological conditions of the regional watershed;

(b) The proposed mitigation bank will provide viable and sustainable ecological and hydrological functions for the proposed mitigation service area;

(c) The proposed mitigation bank will be effectively managed in perpetuity;

(d) The proposed mitigation bank will not destroy areas with high ecological value;

(e) The proposed mitigation bank will achieve mitigation success;

(f) The proposed mitigation bank will be adjacent to lands that will not adversely affect the perpetual viability of the mitigation bank due to unsuitable land uses or conditions;

(g) Any surface water management system to be constructed, altered, operated, maintained, abandoned, or removed within the mitigation bank will meet the requirements of this part and the rules adopted thereunder;

(h) It has sufficient legal or equitable interest in the property to ensure perpetual protection and management of the land within a mitigation bank; and

(i) It can meet the financial responsibility requirements prescribed for mitigation banks.

(2) MITIGATION BANK PHASES.–A mitigation bank may be established and operated in phases if each phase independently meets the requirements for the establishment and operation of a mitigation bank. The number of mitigation credits assigned to a phase of a mitigation bank may be less than would be assigned to that phase upon completion of all phases of the mitigation bank. In such case, the department or water management districts shall increase the number of mitigation credits awarded to subsequent phases of the mitigation bank.

(3) ADDITION OF LANDS.–The department or water management district shall authorize the addition of land to a permitted mitigation bank when it is appropriate to do so and the addition of the land results in an increase in the ecological value of the existing mitigation bank. Any such addition shall be accomplished through a modification to the permit which reflects the corresponding increase in the total number of mitigation credits assigned to the bank.

(4) MITIGATION CREDITS.–After evaluating the information submitted by the applicant for a mitigation bank permit and assessing the proposed mitigation bank pursuant to the criteria in this section, the department or water management district shall award a number of mitigation credits to a proposed mitigation bank or phase of such mitigation bank. An entity establishing and operating a mitigation bank may apply to modify the mitigation bank permit to seek the award of additional mitigation credits if the mitigation bank results in an additional increase in ecological value over the value contemplated at the time of the original permit issuance, or the most recent modification thereto involving the number of credits awarded. The number of credits awarded shall be based on the degree of improvement in ecological value expected to result from the establishment and operation of the mitigation bank as determined using a functional assessment methodology. In determining the degree of improvement in ecological value, each of the following factors, at a minimum, shall be evaluated:

(a) The extent to which target hydrologic regimes can be achieved and maintained.

(b) The extent to which management activities promote natural ecological conditions, such as natural fire patterns.

(c) The proximity of the mitigation bank to areas with regionally significant ecological resources or habitats, such as national or state parks, Outstanding National Resource Waters and associated watersheds, Outstanding Florida Waters and associated watersheds, and lands acquired through governmental or nonprofit land acquisition programs for environmental conservation; and the extent to which the mitigation bank establishes corridors for fish, wildlife, or listed species to those resources or habitats.

(d) The quality and quantity of wetland or upland restoration, enhancement, preservation, or creation.

(e) The ecological and hydrological relationship between wetlands and uplands in the mitigation bank.

(f) The extent to which the mitigation bank provides habitat for fish and wildlife, especially habitat for species listed as threatened, endangered, or of special concern, or provides habitats that are unique for that mitigation service area.

(g) The extent to which the lands that are to be preserved are already protected by existing state, local, or federal regulations or land use restrictions.

(h) The extent to which lands to be preserved would be adversely affected if they were not preserved.

(i) Any special designation or classification of the affected waters and lands.

(5) SCHEDULE FOR CREDIT RELEASE.–After awarding mitigation credits to a mitigation bank, the department or the water management district shall set forth a schedule for the release of those credits in the mitigation bank permit. A mitigation credit that has been released may be sold or used to offset adverse impacts from an activity regulated under this part.

(a) The department or the water management district shall allow a portion of the mitigation credits awarded to a mitigation bank to be released for sale or use prior to meeting all of the performance criteria specified in the mitigation bank permit. The department or the water management district shall allow release of all of a mitigation bank’s awarded mitigation credits only after the bank meets the mitigation success criteria specified in the permit.

(b) The number of credits and schedule for release shall be determined by the department or water management district based upon the performance criteria for the mitigation bank and the success criteria for each mitigation activity. The release schedule for a specific mitigation bank or phase thereof shall be related to the actions required to implement the bank, such as site protection, site preparation, earthwork, removal of wastes, planting, removal or control of nuisance and exotic species, installation of structures, and annual monitoring and management requirements for success. In determining the specific release schedule for a bank, the department or water management district shall consider, at a minimum, the following factors:

1. Whether the mitigation consists solely of preservation or includes other types of mitigation.

2. The length of time anticipated to be required before a determination of success can be achieved.

3. The ecological value to be gained from each action required to implement the bank.

4. The financial expenditure required for each action to implement the bank.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, no credit shall be released for freshwater wetland creation until the success criteria included in the mitigation bank permit are met.

(d) The withdrawal of mitigation credits from a mitigation bank shall be accomplished as a minor modification of the mitigation bank permit. A processing fee shall not be required by the department or water management district for this minor modification.

(6) MITIGATION SERVICE AREA.–The department or water management district shall establish a mitigation service area for each mitigation bank permit. The department or water management district shall notify and consider comments received on the proposed mitigation service area from each local government within the proposed mitigation service area. Except as provided herein, mitigation credits may be withdrawn and used only to offset adverse impacts in the mitigation service area. The boundaries of the mitigation service area shall depend upon the geographic area where the mitigation bank could reasonably be expected to offset adverse impacts. Mitigation service areas may overlap, and mitigation service areas for two or more mitigation banks may be approved for a regional watershed.

(a) In determining the boundaries of the mitigation service area, the department or the water management district shall consider the characteristics, size, and location of the mitigation bank and, at a minimum, the extent to which the mitigation bank:

1. Contributes to a regional integrated ecological network;

2. Will significantly enhance the water quality or restoration of an offsite receiving water body that is designated as an Outstanding Florida Water, a Wild and Scenic River, an aquatic preserve, a water body designated in a plan adopted pursuant to s. 373.456 of the Surface Water Improvement and Management Act, or a nationally designated estuarine preserve;

3. Will provide for the long-term viability of endangered or threatened species or species of special concern;

4. Is consistent with the objectives of a regional management plan adopted or endorsed by the department or water management districts; and

5. Can reasonably be expected to offset specific types of wetland impacts within a specific geographic area. A mitigation bank need not be able to offset all expected impacts within its service area.

(b) The department and water management districts shall use regional watersheds to guide the establishment of mitigation service areas. Drainage basins established pursuant to s. 373.414(8) may be used as regional watersheds when they are established based on the hydrological or ecological characteristics of the basin. A mitigation service area may extend beyond the regional watershed in which the bank is located into all or part of other regional watersheds when the mitigation bank has the ability to offset adverse impacts outside that regional watershed. Similarly, a mitigation service area may be smaller than the regional watershed in which the mitigation bank is located when adverse impacts throughout the regional watershed cannot reasonably be expected to be offset by the mitigation bank because of local ecological or hydrological conditions.

(c) Once a mitigation bank service area has been established by the department or a water management district for a mitigation bank, such service area shall be accepted by all water management districts, local governments, and the department.

(d) If the requirements in s. 373.414(1)(b) and (8) are met, the following projects or activities regulated under this part shall be eligible to use a mitigation bank, regardless of whether they are located within the mitigation service area:

1. Projects with adverse impacts partially located within the mitigation service area.

2. Linear projects, such as roadways, transmission lines, distribution lines, pipelines, or railways.

3. Projects with total adverse impacts of less than 1 acre in size.

(7) ACCOUNTING.–The department or the water management district shall provide for the accounting of the award, release, and use of mitigation credits from a mitigation bank.

(8) AUTHORITY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS.–Local governments may not require permits or otherwise impose regulations governing the operation of a mitigation bank. However, this section shall not be construed to limit the authority of a local government to require an applicant for a mitigation bank to obtain any authorization required by a local ordinance for the construction activities associated with a mitigation bank.

(9) PRIOR APPLICATIONS.–An application for a mitigation bank conceptual approval or mitigation bank permit which is pending with, and determined complete by, the department or a water management district on or before the effective date of this act, or a mitigation bank conceptual approval or mitigation bank permit issued on or before the effective date of this act, shall continue to be subject to the rules adopted pursuant to s. 373.4135 which were in effect on the effective date of this act, unless the applicant or permittee elects to be subject to the rules governing mitigation banks adopted after that date.

(10) MODIFICATION WITH RESPECT TO PRIOR APPLICATIONS.–Any application for a modification of a mitigation bank conceptual approval or mitigation bank permit which was pending with, and determined complete by, the department or water management district on or before the effective date of this act, shall continue to be subject to the rules adopted pursuant to s. 373.4135 in effect on the effective date of this act, unless the permittee elects to be subject to the rules governing mitigation banks adopted after that date. Any modification to a mitigation bank conceptual approval or mitigation bank permit issued on or before the effective date of this act, which is applied for within 20 years of the effective date of this act, and which does not involve the addition of new land that was not previously included in the mitigation bank conceptual approval or mitigation bank permit, shall be subject to the rules adopted pursuant to s. 373.4135 which were in effect before the effective date of this act, unless the permittee elects to be subject to the rules governing mitigation banks adopted after that date.

(11) RULES.–The department and water management district may adopt rules to implement the provisions of s. 373.4135 and this section, which shall include, but not be limited to, provisions:

(a) Requiring financial responsibility for the construction, operation, and long-term management of a mitigation bank;

(b) For the perpetual protection and management of mitigation banks; and

(c) Establishing a system and methodology for the valuation, assessment, and award of mitigation credits.

History.–s. 7, ch. 96-371; s. 3, ch. 2000-133.

373.4137 Mitigation requirements.–

(1) The Legislature finds that environmental mitigation for the impact of transportation projects proposed by the Department of Transportation or a transportation authority established pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349 can be more effectively achieved by regional, long-range mitigation planning rather than on a project-by-project basis. It is the intent of the Legislature that mitigation to offset the adverse effects of these transportation projects be funded by the Department of Transportation and be carried out by the Department of Environmental Protection and the water management districts, including the use of mitigation banks established pursuant to this part.

(2) Environmental impact inventories for transportation projects proposed by the Department of Transportation or a transportation authority established pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349 shall be developed as follows:

(a) By May 1 of each year, the Department of Transportation or a transportation authority established pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349 shall submit to the Department of Environmental Protection and the water management districts a copy of its adopted work program and an inventory of habitats addressed in the rules tentatively, pursuant to this part and s. 404 of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. s. 1344, which may be impacted by its plan of construction for transportation projects in the next 3 years of the tentative work program. The Department of Transportation or a transportation authority established pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349 may also include in its inventory the habitat impacts of any future transportation project identified in the tentative work program.

(b) The environmental impact inventory shall include a description of these habitat impacts, including their location, acreage, and type; state water quality classification of impacted wetlands and other surface waters; any other state or regional designations for these habitats; and a survey of threatened species, endangered species, and species of special concern affected by the proposed project.

(3)(a) To fund the mitigation plan for the projected impacts identified in the inventory described in subsection (2), the Department of Transportation shall identify funds quarterly in an escrow account within the State Transportation Trust Fund for the environmental mitigation phase of projects budgeted by the Department of Transportation for the current fiscal year. The escrow account shall be maintained by the Department of Transportation for the benefit of the Department of Environmental Protection and the water management districts. Any interest earnings from the escrow account shall remain with the Department of Transportation.

(b) Each transportation authority established pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349 that chooses to participate in this program shall create an escrow account within its financial structure and deposit funds in the account to pay for the environmental mitigation phase of projects budgeted for the current fiscal year. The escrow account shall be maintained by the authority for the benefit of the Department of Environmental Protection and the water management districts. Any interest earnings from the escrow account shall remain with the authority.

(c) The Department of Environmental Protection or water management districts may request a transfer of funds from an escrow account no sooner than 30 days prior to the date the funds are needed to pay for activities associated with development or implementation of the approved mitigation plan described in subsection (4) for the current fiscal year, including, but not limited to, design, engineering, production, and staff support. Actual conceptual plan preparation costs incurred before plan approval may be submitted to the Department of Transportation or the appropriate transportation authority and the Department of Environmental Protection by November 1 of each year with the plan. The conceptual plan preparation costs of each water management district will be paid based on the amount approved on the mitigation plan and allocated to the current fiscal year projects identified by the water management district. The amount transferred to the escrow accounts each year by the Department of Transportation and participating transportation authorities established pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349 shall correspond to a cost per acre of $75,000 multiplied by the projected acres of impact identified in the inventory described in subsection (2). However, the $75,000 cost per acre does not constitute an admission against interest by the state or its subdivisions nor is the cost admissible as evidence of full compensation for any property acquired by eminent domain or through inverse condemnation. Each July 1, the cost per acre shall be adjusted by the percentage change in the average of the Consumer Price Index issued by the United States Department of Labor for the most recent 12-month period ending September 30, compared to the base year average, which is the average for the 12-month period ending September 30, 1996. At the end of each year, the projected acreage of impact shall be reconciled with the acreage of impact of projects as permitted, including permit modifications, pursuant to this part and s. 404 of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. s. 1344. The subject year’s transfer of funds shall be adjusted accordingly to reflect the overtransfer or undertransfer of funds from the preceding year. The Department of Transportation and participating transportation authorities established pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349 are authorized to transfer such funds from the escrow accounts to the Department of Environmental Protection and the water management districts to carry out the mitigation programs.

(4) Prior to December 1 of each year, each water management district, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Transportation, transportation authorities established pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349, and other appropriate federal, state, and local governments, and other interested parties, including entities operating mitigation banks, shall develop a plan for the primary purpose of complying with the mitigation requirements adopted pursuant to this part and 33 U.S.C. s. 1344. This plan shall also address significant invasive plant problems within wetlands and other surface waters. In developing such plans, the districts shall utilize sound ecosystem management practices to address significant water resource needs and shall focus on activities of the Department of Environmental Protection and the water management districts, such as surface water improvement and management (SWIM) waterbodies and lands identified for potential acquisition for preservation, restoration, and enhancement, to the extent that such activities comply with the mitigation requirements adopted under this part and 33 U.S.C. s. 1344. In determining the activities to be included in such plans, the districts shall also consider the purchase of credits from public or private mitigation banks permitted under s. 373.4136 and associated federal authorization and shall include such purchase as a part of the mitigation plan when such purchase would offset the impact of the transportation project, provide equal benefits to the water resources than other mitigation options being considered, and provide the most cost-effective mitigation option. The mitigation plan shall be preliminarily approved by the water management district governing board and shall be submitted to the secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection for review and final approval. The preliminary approval by the water management district governing board does not constitute a decision that affects substantial interests as provided by s. 120.569. At least 30 days prior to preliminary approval, the water management district shall provide a copy of the draft mitigation plan to any person who has requested a copy.

(a) For each transportation project with a funding request for the next fiscal year, the mitigation plan must include a brief explanation of why a mitigation bank was or was not chosen as a mitigation option, including an estimation of identifiable costs of the mitigation bank and nonbank options to the extent practicable.

(b) Specific projects may be excluded from the mitigation plan and shall not be subject to this section upon the agreement of the Department of Transportation, a transportation authority if applicable, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the appropriate water management district that the inclusion of such projects would hamper the efficiency or timeliness of the mitigation planning and permitting process, or the Department of Environmental Protection and the water management district are unable to identify mitigation that would offset the impacts of the project.

(c) Surface water improvement and management or invasive plant control projects undertaken using the $12 million advance transferred from the Department of Transportation to the Department of Environmental Protection in fiscal year 1996-1997 which meet the requirements for mitigation under this part and 33 U.S.C. s. 1344 shall remain available for mitigation until the $12 million is fully credited up to and including fiscal year 2004-2005. When these projects are used as mitigation, the $12 million advance shall be reduced by $75,000 per acre of impact mitigated. For any fiscal year through and including fiscal year 2004-2005, to the extent the cost of developing and implementing the mitigation plans is less than the amount transferred pursuant to subsection (3), the difference shall be credited towards the $12 million advance. Except as provided in this paragraph, any funds not directed to implement the mitigation plan should, to the greatest extent possible, be directed to fund invasive plant control within wetlands and other surface waters.

(5) The water management district shall be responsible for ensuring that mitigation requirements pursuant to 33 U.S.C. s. 1344 are met for the impacts identified in the inventory described in subsection (2), by implementation of the approved plan described in subsection (4) to the extent funding is provided by the Department of Transportation, or a transportation authority established pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349, if applicable. During the federal permitting process, the water management district may deviate from the approved mitigation plan in order to comply with federal permitting requirements.

(6) The mitigation plans shall be updated annually to reflect the most current Department of Transportation work program and project list of a transportation authority established pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349, if applicable, and may be amended throughout the year to anticipate schedule changes or additional projects which may arise. Each update and amendment of the mitigation plan shall be submitted to the secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection for approval. However, such approval shall not be applicable to a deviation as described in subsection (5).

(7) Upon approval by the secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, the mitigation plan shall be deemed to satisfy the mitigation requirements under this part and any other mitigation requirements imposed by local, regional, and state agencies for impacts identified in the inventory described in subsection (2). The approval of the secretary shall authorize the activities proposed in the mitigation plan, and no other state, regional, or local permit or approval shall be necessary.

(8) This section shall not be construed to eliminate the need for the Department of Transportation or a transportation authority established pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349 to comply with the requirement to implement practicable design modifications, including realignment of transportation projects, to reduce or eliminate the impacts of its transportation projects on wetlands and other surface waters as required by rules adopted pursuant to this part, or to diminish the authority under this part to regulate other impacts, including water quantity or water quality impacts, or impacts regulated under this part that are not identified in the inventory described in subsection (2).

(9) The process for environmental mitigation for the impact of transportation projects under this section shall be available to an expressway, bridge, or transportation authority established under chapter 348 or chapter 349. Use of this process may be initiated by an authority depositing the requisite funds into an escrow account set up by the authority and filing an environmental impact inventory with the appropriate water management district. An authority that initiates the environmental mitigation process established by this section shall comply with subsection (6) by timely providing the appropriate water management district and the Department of Environmental Protection with the requisite work program information. A water management district may draw down funds from the escrow account as provided in this section.

History.–s. 1, ch. 96-238; s. 36, ch. 99-385; s. 1, ch. 2000-261; s. 93, ch. 2002-20.

373.4138 High Speed Rail Project; determination of mitigation requirements and costs.–With respect to the High Speed Rail Project, any mitigation requirements and associated costs shall be determined by negotiation between the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Transportation, but if agreement on mitigation costs cannot be reached, the project may proceed at the rates determined under s. 373.4137(3).

History.–s. 5, ch. 96-238.

373.414 Additional criteria for activities in surface waters and wetlands.–

(1) As part of an applicant’s demonstration that an activity regulated under this part will not be harmful to the water resources or will not be inconsistent with the overall objectives of the district, the governing board or the department shall require the applicant to provide reasonable assurance that state water quality standards applicable to waters as defined in s. 403.031(13) will not be violated and reasonable assurance that such activity in, on, or over surface waters or wetlands, as delineated in s. 373.421(1), is not contrary to the public interest. However, if such an activity significantly degrades or is within an Outstanding Florida Water, as provided by department rule, the applicant must provide reasonable assurance that the proposed activity will be clearly in the public interest.

(a) In determining whether an activity, which is in, on, or over surface waters or wetlands, as delineated in s. 373.421(1), and is regulated under this part, is not contrary to the public interest or is clearly in the public interest, the governing board or the department shall consider and balance the following criteria:

1. Whether the activity will adversely affect the public health, safety, or welfare or the property of others;

2. Whether the activity will adversely affect the conservation of fish and wildlife, including endangered or threatened species, or their habitats;

3. Whether the activity will adversely affect navigation or the flow of water or cause harmful erosion or shoaling;

4. Whether the activity will adversely affect the fishing or recreational values or marine productivity in the vicinity of the activity;

5. Whether the activity will be of a temporary or permanent nature;

6. Whether the activity will adversely affect or will enhance significant historical and archaeological resources under the provisions of s. 267.061; and

7. The current condition and relative value of functions being performed by areas affected by the proposed activity.

(b) If the applicant is unable to otherwise meet the criteria set forth in this subsection, the governing board or the department, in deciding to grant or deny a permit, shall consider measures proposed by or acceptable to the applicant to mitigate adverse effects that may be caused by the regulated activity. Such measures may include, but are not limited to, onsite mitigation, offsite mitigation, offsite regional mitigation, and the purchase of mitigation credits from mitigation banks permitted under s. 373.4136. It shall be the responsibility of the applicant to choose the form of mitigation. The mitigation must offset the adverse effects caused by the regulated activity.

1. The department or water management districts may accept the donation of money as mitigation only where the donation is specified for use in a duly noticed environmental creation, preservation, enhancement, or restoration project, endorsed by the department or the governing board of the water management district, which offsets the impacts of the activity permitted under this part. However, the provisions of this subsection shall not apply to projects undertaken pursuant to s. 373.4137 or chapter 378. Where a permit is required under this part to implement any project endorsed by the department or a water management district, all necessary permits must have been issued prior to the acceptance of any cash donation. After the effective date of this act, when money is donated to either the department or a water management district to offset impacts authorized by a permit under this part, the department or the water management district shall accept only a donation that represents the full cost to the department or water management district of undertaking the project that is intended to mitigate the adverse impacts. The full cost shall include all direct and indirect costs, as applicable, such as those for land acquisition, land restoration or enhancement, perpetual land management, and general overhead consisting of costs such as staff time, building, and vehicles. The department or the water management district may use a multiplier or percentage to add to other direct or indirect costs to estimate general overhead. Mitigation credit for such a donation shall be given only to the extent that the donation covers the full cost to the agency of undertaking the project that is intended to mitigate the adverse impacts. However, nothing herein shall be construed to prevent the department or a water management district from accepting a donation representing a portion of a larger project, provided that the donation covers the full cost of that portion and mitigation credit is given only for that portion. The department or water management district may deviate from the full cost requirements of this subparagraph to resolve a proceeding brought pursuant to chapter 70 or a claim for inverse condemnation. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require the owner of a private mitigation bank, permitted under s. 373.4136, to include the full cost of a mitigation credit in the price of the credit to a purchaser of said credit.

2. The department and each water management district shall report to the Executive Office of the Governor by January 31 of each year all cash donations accepted under subparagraph 1. during the preceding calendar year for wetland mitigation purposes. The report shall exclude those contributions pursuant to s. 373.4137. The report shall include a description of the endorsed mitigation projects and, except for projects governed by s. 373.4135(6), shall address, as applicable, success criteria, project implementation status and timeframe, monitoring, long-term management, provisions for preservation, and full cost accounting.

3. If the applicant is unable to meet water quality standards because existing ambient water quality does not meet standards, the governing board or the department shall consider mitigation measures proposed by or acceptable to the applicant that cause net improvement of the water quality in the receiving body of water for those parameters which do not meet standards.

4. If mitigation requirements imposed by a local government for surface water and wetland impacts of an activity regulated under this part cannot be reconciled with mitigation requirements approved under a permit for the same activity issued under this part, including application of the uniform wetland mitigation assessment method adopted pursuant to subsection (18), the mitigation requirements for surface water and wetland impacts shall be controlled by the permit issued under this part.

(c) Where activities for a single project regulated under this part occur in more than one local government jurisdiction, and where permit conditions or regulatory requirements are imposed by a local government for these activities which cannot be reconciled with those imposed by a permit under this part for the same activities, the permit conditions or regulatory requirements shall be controlled by the permit issued under this part.

(2) The governing board or the department is authorized to establish by rule specific permitting criteria in addition to the other criteria in this part which provides:

(a) One or more size thresholds of isolated wetlands below which impacts on fish and wildlife and their habitats will not be considered. These thresholds shall be based on biological and hydrological evidence that shows the fish and wildlife values of such areas to be minimal.

(b) Criteria for the protection of threatened and endangered species in isolated wetlands regardless of size and land use.

(3) It is the intent of the Legislature to provide for the use of certain wetlands as a natural means of stormwater management and to incorporate these waters into comprehensive stormwater management when such use is compatible with the ecological characteristics of such waters and with sound resource management. To accomplish this, the governing board or the department is authorized to establish by rule performance standards for the issuance of permits for the use of certain wetlands for stormwater management. The compliance with such standards creates a presumption that the discharge from the stormwater management system meets state water quality standards.

(4) It is the intent of the Legislature to provide for the use of certain wetlands to receive and treat domestic wastewater that at a minimum has been treated to secondary standards. The department may by rule establish criteria for this activity, which criteria protect the type, nature, and function of the wetlands receiving the wastewater.

(5)(a) It is the intent of the Legislature to protect estuaries and lagoons from the damage created by construction of vertical seawalls and to encourage construction of environmentally desirable shore protection systems, such as riprap and gently sloping shorelines which are planted with suitable aquatic and wetland vegetation.

(b) No permit under this part to create a vertical seawall may be issued by the governing board or the department unless one of the following conditions exists:

1. The proposed construction is located within a port as defined in s. 315.02 or s. 403.021;

2. The proposed construction is necessary for the creation of a marina, the vertical seawalls are necessary to provide access to watercraft, or the proposed construction is necessary for public facilities;

3. The proposed construction is located within an existing manmade canal and the shoreline of such canal is currently occupied in whole or in part by vertical seawalls; or

4. The proposed construction is to be conducted by a public utility when such utility is acting in the performance of its obligation to provide service to the public.

(c) When considering an application for a permit to repair or replace an existing vertical seawall, the governing board or the department shall generally require such seawall to be faced with riprap material, or to be replaced entirely with riprap material unless a condition specified in paragraph (b) exists.

(d) This subsection shall in no way hinder any activity previously exempt or permitted or those activities permitted pursuant to chapter 161.

(6)(a) The Legislature recognizes that some mining activities that may occur in waters of the state must leave a deep pit as part of the reclamation. Such deep pits may not meet the established water quality standard for dissolved oxygen below the surficial layers. Where such mining activities otherwise meet the permitting criteria contained in this section, such activities may be eligible for a variance from the established water quality standard for dissolved oxygen within the lower layers of the reclaimed pit.

(b) Wetlands reclamation activities for phosphate and heavy minerals mining undertaken pursuant to chapter 378 shall be considered appropriate mitigation for this part if they maintain or improve the water quality and the function of the biological systems present at the site prior to the commencement of mining activities.

(c) Wetlands reclamation activities for fuller’s earth mining undertaken pursuant to chapter 378 shall be considered appropriate mitigation for this part if they maintain or improve the water quality and the function of the biological systems present at the site prior to the commencement of mining activities, unless the site features make such reclamation impracticable, in which case the reclamation must offset the regulated activities’ adverse impacts on surface waters and wetlands.

(d) Onsite reclamation of the mine pit for limerock and sand mining shall be conducted in accordance with the requirements of chapter 378.

1. Mitigation activities for limerock and sand mining must offset the regulated activities’ adverse impacts on surface waters and wetlands. Mitigation activities shall be located on site, unless onsite mitigation activities are not feasible, in which case, offsite mitigation as close to the activities as possible shall be required. However, mitigation banking may be an acceptable form of mitigation, whether on or off site, as judged on a case-by-case basis.

2. The ratio of mitigation-to-wetlands loss shall be determined on a case-by-case basis and shall be based on the quality of the wetland to be impacted and the type of mitigation proposed.

(7) This section shall not be construed to diminish the jurisdiction or authority granted prior to the effective date of this act to the water management districts or the department pursuant to this part, including their jurisdiction and authority over isolated wetlands. The provisions of this section shall be deemed supplemental to the existing jurisdiction and authority under this part.

(8)(a) The governing board or the department, in deciding whether to grant or deny a permit for an activity regulated under this part shall consider the cumulative impacts upon surface water and wetlands, as delineated in s. 373.421(1), within the same drainage basin as defined in s. 373.403(9), of:

1. The activity for which the permit is sought.

2. Projects which are existing or activities regulated under this part which are under construction or projects for which permits or determinations pursuant to s. 373.421 or 1s. 403.914 have been sought.

3. Activities which are under review, approved, or vested pursuant to s. 380.06, or other activities regulated under this part which may reasonably be expected to be located within surface waters or wetlands, as delineated in s. 373.421(1), in the same drainage basin as defined in s. 373.403(9), based upon the comprehensive plans, adopted pursuant to chapter 163, of the local governments having jurisdiction over the activities, or applicable land use restrictions and regulations.

(b) If an applicant proposes mitigation within the same drainage basin as the adverse impacts to be mitigated, and if the mitigation offsets these adverse impacts, the governing board and department shall consider the regulated activity to meet the cumulative impact requirements of paragraph (a). However, this paragraph may not be construed to prohibit mitigation outside the drainage basin which offsets the adverse impacts within the drainage basin.

(9) The department and the governing boards, on or before July 1, 1994, shall adopt rules to incorporate the provisions of this section, relying primarily on the existing rules of the department and the water management districts, into the rules governing the management and storage of surface waters. Such rules shall seek to achieve a statewide, coordinated and consistent permitting approach to activities regulated under this part. Variations in permitting criteria in the rules of individual water management districts or the department shall only be provided to address differing physical or natural characteristics. Such rules adopted pursuant to this subsection shall include the special criteria adopted pursuant to s. 403.061(29) and may include the special criteria adopted pursuant to s. 403.061(34). Such rules shall include a provision requiring that a notice of intent to deny or a permit denial based upon this section shall contain an explanation of the reasons for such denial and an explanation, in general terms, of what changes, if any, are necessary to address such reasons for denial. Such rules may establish exemptions and general permits, if such exemptions and general permits do not allow significant adverse impacts to occur individually or cumulatively. Such rules may require submission of proof of financial responsibility which may include the posting of a bond or other form of surety prior to the commencement of construction to provide reasonable assurance that any activity permitted pursuant to this section, including any mitigation for such permitted activity, will be completed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the permit once the construction is commenced. Until rules adopted pursuant to this subsection become effective, existing rules adopted under this part and rules adopted pursuant to the authority of 2ss. 403.91-403.929 shall be deemed authorized under this part and shall remain in full force and effect. Neither the department nor the governing boards are limited or prohibited from amending any such rules.

(10) The department in consultation with the water management districts by rule shall establish water quality criteria for wetlands, which criteria give appropriate recognition to the water quality of such wetlands in their natural state.

(11)(a) In addition to the statutory exemptions applicable to this part, dredging and filling permitted under rules adopted pursuant to 2ss. 403.91-403.929, 1984 Supplement to the Florida Statutes 1983, as amended, or exempted from regulation under such rules, shall be exempt from the rules adopted pursuant to subsection (9) if the dredging and filling activity did not require a permit under rules adopted pursuant to this part prior to the effective date of the rules adopted pursuant to subsection (9). The exemption from the rules adopted pursuant to subsection (9) shall extend to:

1. The activities approved by said chapter 403 permit for the term of the permit; or

2. Dredging and filling exempted from regulation under rules adopted pursuant to 2ss. 403.91-403.929, 1984 Supplement to the Florida Statutes 1983, as amended, which is commenced prior to the effective date of the rules adopted pursuant to subsection (9), is completed within 5 years after the effective date of such rules, and regarding which, at all times during construction, the terms of the dredge and fill exemption continue to be met.

(b) This exemption shall also apply to any modification of such permit which does not constitute a substantial modification. For the purposes of this paragraph, a substantial modification is one which is reasonably expected to lead to substantially different environmental impacts. This exemption shall also apply to a modification which lessens the environmental impact. A modification qualifying for this exemption shall be reviewed under the rules adopted pursuant to 2ss. 403.91-403.929, 1984 Supplement to the Florida Statutes 1983, as amended, in existence prior to the effective date of the rules adopted under subsection (9).

(12)(a) Activities approved in a conceptual, general, or individual permit issued pursuant to rules adopted pursuant to this part and which were either permitted under rules adopted pursuant to 2ss. 403.91-403.929, 1984 Supplement to the Florida Statutes 1983, as amended, or exempt from regulation under such rules, all prior to the effective date of rules adopted pursuant to subsection (9), shall be exempt from the rules adopted pursuant to subsection (9). This exemption shall be for the plans, terms, and conditions approved in the permit issued under rules adopted pursuant to this part or in any permit issued under rules adopted pursuant to 2ss. 403.91-403.929, 1984 Supplement to the Florida Statutes 1983, as amended, and shall be valid for the term of such permits. This exemption shall also apply to any modification of the plans, terms, and conditions of the permit, including new activities, within the geographical area to which the permit issued under rules adopted pursuant to this part applies; however, this exemption shall not apply to a modification that would extend the permitted time limit for construction beyond 2 additional years, or to any modification which is reasonably expected to lead to substantially different water resource impacts. This exemption shall also apply to any modification which lessens the impact to water resources. A modification of the permit qualifying for this exemption shall be reviewed under the rules adopted pursuant to 2ss. 403.91-403.929, 1984 Supplement to the Florida Statutes 1983, as amended, and this part, as applicable, in existence prior to the effective date of the rules adopted under subsection (9), unless the applicant elects to have such modifications reviewed under the rules adopted under this part, as amended in accordance with subsection (9).

(b) Surface water and wetland delineations identified and approved by the permit issued under rules adopted pursuant to this part prior to the effective date of rules adopted pursuant to subsection (9) shall remain valid until expiration of such permit, notwithstanding the methodology ratified in s. 373.4211. For purposes of this section, the term “identified and approved” means:

1. The delineation was field-verified by the permitting agency and such verification was surveyed as part of the application review process for the permit; or

2. The delineation was field-verified by the permitting agency and approved by the permit.

Where surface water and wetland delineations were not identified and approved by the permit issued under rules adopted pursuant to this part, delineations within the geographical area to which such permit applies shall be determined pursuant to the rules applicable at the time the permit was issued, notwithstanding the methodology ratified in s. 373.4211. This paragraph shall also apply to any modification of the permit issued under rules adopted pursuant to this part within the geographical area to which the permit applies.

(c) Within the boundaries of a jurisdictional declaratory statement issued under 1s. 403.914, 1984 Supplement to the Florida Statutes 1983, as amended, or pursuant to rules adopted thereunder, in which activities have been permitted as described in paragraph (a), the delineation of the landward extent of waters of the state for the purposes of regulation under the rules adopted pursuant to 2ss. 403.91-403.929, 1984 Supplement to the Florida Statutes 1983, as amended, as such rules existed prior to the effective date of the rules adopted pursuant to subsection (9), shall remain valid for the duration of the permit issued pursuant to 2ss. 403.91-403.929, 1984 Supplement to the Florida Statutes 1983, as amended, and shall be used in the review of any modification of such permit.

(13) Any declaratory statement issued by the department under 1s. 403.914, 1984 Supplement to the Florida Statutes 1983, as amended, or pursuant to rules adopted thereunder, or by a water management district under s. 373.421, in response to a petition filed on or before June 1, 1994, shall continue to be valid for the duration of such declaratory statement. Any such petition pending on June 1, 1994, shall be exempt from the methodology ratified in s. 373.4211, but the rules of the department or the relevant water management district, as applicable, in effect prior to the effective date of s. 373.4211, shall apply. Until May 1, 1998, activities within the boundaries of an area subject to a petition pending on June 1, 1994, and prior to final agency action on such petition, shall be reviewed under the rules adopted pursuant to 2ss. 403.91-403.929, 1984 Supplement to the Florida Statutes 1983, as amended, and this part, in existence prior to the effective date of the rules adopted under subsection (9), unless the applicant elects to have such activities reviewed under the rules adopted under this part, as amended in accordance with subsection (9). In the event that a jurisdictional declaratory statement pursuant to the vegetative index in effect prior to the effective date of chapter 84-79, Laws of Florida, has been obtained and is valid prior to the effective date of the rules adopted under subsection (9) or July 1, 1994, whichever is later, and the affected lands are part of a project for which a master development order has been issued pursuant to s. 380.06(21), the declaratory statement shall remain valid for the duration of the buildout period of the project. Any jurisdictional determination validated by the department pursuant to rule 17-301.400(8), Florida Administrative Code, as it existed in rule 17-4.022, Florida Administrative Code, on April 1, 1985, shall remain in effect for a period of 5 years following the effective date of this act if proof of such validation is submitted to the department prior to January 1, 1995. In the event that a jurisdictional determination has been revalidated by the department pursuant to this subsection and the affected lands are part of a project for which a development order has been issued pursuant to s. 380.06(15), a final development order to which s. 163.3167(8) applies has been issued, or a vested rights determination has been issued pursuant to s. 380.06(20), the jurisdictional determination shall remain valid until the completion of the project, provided proof of such validation and documentation establishing that the project meets the requirements of this sentence are submitted to the department prior to January 1, 1995. Activities proposed within the boundaries of a valid declaratory statement issued pursuant to a petition submitted to either the department or the relevant water management district prior to June 1, 1994, or a revalidated jurisdictional determination, prior to its expiration shall continue thereafter to be exempt from the methodology ratified in s. 373.4211 and to be reviewed under the rules adopted pursuant to 2ss. 403.91-403.929, 1984 Supplement to the Florida Statutes 1983, as amended, and this part, in existence prior to the effective date of the rules adopted under subsection (9), unless the applicant elects to have such activities reviewed under the rules adopted under this part, as amended in accordance with subsection (9).

(14) An application under the rules adopted pursuant to 2ss. 403.91-403.929, 1984 Supplement to the Florida Statutes 1983, as amended, or this part for dredging and filling or other activity, which is pending on June 15, 1994, or which is submitted and complete prior to the effective date of rules adopted pursuant to subsection (9) shall be:

(a) Acted upon by the agency which is responsible for review of the application under the operating agreement adopted pursuant to s. 373.046(4);

(b) Reviewed under the rules adopted pursuant to 2ss. 403.91-403.929, 1984 Supplement to the Florida Statutes 1983, as amended, and this part, in existence prior to the effective date of the rules adopted pursuant to subsection (9), unless the applicant elects to have such activities reviewed under the rules of this part, as amended in accordance with subsection (9); and

(c) Exempt from the methodology ratified in s. 373.4211, but the rules of the department and water management districts to delineate surface waters and wetlands in effect prior to the effective date of s. 373.4211 shall apply, unless the applicant elects to have such ratified methodology apply.

(15) Activities associated with mining operations as defined by and subject to ss. 378.201-378.212 and 378.701-378.703 and included in a conceptual reclamation plan or modification application submitted prior to July 1, 1996, shall continue to be reviewed under the rules of the department adopted pursuant to 2ss. 403.91-403.929, 1984 Supplement to the Florida Statutes 1983, as amended, the rules of the water management districts under this part, and interagency agreements, in effect on January 1, 1993. Such activities shall be exempt from rules adopted pursuant to subsection (9) and the statewide methodology ratified pursuant to s. 373.4211. As of January 1, 1994, such activities may be issued permits authorizing construction for the life of the mine.

(16) Until October 1, 2000, regulation under rules adopted pursuant to this part of any sand, limerock, or limestone mining activity which is located in Township 52 South, Range 39 East, sections 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 34, 35, and 36; in Township 52 South, Range 40 East, sections 6, 7, 8, 18, and 19; in Township 53 South, Range 39 East, sections 1, 2, 13, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 33, 34, 35, and 36; and in Township 54 South, Range 38 East, sections 24, and 25, and 36, shall not include the rules adopted pursuant to subsection (9). In addition, until October 1, 2000, such activities shall continue to be regulated under the rules adopted pursuant to 2ss. 403.91-403.929, 1984 Supplement to the Florida Statutes 1983, as amended, as such rules existed prior to the effective date of the rules adopted pursuant to subsection (9) and such dredge and fill jurisdiction shall be that which existed prior to January 24, 1984. In addition, any such sand, limerock, or limestone mining activity shall be approved by Dade County and the United States Army Corps of Engineers. This section shall only apply to mining activities which are continuous and carried out on land contiguous to mining operations that were in existence on or before October 1, 1984.

(17) The variance provisions of s. 403.201 are applicable to the provisions of this section or any rule adopted pursuant hereto. The governing boards and the department are authorized to review and take final agency action on petitions requesting such variances for those activities they regulate under this part.

(18) The department and each water management district responsible for implementation of the environmental resource permitting program shall develop a uniform mitigation assessment method for wetlands and other surface waters. The department shall adopt the uniform mitigation assessment method by rule no later than July 31, 2002. The rule shall provide an exclusive and consistent process for determining the amount of mitigation required to offset impacts to wetlands and other surface waters, and, once effective, shall supersede all rules, ordinances, and variance procedures from ordinances that determine the amount of mitigation needed to offset such impacts. Once the department adopts the uniform mitigation assessment method by rule, the uniform mitigation assessment method shall be binding on the department, the water management districts, local governments, and any other governmental agencies and shall be the sole means to determine the amount of mitigation needed to offset adverse impacts to wetlands and other surface waters and to award and deduct mitigation bank credits. A water management district and any other governmental agency subject to chapter 120 may apply the uniform mitigation assessment method without the need to adopt it pursuant to s. 120.54. It shall be a goal of the department and water management districts that the uniform mitigation assessment method developed be practicable for use within the timeframes provided in the permitting process and result in a consistent process for determining mitigation requirements. It shall be recognized that any such method shall require the application of reasonable scientific judgment. The uniform mitigation assessment method must determine the value of functions provided by wetlands and other surface waters considering the current conditions of these areas, utilization by fish and wildlife, location, uniqueness, and hydrologic connection, and, when applied to mitigation banks, the factors listed in s. 373.4136(4). The uniform mitigation assessment method shall also account for the expected time-lag associated with offsetting impacts and the degree of risk associated with the proposed mitigation. The uniform mitigation assessment method shall account for different ecological communities in different areas of the state. In developing the uniform mitigation assessment method, the department and water management districts shall consult with approved local programs under s. 403.182 which have an established mitigation program for wetlands or other surface waters. The department and water management districts shall consider the recommendations submitted by such approved local programs, including any recommendations relating to the adoption by the department and water management districts of any uniform mitigation methodology that has been adopted and used by an approved local program in its established mitigation program for wetlands or other surface waters. Environmental resource permitting rules may establish categories of permits or thresholds for minor impacts under which the use of the uniform mitigation assessment method will not be required. The application of the uniform mitigation assessment method is not subject to s. 70.001. In the event the rule establishing the uniform mitigation assessment method is deemed to be invalid, the applicable rules related to establishing needed mitigation in existence prior to the adoption of the uniform mitigation assessment method, including those adopted by a county which is an approved local program under s. 403.182, and the method described in paragraph (b) for existing mitigation banks, shall be authorized for use by the department, water management districts, local governments, and other state agencies.

(a) In developing the uniform mitigation assessment method, the department shall seek input from the United States Army Corps of Engineers in order to promote consistency in the mitigation assessment methods used by the state and federal permitting programs.

(b) An entity which has received a mitigation bank permit prior to the adoption of the uniform mitigation assessment method shall have impact sites assessed, for the purpose of deducting bank credits, using the credit assessment method, including any functional assessment methodology, which was in place when the bank was permitted; unless the entity elects to have its credits redetermined, and thereafter have its credits deducted, using the uniform mitigation assessment method.

History.–ss. 4, 5, ch. 86-186; s. 30, ch. 93-213; s. 4, ch. 94-122; s. 3, ch. 96-370; s. 5, ch. 96-371; ss. 2, 5, ch. 97-222; s. 169, ch. 99-13; s. 26, ch. 99-385; s. 4, ch. 2000-133; s. 1, ch. 2002-253.

1Note.–Repealed by s. 45, ch. 93-213.

2Note.–Sections 403.91-403.925 and 403.929 were repealed by s. 45, ch. 93-213, and s. 403.913, as amended by s. 46, ch. 93-213, was transferred to s. 403.939 and subsequently repealed by s. 18, ch. 95-145. The only section remaining within the cited range is s. 403.927.

373.4141 Permits; processing.–

(1) Within 30 days after receipt of an application for a permit under this part, the department or the water management district shall review the application and shall request submittal of all additional information the department or the water management district is permitted by law to require. If the applicant believes any request for additional information is not authorized by law or rule, the applicant may request a hearing pursuant to s. 120.57. Within 30 days after receipt of such additional information, the department or water management district shall review it and may request only that information needed to clarify such additional information or to answer new questions raised by or directly related to such additional information. If the applicant believes the request of the department or water management district for such additional information is not authorized by law or rule, the department or water management district, at the applicant’s request, shall proceed to process the permit application.

(2) A permit shall be approved or denied within 90 days after receipt of the original application, the last item of timely requested additional material, or the applicant’s written request to begin processing the permit application.

(3) Processing of applications for permits for affordable housing projects shall be expedited to a greater degree than other projects.

History.–s. 4, ch. 96-370; s. 1, ch. 2002-160.

373.4142 Water quality within stormwater treatment systems.–State surface water quality standards applicable to waters of the state, as defined in s. 403.031(13), shall not apply within a stormwater management system which is designed, constructed, operated, and maintained for stormwater treatment in accordance with a valid permit or noticed exemption issued pursuant to chapter 17-25, Florida Administrative Code; a valid permit issued on or subsequent to April 1, 1986, within the Suwannee River Water Management District or the St. Johns River Water Management District pursuant to this part; a valid permit issued on or subsequent to March 1, 1988, within the Southwest Florida Water Management District pursuant to this part; or a valid permit issued on or subsequent to January 6, 1982, within the South Florida Water Management District pursuant to this part. Such inapplicability of state water quality standards shall be limited to that part of the stormwater management system located upstream of a manmade water control structure permitted, or approved under a noticed exemption, to retain or detain stormwater runoff in order to provide treatment of the stormwater. The additional use of such a stormwater management system for flood attenuation or irrigation shall not divest the system of the benefits of this exemption. This section shall not affect the authority of the department and water management districts to require reasonable assurance that the water quality within such stormwater management systems will not adversely impact public health, fish and wildlife, or adjacent waters.

History.–s. 7, ch. 94-122.

373.4145 Interim part IV permitting program for the Northwest Florida Water Management District.–

(1) Within the geographical jurisdiction of the Northwest Florida Water Management District, the permitting authority of the department under this part shall consist solely of the following, notwithstanding the rule adoption deadline in s. 373.414(9):

(a) Chapter 17-25, Florida Administrative Code, shall remain in full force and effect, and shall be implemented by the department. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, chapter 17-25, Florida Administrative Code, may be amended by the department as necessary to comply with any requirements of state or federal laws or regulations, or any condition imposed by a federal program, or as a requirement for receipt of federal grant funds.

(b) Rules adopted pursuant to the authority of 1ss. 403.91-403.929, 1984 Supplement to the Florida Statutes 1983, as amended, in effect prior to July 1, 1994, shall remain in full force and effect, and shall be implemented by the department. However, the department is authorized to establish additional exemptions and general permits for dredging and filling, if such exemptions or general permits do not allow significant adverse impacts to occur individually or cumulatively. However, for the purpose of chapter 17-312, Florida Administrative Code, the landward extent of surface waters of the state identified in rule 17-312.030(2), Florida Administrative Code, shall be determined in accordance with the methodology in rules 17-340.100 through 17-340.600, Florida Administrative Code, as ratified in s. 373.4211, upon the effective date of such ratified methodology. In implementing s. 373.421(2), the department shall determine the extent of those surface waters and wetlands within the regulatory authority of the department as described in this paragraph. At the request of the petitioner, the department shall also determine the extent of surface waters and wetlands which can be delineated by the methodology ratified in s. 373.4211, but which are not subject to the regulatory authority of the department as described in this paragraph.

(c) The department may implement chapter 40A-4, Florida Administrative Code, in effect prior to July 1, 1994, pursuant to an interagency agreement with the Northwest Florida Water Management District adopted under s. 373.046(4).

(2) The authority of the Northwest Florida Water Management District to implement this part or to implement any authority pursuant to delegation by the department shall not be affected by this section. The rule adoption deadline in s. 373.414(9) shall not apply to said district.

(3) The division of permitting responsibilities in s. 373.046(4) shall not apply within the geographical jurisdiction of the Northwest Florida Water Management District.

(4) If the United States Environmental Protection Agency approves an assumption of the federal program to regulate the discharge of dredged or fill material by the department or the water management districts, or both, pursuant to s. 404 of the Clean Water Act, Pub. L. No. 92-500, as amended, 33 U.S.C. ss. 1251 et seq.; the United States Army Corps of Engineers issues one or more state programmatic general permits under the referenced statutes; or the United States Environmental Protection Agency or the United States Corps of Engineers approves any other delegation of regulatory authority under the referenced statutes, then the department may implement any permitting authority granted in this part within the Northwest Florida Water Management District which is prescribed as a condition of granting such assumption, general permit, or delegation.

(5) Within the geographical jurisdiction of the Northwest Florida Water Management District, the methodology for determining the landward extent of surface waters of the state under chapter 403 in effect prior to the effective date of the methodology ratified in s. 373.4211 shall apply to:

(a) Activities permitted under the rules adopted pursuant to 1ss. 403.91-403.929, 1984 Supplement to the Florida Statutes 1983, as amended, or which were exempted from regulation under such rules, prior to July 1, 1994, and which were permitted under chapter 17-25, Florida Administrative Code, or exempt from chapter 17-25, Florida Administrative Code, prior to July 1, 1994, provided:

1. An activity authorized by such permits is conducted in accordance with the plans, terms, and conditions of such permits.

2. An activity exempted from the permitting requirements of the rules adopted pursuant to 1ss. 403.91-403.929, 1984 Supplement to the Florida Statutes 1983, as amended, or chapter 17-25, Florida Administrative Code, is:

a. Commenced prior to July 1, 1994, and completed by July 1, 1999;

b. Conducted in accordance with a plan depicting the activity which has been submitted to and approved for construction by the department, the appropriate local government, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, or the Northwest Florida Water Management District; and

c. Conducted in accordance with the terms of the exemption.

(b) An activity within the boundaries of a valid jurisdictional declaratory statement issued pursuant to 2s. 403.914, 1984 Supplement to the Florida Statutes 1983, as amended, or the rules adopted thereunder, in response to a petition received prior to June 1, 1994.

(c) Any modification of a permitted or exempt activity as described in paragraph (a) which does not constitute a substantial modification or which lessens the environmental impact of such permitted or exempt activity. For the purposes of this section, a substantial modification is one which is reasonably expected to lead to substantially different environmental impacts.

(d) Applications for activities permitted under the rules adopted pursuant to 1ss. 403.91-403.929, 1984 Supplement to the 1983 Florida Statutes, as amended, which were pending on June 15, 1994, unless the application elects to have applied the delineation methodology ratified in s. 373.4211.

(6) Subsections (1), (2), (3), and (4) shall be repealed effective July 1, 2003.

(7)(a) The department and the Northwest Florida Water Management District are directed to begin developing a plan by which the permitting for activities proposed in surface waters and wetlands shall fully comply with the provisions of this part, beginning July 1, 2003. The plan also shall address the division of environmental resource permitting responsibilities between the department and the Northwest Florida Water Management District; the methodology of delineating wetlands in the Northwest Florida Water Management District; authority of the Northwest Florida Water Management District to implement federal permitting programs related to activities in surface waters and wetlands; and the chapter 70 implications of implementing the provisions of this part within the jurisdiction of the Northwest Florida Water Management District.

(b) The department and Northwest Florida Water Management District shall jointly prepare an interim report on their progress in developing the aforementioned plan, to be presented March 1, 2001 to the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the chairs of the relevant substantive and fiscal committees. The department and district shall present a final report on March 1, 2003.

(c) Any jurisdictional declaratory statement issued for a project within the geographic jurisdiction of the Northwest Florida Water Management District that is valid on July 1, 1999, and for which there has been issued a permit pursuant to this chapter and chapter 403 for a phase of that project and which identified proposed future development, including mitigation, that would require an additional permit pursuant to this chapter and chapter 403 shall not expire until January 1, 2002.

History.–s. 8, ch. 94-122; s. 18, ch. 96-247; s. 5, ch. 96-370; s. 1, ch. 99-353.

1Note.–Sections 403.91-403.925 and 403.929 were repealed by s. 45, ch. 93-213, and s. 403.913, as amended by s. 46, ch. 93-213, was transferred to s. 403.939 and subsequently repealed by s. 18, ch. 95-145. The only section remaining within the cited range is s. 403.927.

2Note.–Repealed by s. 45, ch. 93-213.

373.4149 Miami-Dade County Lake Belt Plan.–

(1) The Legislature hereby accepts and adopts the recommendations contained in the Phase I Lake Belt Report and Plan, dated February 1997 and hereby accepts the Phase II Plan, submitted on February 9, 2001, to the Legislature by the Miami-Dade County Lake Belt Plan Implementation Committee. These plans shall collectively be known as the Miami-Dade County Lake Belt Plan. This plan was developed to enhance the water supply for Miami-Dade County and the Everglades, including appropriate wellfield protection measures; to maximize efficient recovery of limestone while promoting the social and economic welfare of the community and protecting the environment; and to educate various groups and the general public of the benefits of the plan.

(2)(a) The Legislature recognizes that deposits of limestone and sand suitable for production of construction aggregates, cement, and road base materials are located in limited areas of the state.

(b) The Legislature recognizes that the deposit of limestone available in South Florida is limited due to urbanization to the east and the Everglades to the west.

(3) The Miami-Dade County Lake Belt Area is that area bounded by the Ronald Reagan Turnpike to the east, the Miami-Dade-Broward County line to the north, Krome Avenue to the west and Tamiami Trail to the south together with the land south of Tamiami Trail in sections 5, 6, 7, 8, 17, and 18, Township 54 South, Range 39 East, sections 24, 25, and 36, Township 54 South, Range 38 East less those portions of section 3, south of Krome Avenue and west of U.S. Highway 27, section 10, except the west one-half, section 11, except the northeast one-quarter and the east one-half of the northwest one-quarter, and tracts 38 through 41, and tracts 49 through 64 inclusive, section 13, except tracts 17 through 35 and tracts 46 through 48, of Florida Fruit Lands Company Subdivision No. 1 according to the plat thereof as recorded in plat book 2, page 17, public records of Miami-Dade County, and section 14, except the west three quarters, Township 52 South, Range 39 East, lying north of the Miami Canal, sections 35 and 36 and the east one-half of sections 24 and 25, Township 53 South, Range 39 East and Government Lots 1 and 2, lying between Townships 53 and 54 South, Range 39 East and those portions of sections 1 and 2, Township 54 South, Range 39 East, lying north of Tamiami Trail.

(4) The identification of the Miami-Dade County Lake Belt Area shall not preempt local land use jurisdiction, planning, or regulatory authority in regard to the use of land by private land owners. When amending local comprehensive plans, or implementing zoning regulations, development regulations, or other local regulations, Miami-Dade County shall strongly consider limestone mining activities and ancillary operations, such as lake excavation, including use of explosives, rock processing, cement, concrete and asphalt products manufacturing, and ancillary activities, within the rock mining supported and allowable areas of the Miami-Dade County Lake Plan adopted by subsection (1); provided, however, that limerock mining activities are consistent with wellfield protection. Rezonings or amendments to local comprehensive plans concerning properties that are located within 1 mile of the Miami-Dade Lake Belt Area shall be compatible with limestone mining activities. No rezonings, variances, or amendments to local comprehensive plans for any residential purpose may be approved for any property located in sections 35 and 36 and the east one-half of sections 24 and 25, Township 53 South, Range 39 East until such time as there is no active mining within 2 miles of the property. This section does not preclude residential development that complies with current regulations.

(5) The secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, the secretary of the Department of Community Affairs, the secretary of the Department of Transportation, the Commissioner of Agriculture, the executive director of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the executive director of the South Florida Water Management District may enter into agreements with landowners, developers, businesses, industries, individuals, and governmental agencies as necessary to effectuate the Miami-Dade Lake Belt Plan and the provisions of this section.

(6)(a) All agencies of the state shall review the status of their landholdings within the boundaries of the Miami-Dade County Lake Belt. Those lands for which no present or future use is identified must be made available, together with other suitable lands, to the Department of Environmental Protection for its use in carrying out the objectives of this act.

(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that lands provided to the Department of Environmental Protection be used for land exchanges to further the objectives of this act.

History.–s. 21, ch. 92-132; s. 5, ch. 94-122; s. 1010, ch. 95-148; s. 10, ch. 97-222; s. 1, ch. 99-298; s. 22, ch. 2000-197; ss. 1, 2, ch. 2000-285; s. 3, ch. 2001-172.

373.41492 Miami-Dade County Lake Belt Mitigation Plan; mitigation for mining activities within the Miami-Dade County Lake Belt.–

(1) The Legislature finds that the impact of mining within the rock mining supported and allowable areas of the Miami-Dade County Lake Plan adopted by s. 373.4149(1) can best be offset by the implementation of a comprehensive mitigation plan as recommended in the 1998 Progress Report to the Florida Legislature by the Miami-Dade County Lake Belt Plan Implementation Committee. The Lake Belt Mitigation Plan consists of those provisions contained in subsections (2)-(9). The per-ton mitigation fee assessed on limestone sold from the Miami-Dade County Lake Belt Area and sections 10, 11, 13, 14, Township 52 South, Range 39 East, and sections 24, 25, 35, and 36, Township 53 South, Range 39 East, shall be used for acquiring environmentally sensitive lands and for restoration, maintenance, and other environmental purposes. It is the intent of the Legislature that the per-ton mitigation fee shall not be a revenue source for purposes other than enumerated herein. Further, the Legislature finds that the public benefit of a sustainable supply of limestone construction materials for public and private projects requires a coordinated approach to permitting activities on wetlands within Miami-Dade County in order to provide the certainty necessary to encourage substantial and continued investment in the limestone processing plant and equipment required to efficiently extract the limestone resource. It is the intent of the Legislature that the Lake Belt Mitigation Plan satisfy all local, state, and federal requirements for mining activity within the rock mining supported and allowable areas.

(2) To provide for the mitigation of wetland resources lost to mining activities within the Miami-Dade County Lake Belt Plan, effective October 1, 1999, a mitigation fee is imposed on each ton of limerock and sand extracted by any person who engages in the business of extracting limerock or sand from within the Miami-Dade County Lake Belt Area and sections 10, 11, 13, 14, Township 52 South, Range 39 East, and sections 24, 25, 35, and 36, Township 53 South, Range 39 East. The mitigation fee is at the rate of 5 cents for each ton of limerock and sand sold from within the properties where the fee applies in raw, processed, or manufactured form, including, but not limited to, sized aggregate, asphalt, cement, concrete, and other limerock and concrete products. Any limerock or sand that is used within the mine from which the limerock or sand is extracted is exempt from the fee. The amount of the mitigation fee imposed under this section must be stated separately on the invoice provided to the purchaser of the limerock or sand product from the limerock or sand miner, or its subsidiary or affiliate, for which the mitigation fee applies. The limerock or sand miner, or its subsidiary or affiliate, who sells the limerock or sand product shall collect the mitigation fee and forward the proceeds of the fee to the Department of Revenue on or before the 20th day of the month following the calendar month in which the sale occurs.

(3) The mitigation fee imposed by this section must be reported to the Department of Revenue. Payment of the mitigation fee must be accompanied by a form prescribed by the Department of Revenue. The proceeds of the fee, less administrative costs, must be transferred by the Department of Revenue to the South Florida Water Management District and deposited into the Lake Belt Mitigation Trust Fund. As used in this section, the term “proceeds of the fee” means all funds collected and received by the Department of Revenue under this section, including interest and penalties on delinquent mitigation fees. The amount deducted for administrative costs may not exceed 3 percent of the total revenues collected under this section and may equal only those administrative costs reasonably attributable to the mitigation fee.

(4)(a) The Department of Revenue shall administer, collect, and enforce the mitigation fee authorized under this section in accordance with the procedures used to administer, collect, and enforce the general sales tax imposed under chapter 212. The provisions of chapter 212 with respect to the authority of the Department of Revenue to audit and make assessments, the keeping of books and records, and the interest and penalties imposed on delinquent fees apply to this section. The fee may not be included in computing estimated taxes under s. 212.11, and the dealer’s credit for collecting taxes or fees provided for in s. 212.12 does not apply to the mitigation fee imposed by this section.

(b) In administering this section, the Department of Revenue may employ persons and incur expenses for which funds are appropriated by the Legislature. The Department of Revenue shall adopt rules and prescribe and publish forms necessary to administer this section. The Department of Revenue shall establish audit procedures and may assess delinquent fees.

(5) Beginning January 1, 2001, and each January 1 thereafter, the per-ton mitigation fee shall be increased by 2.1 percentage points, plus a cost growth index. The cost growth index shall be the percentage change in the weighted average of the Employment Cost Index for All Civilian Workers (ecu 10001I), issued by the United States Department of Labor for the most recent 12-month period ending on September 30, and the percentage change in the Producer Price Index for All Commodities (WPU 00000000), issued by the United States Department of Labor for the most recent 12-month period ending on September 30, compared to the weighted average of these indices for the previous year. The weighted average shall be calculated as 0.6 times the percentage change in the Employment Cost Index for All Civilian Workers (ecu 10001I), plus 0.4 times the percentage change in the Producer Price Index for All Commodities (WPU 00000000). If either index is discontinued, it shall be replaced by its successor index, as identified by the United States Department of Labor.

(6)(a) The proceeds of the mitigation fee must be used to conduct mitigation activities that are appropriate to offset the loss of the value and functions of wetlands as a result of mining activities and must be used in a manner consistent with the recommendations contained in the reports submitted to the Legislature by the Miami-Dade County Lake Belt Plan Implementation Committee and adopted under s. 373.4149. Such mitigation may include the purchase, enhancement, restoration, and management of wetlands and uplands, the purchase of mitigation credit from a permitted mitigation bank, and any structural modifications to the existing drainage system to enhance the hydrology of the Miami-Dade County Lake Belt Area. Funds may also be used to reimburse other funding sources, including the Save Our Rivers Land Acquisition Program and the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, for the purchase of lands that were acquired in areas appropriate for mitigation due to rock mining and to reimburse governmental agencies that exchanged land under s. 373.4149 for mitigation due to rockmining.

(b) Expenditures must be approved by an interagency committee consisting of representatives from each of the following: the Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resource Management, the Department of Environmental Protection, the South Florida Water Management District, and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. In addition, the limerock mining industry shall select a representative to serve as a nonvoting member of the interagency committee. At the discretion of the committee, additional members may be added to represent federal regulatory, environmental, and fish and wildlife agencies.

(7) Payment of the fee imposed by this section satisfies the mitigation requirements imposed under ss. 373.403-373.439 and any applicable county ordinance for loss of the value and functions from mining of the wetlands identified as rockmining supported and allowable areas of the Miami-Dade County Lake Plan adopted by s. 373.4149(1). In addition, it is the intent of the Legislature that the payment of the mitigation fee imposed by this section satisfy all federal mitigation requirements for the wetlands mined.

(8) If a general permit by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, or an appropriate long-term permit for mining, consistent with the Miami-Dade County Lake Belt Plan, this section, and ss. 373.4149, 373.4415, and 378.4115 is not issued on or before September 30, 2000, the fee imposed by this section is suspended until revived by the Legislature.

(9)(a) The interagency committee established in this section shall annually prepare and submit to the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District a report evaluating the mitigation costs and revenues generated by the mitigation fee.

(b) No sooner than January 31, 2010, and no more frequently than every 10 years thereafter, the interagency committee shall submit to the Legislature a report recommending any needed adjustments to the mitigation fee to ensure that the revenue generated reflects the actual costs of the mitigation.

History.–s. 2, ch. 99-298; s. 23, ch. 2000-197.

373.41495 Lake Belt Mitigation Trust Fund; bonds.–

(1) The Lake Belt Mitigation Trust Fund is hereby created, to be administered by the South Florida Water Management District. Funds shall be credited to the trust fund as provided in s. 373.41492, to be used for the purposes set forth therein.

(2) The South Florida Water Management District may issue revenue bonds pursuant to s. 373.584, payable from revenues from the Lake Belt Mitigation fee imposed under s. 373.41492.

(3) Net proceeds from the Lake Belt Mitigation fee and any revenue bonds issued under subsection (2) shall be deposited into the trust fund and, together with any interest earned on such moneys, shall be applied to Lake Belt mitigation projects as provided in s. 373.41492.

(4) The Lake Belt Mitigation Trust Fund is a trust fund as described in s. 19(f)(3), Art. III of the State Constitution, and therefore is not subject to termination pursuant to s. 19(f)(2), Art. III of the State Constitution.

History.–ss. 1, 2, 3, 4, ch. 98-260; s. 1, ch. 99-297.

373.415 Protection zones; duties of the St. Johns River Water Management District.–

(1) Not later than November 1, 1988, the St. Johns River Water Management District shall adopt rules establishing protection zones adjacent to the watercourses in the Wekiva River System, as designated in s. 369.303(10). Such protection zones shall be sufficiently wide to prevent harm to the Wekiva River System, including water quality, water quantity, hydrology, wetlands, and aquatic and wetland-dependent wildlife species, caused by any of the activities regulated under this part. Factors on which the widths of the protection zones shall be based shall include, but not be limited to:

(a) The biological significance of the wetlands and uplands adjacent to the designated watercourses in the Wekiva River System, including the nesting, feeding, breeding, and resting needs of aquatic species and wetland-dependent wildlife species.

(b) The sensitivity of these species to disturbance, including the short-term and long-term adaptability to disturbance of the more sensitive species, both migratory and resident.

(c) The susceptibility of these lands to erosion, including the slope, soils, runoff characteristics, and vegetative cover.

In addition, the rules may establish permitting thresholds, permitting exemptions, or general permits, if such thresholds, exemptions, or general permits do not allow significant adverse impacts to the Wekiva River System to occur individually or cumulatively.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 120.60, the St. Johns River Water Management District shall not issue any permit under this part within the Wekiva River Protection Area, as defined in s. 369.303(9), until the appropriate local government has provided written notification to the district that the proposed activity is consistent with the local comprehensive plan and is in compliance with any land development regulation in effect in the area where the development will take place. The district may, however, inform any property owner who makes a request for such information as to the location of the protection zone or zones on his or her property. However, if a development proposal is amended as the result of the review by the district, a permit may be issued prior to the development proposal being returned, if necessary, to the local government for additional review.

(3) Nothing in this section shall affect the authority of the water management districts created by this chapter to adopt similar protection zones for other watercourses.

(4) Nothing in this section shall affect the authority of the water management districts created by this chapter to decline to issue permits for development which have not been determined to be consistent with local comprehensive plans or in compliance with land development regulations in areas outside the Wekiva River Protection Area.

(5) Nothing in this section shall affect the authority of counties or municipalities to establish setbacks from any surface waters or watercourses.

(6) The provisions of s. 373.617 are applicable to final actions of the St. Johns River Water Management District with respect to a permit or permits issued pursuant to this section.

History.–s. 2, ch. 88-121; s. 27, ch. 88-393; s. 606, ch. 95-148; s. 12, ch. 2000-212.

373.416 Permits for maintenance or operation.–

(1) Except for the exemptions set forth in this part, the governing board or department may require such permits and impose such reasonable conditions as are necessary to assure that the operation or maintenance of any stormwater management system, dam, impoundment, reservoir, appurtenant work, or works will comply with the provisions of this part and applicable rules promulgated thereto, will not be inconsistent with the overall objectives of the district, and will not be harmful to the water resources of the district.

(2) Except as otherwise provided in ss. 373.426 and 373.429, a permit issued by the governing board or department for the maintenance or operation of a stormwater management system, dam, impoundment, reservoir, appurtenant work, or works shall be permanent, and the sale or conveyance of such dam, impoundment, reservoir, appurtenant work, or works, or the land on which the same is located, shall in no way affect the validity of the permit, provided the owner in whose name the permit was granted notifies the governing board or department of such change of ownership within 30 days of such transfer.

(3) The governing boards shall, by November 1, 1990, establish by rule requirements for the monitoring and maintenance of stormwater management systems.

History.–s. 5, part IV, ch. 72-299; s. 20, ch. 73-190; s. 14, ch. 89-279.

373.417 Citation of rule.–In addition to any other provisions within this part or any rules promulgated hereunder, the permitting agency shall, when requesting information for a permit application pursuant to this part or such rules promulgated hereunder, cite a specific rule. If a request for information cannot be accompanied by a rule citation, failure to provide such information cannot be grounds to deny a permit.

History.–s. 6, ch. 79-161.

373.418 Rulemaking; preservation of existing authority.–

(1) It is the intent of the Legislature that stormwater management systems be regulated under this part incorporating all of existing requirements contained in or adopted pursuant to this chapter and chapter 403. Neither the department nor governing boards are limited or prohibited from amending any regulatory requirement applicable to stormwater management systems in accordance with the provisions of this part. It is further the intent of the Legislature that all current exemptions under this chapter and chapter 403 shall remain in full force and effect and that this act shall not be construed to remove or alter these exemptions.

(2) In order to preserve existing requirements, all rules of the department or governing boards existing on July 1, 1989, except for rule 17-25.090, Florida Administrative Code, shall be applicable to stormwater management systems and continue in full force and effect unless amended or replaced by future rulemaking in accordance with this part.

(3) The department or governing boards have authority to adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement the provisions of this part. Such rules shall be consistent with the water resource implementation rule and shall not allow harm to water resources or be contrary to the policy set forth in s. 373.016.

(4) The department or the governing boards are authorized to adopt by rule performance criteria for the review of groundwater discharge of stormwater. Upon adoption of such performance criteria the department shall not require a separate groundwater permit for permitted stormwater facilities.

History.–s. 15, ch. 89-279; s. 22, ch. 97-160; s. 86, ch. 98-200.

373.419 Completion report.–Within 30 days after the completion of construction or alteration of any stormwater management system, dam, impoundment, reservoir, appurtenant work, or works, the permittee shall file a written statement of completion with the governing board or department. The governing board or department shall designate the form of such statement and such information as it shall require.

History.–s. 6, part IV, ch. 72-299; s. 16, ch. 89-279.

373.421 Delineation methods; formal determinations.–

(1) The Environmental Regulation Commission shall adopt a unified statewide methodology for the delineation of the extent of wetlands as defined in s. 373.019(22). This methodology shall consider regional differences in the types of soils and vegetation that may serve as indicators of the extent of wetlands. This methodology shall also include provisions for determining the extent of surface waters other than wetlands for the purposes of regulation under s. 373.414. This methodology shall not become effective until ratified by the Legislature. Subsequent to legislative ratification, the wetland definition in s. 373.019(22) and the adopted wetland methodology shall be binding on the department, the water management districts, local governments, and any other governmental entities. Upon ratification of such wetland methodology, the Legislature preempts the authority of any water management district, state or regional agency, or local government to define wetlands or develop a delineation methodology to implement the definition and determines that the exclusive definition and delineation methodology for wetlands shall be that established pursuant to s. 373.019(22) and this section. Upon such legislative ratification, any existing wetlands definition or wetland delineation methodology shall be superseded by the wetland definition and delineation methodology established pursuant to this chapter. Subsequent to legislative ratification, a delineation of the extent of a surface water or wetland by the department or a water management district, pursuant to a formal determination under subsection (2), or pursuant to a permit issued under this part in which the delineation was field-verified by the permitting agency and specifically approved in the permit, shall be binding on all other governmental entities for the duration of the formal determination or permit. All existing rules and methodologies of the department, the water management districts, and local governments, regarding surface water or wetland definition and delineation shall remain in full force and effect until the common methodology rule becomes effective. However, this shall not be construed to limit any power of the department, the water management districts, and local governments to amend or adopt a surface water or wetland definition or delineation methodology until the common methodology rule becomes effective.

(2) A water management district or the department may provide a process by rule for formal determinations of the extent of surface waters and wetlands, as delineated in subsection (1). By interagency agreement, the department and each water management district shall determine which agency shall implement the determination process within the district. If a rule is adopted, a property owner, an entity that has the power of eminent domain, or any other person who has a legal or equitable interest in property may petition the district for a formal determination. In such rule, the governing board or the department shall specify information which must be provided and may require authorization to enter upon the property. The rule shall also establish procedures for issuing a formal determination. The governing board may authorize its executive director to issue formal determinations. The governing board must by rule prescribe the circumstances in which its executive director may issue such determinations. The governing board or the department may require a fee to cover the costs of processing and acting upon the petition. That fee must be established by rule. A water management district or the department may publish, or require the petitioner to publish at the petitioner’s expense, notice of the intended agency action on the petition for a formal determination in a newspaper of general circulation within the affected area. Within 60 days prior to the expiration of a formal determination, the property owner, an entity that has the power of eminent domain, or any other person who has a legal or equitable interest in the property may petition for a new formal determination for the same parcel of property and such determination shall be issued, approving the same extent of surface waters and wetlands in the previous formal determination, as long as physical conditions on the property have not changed, other than changes which have been authorized by a permit pursuant to this part, so as to alter the boundaries of surface waters or wetlands and the methodology for determining the extent of surface waters and wetlands authorized by subsection (1) has not been amended since the previous formal determination. The application fee for such a subsequent petition shall be less than the application fee for the original determination.

(3) A formal determination is binding for a period not to exceed 5 years as long as physical conditions on the property do not change, other than changes which have been authorized by a permit pursuant to this part, so as to alter the boundaries of surface waters or wetlands, as delineated in subsection (1).

(4) The governing board or the department may revoke a formal determination if it finds that the petitioner has submitted inaccurate information to the district.

(5) A formal determination obtained under this section is final agency action and is in lieu of a declaratory statement of jurisdiction obtainable under s. 120.565. Sections 120.569 and 120.57 apply to formal determinations under this section.

(6) The district or the department may also issue nonbinding informal determinations or otherwise institute determinations on its own initiative as provided by law. A nonbinding informal determination of the extent of surface waters and wetlands issued by the South Florida Water Management District or the Southwest Florida Water Management District, between July 1, 1989, and the effective date of the methodology ratified in s. 373.4211, shall be validated by the district if a petition to validate the nonbinding informal determination is filed with the district on or before October 1, 1994, provided:

(a) The petitioner submits the documentation prepared by the agency, and signed by an agency employee in the course of the employee’s official duties, at the time the nonbinding informal determination was issued, showing the boundary of the surface waters or wetlands;

(b) The request is accompanied by the appropriate fee in accordance with the fee schedule established by district rule;

(c) Any supplemental information, such as aerial photographs and soils maps, is provided as necessary to ensure an accurate determination;

(d) District staff verify the delineated surface water or wetland boundary through site inspection; and

(e) Following district verification, and adjustment if necessary, of the boundary of surface waters or wetlands, the petitioner submits a survey certified pursuant to chapter 472, which depicts the surface water or wetland boundaries. The certified survey shall contain a legal description of, and the acreage contained within, the boundaries of the property for which the determination is sought. The boundaries must be witnessed to the property boundaries and must be capable of being mathematically reproduced from the survey.

Validated informal nonbinding determinations issued by the South Florida Water Management District and the Southwest Florida Water Management District shall remain valid for a period of 5 years from the date of validation by the district, as long as physical conditions on the property do not change so as to alter the boundaries of surface waters or wetlands. A validation obtained under this section is final agency action. Sections 120.569 and 120.57 apply to validations under this section.

(7)(a) This subsection is intended to restore qualified developments to their pre-Henderson Wetland Protection Act status for contiguous wetlands. This provision will therefore streamline state wetland permitting without loss of wetland protection by other governmental entities.

(b) Wetlands contiguous to surface waters of the state as defined in s. 403.031(13), Florida Statutes (1991), shall be delineated pursuant to the department’s rules as such rules existed prior to January 24, 1984, while wetlands not contiguous to surface waters of the state as defined in s. 403.031(13), Florida Statutes (1991), shall be delineated pursuant to the applicable methodology ratified by s. 373.4211 for any development which obtains an individual permit from the United States Army Corps of Engineers under 33 U.S.C. s. 1344:

1. Where a jurisdictional determination validated by the department pursuant to rule 17-301.400(8), Florida Administrative Code, as it existed in rule 17-4.022, Florida Administrative Code, on April 1, 1985, is revalidated pursuant to s. 373.414(13) and the affected lands are part of a project for which a vested rights determination has been issued pursuant to s. 380.06, or

2. Where the lands affected were grandfathered pursuant to 1s. 403.913(6), Florida Statutes (1991), and proof of prior notification pursuant to 1s. 403.913(6), Florida Statutes (1991), is submitted to the department within 180 days of the publication of a notice by the department of the existence of this provision. Failure to timely submit the proof of prior notification to the department serves as a waiver of the benefits conferred by this subsection.

3. This subsection shall not be applicable to lands:

a. Within the geographical area to which an individual or general permit issued prior to June 1, 1994, under rules adopted pursuant to this part applies; or

b. Within the geographical area to which a conceptual permit issued prior to June 1, 1994, under rules adopted pursuant to this part applies if wetland delineations were identified and approved by the conceptual permit as set forth in s. 373.414(12)(b)1. or 2.; or

c. Where no development activity as defined in 2s. 380.01(1) or (2)(a)-(d) and (f) has occurred within the project boundaries since October 1, 1986; or

d. Of a project which is not in compliance with this part or the rules adopted pursuant to 3ss. 403.91-403.929, 1984 Supplement to the Florida Statutes 1983, as amended.

4. The wetland delineation methodology required in this subsection shall only apply within the geographical area of an individual permit issued by the United States Army Corps of Engineers under 33 U.S.C. s. 1344. The requirement to obtain such individual permit to secure the benefit of this subsection shall not apply to any activities exempt or not subject to regulation under 33 U.S.C. s. 1344.

5. Notwithstanding subsection (1), the wetland delineation methodology required in this subsection and any wetland delineation pursuant thereto, shall only apply to agency action under this part and shall not be binding on local governments except in their implementation of this part.

History.–s. 7, ch. 91-288; s. 31, ch. 93-213; ss. 6, 18, ch. 94-122; s. 100, ch. 96-410; s. 10, ch. 98-88; s. 170, ch. 99-13.

1Note.–Repealed by s. 46, ch. 93-213.

2Note.–Section 380.01 was transferred to s. 381.492 by the reviser in 1969; it was further redesignated as s. 381.0605 by s. 52, ch. 91-297.

3Note.–Sections 403.91-403.925 and 403.929 were repealed by s. 45, ch. 93-213, and s. 403.913, as amended by s. 46, ch. 93-213, was transferred to s. 403.939 and subsequently repealed by s. 18, ch. 95-145. The only section remaining within the cited range is s. 403.927.

373.4211 Ratification of chapter 17-340, Florida Administrative Code, on the delineation of the landward extent of wetlands and surface waters.–Pursuant to s. 373.421, the Legislature ratifies chapter 17-340, Florida Administrative Code, approved on January 13, 1994, by the Environmental Regulation Commission, with the following changes:

(1) The last sentence of rule 17-340.100(1), Florida Administrative Code, is changed to read: “The methodology shall not be used to delineate areas which are not wetlands as defined in subsection 17-340.200(19), F.A.C., nor to delineate as wetlands or surface waters areas exempted from delineation by statute or agency rule.”

(2) The introductory paragraph of rule 17-340.300, Florida Administrative Code, is changed to read: “The landward extent (i.e., the boundary) of wetlands as defined in subsection 17-340.200(19), F.A.C., shall be determined by applying reasonable scientific judgment to evaluate the dominance of plant species, soils, and other hydrologic evidence of regular and periodic inundation and saturation as set forth below. In applying reasonable scientific judgment, all reliable information shall be evaluated in determining whether the area is a wetland as defined in subsection 17-340.200(19), F.A.C.”

(3) The introductory paragraph of rule 17-340.300(2), Florida Administrative Code, is changed to read: “The landward extent of a wetland as defined in subsection 17-340.200(19), F.A.C., shall include any of the following areas:”

(4) Rule 17-340.300(2)(a), Florida Administrative Code, is changed to read:

“(a) Those areas where the areal extent of obligate plants in the appropriate vegetative stratum is greater than the areal extent of all upland plants in that stratum, as identified using the method in section 17-340.400, F.A.C., and either:

“1. The substrate is composed of hydric soils or riverwash, as identified using standard U.S.D.A.-S.C.S. practices for Florida including the approved hydric soil indicators, except where the hydric soil is disturbed by a nonhydrologic mechanical mixing of the upper soil profile and the regulating agency establishes through data or evidence that hydric soil indicators would be present but for the disturbance;

“2. The substrate is nonsoil, rock outcrop-soil complex, or is located within an artificially created wetland area, or

“3. One or more of the hydrologic indicators listed in section 17-340.500, F.A.C., are present and reasonable scientific judgment indicates that inundation or saturation is present sufficient to meet the wetland definition of subsection 17-340.200(19), F.A.C.”

(5) Rule 17-340.300(2)(b), Florida Administrative Code, is changed to read:

“(b) Those areas where the areal extent of obligate or facultative wet plants, or combinations thereof, in the appropriate stratum is equal to or greater than 80 percent of all the plants in that stratum, excluding facultative plants, and either:

“1. The substrate is comprised of hydric soils or riverwash, as identified using standard U.S.D.A.-S.C.S. practices for Florida, including the approved hydric soil indicators, except where the hydric soil is disturbed by a nonhydrologic mechanical mixing of the upper soil profile and the regulating agency establishes through data or evidence that hydric soil indicators would be present but for the disturbance;

“2. The substrate is nonsoil, rock outcrop-soil complex, or is located within an artificially created wetland area; or

“3. One or more of the hydrologic indicators listed in section 17-340.500, F.A.C., are present and reasonable scientific judgment indicates that inundation or saturation is present sufficient to meet the wetland definition of subsection 17-340.200(19), F.A.C.”

(6) Rule 17-340.300(2)(c), Florida Administrative Code, is deleted.

(7) Rule 17-340.300(2)(d), Florida Administrative Code, is changed to read:

“(c) Those areas, other than pine flatwoods and improved pastures, with undrained hydric soils which meet, in situ, at least one of the criteria listed below. A hydric soil is considered undrained unless reasonable scientific judgment indicates permanent artificial alterations to the onsite hydrology have resulted in conditions which would not support the formation of hydric soils.

“1. Soil classified according to United States Department of Agriculture’s Keys to Soil Taxonomy (4th ed. 1990) as Umbraqualfs, Sulfaquents, Hydraquents, Humaquepts, Histosols (except Folists), Argiaquolls, or Umbraquults.

“2. Saline sands (salt flats-tidal flats).

“3. Soil within a hydric mapping unit designated by the U.S.D.A.-S.C.S. as frequently flooded or depressional, when the hydric nature of the soil has been field verified using the U.S.D.A.-S.C.S. approved hydric soil indicators for Florida. If a permit applicant, or a person petitioning for a formal determination pursuant to subsection 373.421(2), F.S., disputes the boundary of a frequently flooded or depressional mapping unit, the applicant or petitioner may request that the regulating agency, in cooperation with the U.S.D.A.-S.C.S., confirm the boundary. For the purposes of section 120.60, F.S., a request for a boundary confirmation pursuant to this subparagraph shall have the same effect as a timely request for additional information by the regulating agency. The regulating agency’s receipt of the final response provided by the U.S.D.A.-S.C.S. to the request for boundary confirmation shall have the same effect as a receipt of timely requested additional information.

“4. For the purposes of this paragraph only, ‘pine flatwoods’ means a plant community type in Florida occurring on flat terrain with soils which may experience a seasonable high water table near the surface. The canopy species consist of a monotypic or mixed forest of long leaf pine or slash pine. The subcanopy is typically sparse or absent. The ground cover is dominated by saw palmetto with areas of wire grass, gallberry, and other shrubs, grasses, and forbs, which are not obligate or facultative wet species. Pine flatwoods do not include those wetland communities as listed in the wetland definition contained in subsection 17-340.200(19) which may occur in the broader landscape setting of pine flatwoods and which may contain slash pine. Also for the purposes of this paragraph only, ‘improved pasture’ means areas where the dominant native plant community has been replaced with planted or natural recruitment of herbaceous species which are not obligate or facultative wet species and which have been actively maintained for livestock through mechanical means or grazing.”

(8) Rule 17-340.300(2)(e), Florida Administrative Code, is changed to read:

“(d) Those areas where one or more of the hydrologic indicators listed in section 17-340.500, F.A.C., are present, and which have hydric soils, as identified using the U.S.D.A.-S.C.S. approved hydric soil indicators for Florida, and reasonable scientific judgment indicates that inundation or saturation is present sufficient to meet the wetland definition of subsection 17-340.200(19), F.A.C. These areas shall not extend beyond the seasonal high water elevation.”

(9) Rule 17-340.300(2)(f), Florida Administrative Code, is deleted.

(10) Rule 17-340.300(3), Florida Administrative Code, is added to read:

“(3)(a) If the vegetation or soils of an upland or wetland area have been altered by natural or human-induced factors such that the boundary between wetlands and uplands cannot be delineated reliably by use of the methodology in subsection 17-340.300(2), F.A.C., as determined by the regulating agency, and the area has hydric soils or riverwash, as identified using standard U.S.D.A.-S.C.S. practices for Florida, including the approved hydric soil indicators, except where the hydric soil is disturbed by a nonhydrologic mechanical mixing of the upper soil profile and the regulating agency establishes through data or evidence that hydric soil indicators would be present but for the disturbance, then the most reliable available information shall be used with reasonable scientific judgment to determine where the methodology in subsection 17-340.300(2), F.A.C., would have delineated the boundary between wetlands and uplands. Reliable available information may include, but is not limited to, aerial photographs, remaining vegetation, authoritative site-specific documents, or topographical consistencies.

“(b) This subsection shall not apply to any area where regional or site-specific permitted activities, or activities which did not require a permit, under 1sections 253.123 and 253.124, F.S. (1957), as subsequently amended, the provisions of Chapter 403, F.S. (1983), relating to dredging and filling activities, Chapter 84-79, Laws of Florida, and Part IV of Chapter 373, F.S., have altered the hydrology of the area to the extent that reasonable scientific judgment, or application of the provisions of section 17-340.550, F.A.C., indicate that under normal circumstances the area no longer inundates or saturates at a frequency and duration sufficient to meet the wetland definition in subsection 17-340.200(19), F.A.C.

“(c) This subsection shall not be construed to limit the type of evidence which may be used to delineate the landward extent of a wetland under this chapter when an activity violating the regulatory requirements of 1sections 253.123 and 253.124, F.S. (1957), as subsequently amended, the provisions of Chapter 403, F.S. (1983), relating to dredging and filling activities, Chapter 84-79, Laws of Florida, and Part IV of Chapter 373, F.S., has disturbed the vegetation or soils of an area.”

(11) Rule 17-340.300(4), Florida Administrative Code, is created to read:

“17-340.300(4) The regulating agency shall maintain sufficient soil scientists on staff to provide evaluation or consultation regarding soil determinations in applying the methodologies set forth in subsections 17-340.300(2) or (3), F.A.C. Services provided by the U.S.D.A.-S.C.S., or other competent soil scientists, under contract or agreement with the regulating agency, may be used in lieu of, or to augment, agency staff.”

(12) Rule 17-340.400, Florida Administrative Code, is changed to read:

“17-340.400 Selection of Appropriate Vegetative Stratum.

“Dominance of plant species, as described in paragraphs 17-340.300(2)(a) and 17-340.300(2)(b), shall be determined in a plant stratum (canopy, subcanopy, or ground cover). The top stratum shall be used to determine dominance unless the top stratum, exclusive of facultative plants, constitutes less than 10 percent areal extent, or unless reasonable scientific judgment establishes that the indicator status of the top stratum is not indicative of the hydrologic conditions on site. In such cases, the stratum most indicative of onsite hydrologic conditions, considering the seasonable variability in the amount and distribution of rainfall, shall be used. The evidence concerning the presence or absence of regular and periodic inundation or saturation shall be based on in situ data. All facts and factors relating to the presence or absence of regular and periodic inundation or saturation shall be weighed in deciding whether the evidence supports shifting to a lower stratum. The presence of obligate, facultative wet, or upland plants in a lower stratum does not by itself constitute sufficient evidence to shift strata, but can be considered along with other physical data in establishing the weight of evidence necessary to shift to a lower stratum. The burden of proof shall be with the party asserting that a stratum other than the top stratum should be used to determine dominance. Facultative plants shall not be considered for purposes of determining appropriate strata or dominance.”

(13) Rule 17-340.450(1), Florida Administrative Code, is changed by deletion of the following plant species: Habenaria repens, Schoenus nigricans, and Ulmus americana.

(14) Rule 17-340.450(2), Florida Administrative Code, is changed by deletion of the following plant species: Bucida buceras, Bumelialycioides, Conoclinium coelestinum, Coreopsis tripteris, Erithralis fruticosa, Eryngium baldwini, Eustachys petracea, Helianthus floridanus, Muhlenbergia expansa, Myrsine quianensis, Peperomia floridana, Scutellaria floridana, Scutellaria integrifolia, Stillingia sylvatica var. tenuis, Tripsacum dactyloides, Verbesina virginica, and Wisteria frutescens, Aletris spp., Alopecurus carolinianus, Carphephorus odoratissimus, Carphephorus paniculata, Chasmanthium spp., Elytraria caroliniensis, Euthamia spp., Flaveria spp., Gratiola spp., Habenaria spp. except Habenaria repens (OBL), Hibiscus tiliaceus, Ilex opaca var. opaca, Lilium catesbaei, Metopium toxiferum, Morus rubra, Nephrolepis spp., Oplismenus setarius, Panicum tenue, Vaccinium elliotti, Fimbristylis spathacea, Guapira discolor, Jacquinia keyensis, Morinda royoc, Schizachyrium maritimum, Schizachyrium rhizomatum, Strumpfia maritima, Baccharis glomeruliflora, Lachnanthes caroliniana, Liatris spicata, Lyonia ligustrina, Michella repens, Sambucus conadensis, Sebastiana fruticosa, and Setaria geniculata.

(15) Rule 17-340.450(2) is changed by adding the following species: Chasmanthium spp. except Chasmanthium latifolum (FAC) and Chasmanthium sessiliflorum (FAC), Flaveria floridana, Flaveria linearis, Gratiola spp. except Gratiola hispida (FAC), and Habenaria spp., Schoenus nigricans, and Ulmus americana.

(16) Rule 17-340.450(2) is amended by adding, after the species list, the following language:

“Within Monroe County and the Key Largo portion of Dade County only, the following species shall be listed as Facultative Wet: Alternanthera maritima, Morinda royoc, and Strumpfia maritima.”

(17) Rule 17-340.450(3) is changed by deleting the following species: Bischofia javanica, Dioclea multiflora, Canella alba, Ernodea littoralis, Eugenia axillaris, Eugenia foeteda, Eugenia rhombea, Eugenia uniflora, Manilkara bahamensis, Musa spp., Pisonia rotundata, Psidium guajava, Randia aculeata, and Reynois septentrionalis, Terminalia catappa, Paspalum bifidum, Ligustrum spp., and Urena lobata.

(18) Rule 17-340.450(3) is changed by adding the following species: Bucida buceras, Bumelia lycioides, Conoclinium coelestinum, Coreopsis tripteris, Erithralis fruticosa, Eryngium baldwini, Eustachys petracea, Helianthus floridanus, Muhlenbergia expansa, Myrsine quianensis, Scutellaria floridana, Scutellaria integrifolia, Stillingia sylvatica var. tenuis, Tripsacum dactyloides, and Verbesina virginica, Aletris spp., Alopecurus carolinianus, Carphephorus odoratissimus, Carphephorus paniculata, Chasmanthium latifolum, Chasmanthium sessiliflorum, Elytraria caroliniensis, Euthamia spp., Fimbristylis spathacea, Flaveria bidentis, Flaveria trinervia, Gratiola hispida, Heliotropium polyphyllum, Hibiscus tiliaceus, Ilex opaca var. opaca, Jacquinia keyensis, Lilium catesbaei, Metopium toxiferum, Morus rubra, Nephrolepis spp., Oplismenus setarius, Panicum tenue, Schizachyrium spp., Vaccinium elliotti, Baccharis glomeruliflora, Lachnanthes caroliniana, Liatrius spicata, Lyonia ligostrina, Sambucus canadensis, Sebastiana fruticosa, and Setaria geniculata.

(19) Rule 17-340.450(3) is amended by adding, after the species list, the following language:

“Within Monroe County and the Key Largo portion of Dade County only, the following species shall be listed as facultative: Alternanthera paronychioides, Byrsonima lucida, Ernodea littoralis, Guapira discolor, Marnilkara bahamensis, Pisonis rotundata, Pithecellobium keyensis, Pithecellobium unquis-cati, Randia aculeata, Reynosia septentrionalis, and Thrinax radiata.”

(20) Rule 17-340.500, Florida Administrative Code, is changed to read: “The indicators below may be used as evidence of inundation or saturation when used as provided in section 17-340.300, F.A.C. Several of the indicators reflect a specific water elevation. These specific water elevation indicators are intended to be evaluated with meteorological information, surrounding topography, and reliable hydrologic data or analyses when provided, to ensure that such indicators reflect inundation or saturation of a frequency and duration sufficient to meet the wetland definition in subsection 17-340.200(19), F.A.C., and not rare or aberrant events. These specific water elevation indicators are not intended to be extended from the site of the indicator into surrounding areas when reasonable scientific judgment indicates that the surrounding areas are not wetlands as defined in subsection 17-340.200(19), F.A.C.

“(1) Algal mats. The presence or remains of nonvascular plant material which develops during periods of inundation and persists after the surface water has receded.

“(2) Aquatic mosses or liverworts on trees or substrates. The presence of those species of mosses or liverworts tolerant of or dependent on surface water inundation.

“(3) Aquatic plants. Defined in subsection 17-340.200(1), F.A.C.

“(4) Aufwuchs. The presence or remains of the assemblage of sessile, attached, or free-living, nonvascular plants and invertebrate animals (including protozoans) which develop a community on inundated surfaces.

“(5) Drift lines and rafted debris. Vegetation, litter, and other natural or manmade material deposited in discrete lines or locations on the ground or against fixed objects, or entangled above the ground within or on fixed objects in a form and manner which indicates that the material was waterborne. This indicator should be used with caution to ensure that the drift lines or rafted debris represent usual and recurring events typical of inundation or saturation at a frequency and duration sufficient to meet the wetland definition of subsection 17-340.200(19), F.A.C.

“(6) Elevated lichen lines. A distinct line, typically on trees, formed by the water-induced limitation on the growth of lichens.

“(7) Evidence of aquatic fauna. The presence or indications of the presence of animals which spend all or portions of their life cycle in water. Only those life stages which depend on being in or on water for daily survival are included in this indicator.

“(8) Hydrologic data. Reports, measurements, or direct observation of inundation or saturation which support the presence of water to an extent consistent with the provisions of the definition of wetlands and the criteria within this rule, including evidence of a seasonal high water table at or above the surface according to methodologies set forth in Soil and Water Relationships of Florida’s Ecological Communities (Florida Soil Conservation Staff 1992).

“(9) Morphological plant adaptations. Specialized structures or tissues produced by certain plants in response to inundation or saturation, which normally are not observed when the plant has not been subject to conditions of inundation or saturation.

“(10) Secondary flow channels. Discrete and obvious natural pathways of water flow landward of the primary bank of a stream watercourse and typically parallel to the main channel.

“(11) Sediment deposition. Mineral or organic matter deposited in or shifted to positions indicating water transport.

“(12) Vegetated tussocks or hummocks. Areas where vegetation is elevated above the natural grade on a mound built up of plant debris, roots, and soils so that the growing vegetation is not subject to the prolonged effects of soil anoxia.

“(13) Water marks. A distinct line created on fixed objects, including vegetation, by a sustained water elevation.”

(21) Rule 17-340.600(2)(e), Florida Administrative Code, is changed to read:

“(e) the seasonal high-water line for artificial lakes, borrow pits, canals, ditches, and other artificial water bodies with side slopes flatter than 1 foot vertical to 4 feet horizontal along with any artificial water body created by diking or impoundment above the ground.”

(22) The first sentence of subsection (1) and paragraphs (1)(a) and (b) of rule 17-340.700, Florida Administrative Code, are changed to read:

“(1) Alteration and maintenance of the following shall be exempt from the rules adopted by the department and the water management districts to implement subsections 373.414(1) through 373.414(6), 373.414(8), and 373.414(10), F.S.; and subsection 373.414(7), F.S., regarding any authority to apply state water quality standards within any works, impoundments, reservoirs, and other watercourses described in this subsection and any authority granted pursuant to section 373.414, F.S. (1991):

“(a) Works, impoundments, reservoirs, and other watercourses constructed and operated solely for wastewater treatment or disposal in accordance with a valid permit reviewed or issued under sections 17-28.700, 17-302.520, F.A.C., Chapters 17-17, 17-600, 17-610, 17-640, 17-650, 17-660, 17-670, 17-671, 17-673, 17-701, F.A.C., or section 403.0885, F.S., or rules implementing section 403.0885, F.S., except for treatment wetlands or receiving wetlands permitted to receive wastewater pursuant to Chapter 17-611, F.A.C., or section 403.0885, F.S., or its implementing rules;

“(b) Works, impoundments, reservoirs, and other watercourses constructed solely for wastewater treatment or disposal before a construction permit was required under Chapter 403, F.S., and operated solely for wastewater treatment or disposal in accordance with a valid permit reviewed or issued under sections 17-28.700, 17-302.520, F.A.C., Chapters 17-17, 17-600, 17-610, 17-640, 17-650, 17-660, 17-670, 17-671, 17-673, 17-701, F.A.C., or section 403.0885, F.S., or rules implementing section 403.0885, F.S., except for treatment wetlands or receiving wetlands permitted to receive wastewater pursuant to Chapter 17-611, F.A.C., or section 403.0885, F.S., or its implementing rules;”

(23) The first sentence of rule 17-340.700(2), Florida Administrative Code, is changed to read:

“(2) Alteration and maintenance of the following shall be exempt from the rules adopted by the department and the water management districts to implement subsections 373.414(1), 373.414(2)(a), 373.414(8), and 373.414(10), F.S.; and subsections 373.414(3) through 373.414(6), F.S.; and subsection 373.414(7), F.S., regarding any authority to apply state water quality standards within any works, impoundments, reservoirs, and other watercourses described in this subsection and any authority granted pursuant to section 373.414, F.S. (1991), except for authority to protect threatened and endangered species in isolated wetlands:”

(24) Rule 17-340.700(7), Florida Administrative Code, is changed to read:

“(7) As used in this subsection, ‘solely for’ means the reason for which a work, impoundment, reservoir, or other watercourse is constructed and operated; and such construction and operation would not have occurred but for the purposes identified in subsection 17-340.700(1) or subsection 17-340.700(2), F.A.C. Furthermore, the phrase does not refer to a work, impoundment, reservoir, or other watercourse constructed or operated for multiple purposes. Incidental uses, such as occasional recreational uses, will not render the exemption inapplicable, so long as the incidental uses are not part of the original planned purpose of the work, impoundment, reservoir, or other watercourse. However, for those works, impoundments, reservoirs, or other watercourses described in paragraphs 17-340.700(1)(c) and 17-340.700(2)(a), F.A.C., use of the system for flood attenuation, whether originally planned or unplanned, shall be considered an incidental use, so long as the works, impoundments, reservoirs, and other watercourses are no more than 2 acres larger than the minimum area required to comply with the stormwater treatment requirements of the district or department. For the purposes of this subsection, reuse from a work, impoundment, reservoir, or other watercourse is part of treatment or disposal.”

(25) The first sentence of rule 17-340.750, Florida Administrative Code, is changed to read:

“17-340.750 Exemption for Surface Waters or Wetlands Created by Mosquito Control Activities.

“Construction, alteration, operation, maintenance, removal, and abandonment of stormwater management systems, dams, impoundments, reservoirs, appurtenant works, or works, in, on, or over lands that have become surface waters or wetlands solely because of mosquito control activities undertaken as part of a governmental mosquito control program, and which lands were neither surface waters nor wetlands before such activities, shall be exempt from the rules adopted by the department and water management districts to implement subsections 373.414(1) through 373.414(6), 373.414(8), and 373.414(10), F.S.; and subsection 373.414(7), F.S., regarding any authority granted pursuant to section 373.414, F.S. (1991):”

(26) Any future amendments to rule 17-340, Florida Administrative Code, shall be submitted in bill form to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to the President of the Senate for their consideration and referral to the appropriate committees. Such rule amendments shall become effective only upon approval by act of the Legislature.

History.–s. 1, ch. 94-122; s. 101, ch. 96-410; s. 46, ch. 97-96.

1Note.–Repealed by s. 15, ch. 84-79.

373.422 Applications for activities on state sovereignty lands or other state lands.–If sovereignty lands or other lands owned by the state are the subject of a proposed activity, the issuance of a permit by the department or a water management district must be conditioned upon the receipt by the applicant of all necessary approvals and authorizations under chapters 253 and 258 before the undertaking of the activity. The department or the governing board must issue its permit conditioned upon the securing of the necessary consent or approvals by the applicant. Once the department has adopted rules under s. 373.427 for concurrent review of applications for permits under this part and proprietary authorizations under chapters 253 and 258 to use submerged lands, the permitting conditions required under this section cease to apply to those applications. If the approval or authorization of the board is required, the applicant may not commence any excavation, construction, or other activity until the approval or authorization has been issued.

History.–s. 32, ch. 93-213; s. 503, ch. 94-356.

373.423 Inspection.–

(1) During the construction or alteration of any stormwater management system, dam, impoundment, reservoir, appurtenant work, or works, the governing board or department pursuant to s. 403.091 shall make at its expense such periodic inspections as it deems necessary to ensure conformity with the approved plans and specifications included in the permit.

(2) If during construction or alteration the governing board or department finds that the work is not being done in accordance with the approved plans and specifications as indicated in the permit, it shall give the permittee written notice stating with which particulars of the approved plans and specifications the construction is not in compliance and shall order immediate compliance with such plans and specifications. The failure to act in accordance with the orders of the governing board or department after receipt of written notice shall result in the initiation of revocation proceedings in accordance with s. 373.429.

(3) Upon completion of the work, the executive director of the district or the Department of Environmental Protection or its successor agency shall have periodic inspections made of permitted stormwater management systems, dams, reservoirs, impoundments, appurtenant work, or works to protect the public health and safety and the natural resources of the state. No person shall refuse immediate entry or access to any authorized representative of the governing board or the department who requests entry for purposes of such inspection and presents appropriate credentials.

History.–s. 7, part IV, ch. 72-299; s. 21, ch. 73-190; s. 48, ch. 79-65; s. 13, ch. 84-341; s. 17, ch. 89-279; s. 269, ch. 94-356.

373.426 Abandonment.–

(1) Any owner of any stormwater management system, dam, impoundment, reservoir, appurtenant work, or works wishing to abandon or remove such work may first be required by the governing board or the department to obtain a permit to do so and may be required to meet such reasonable conditions as are necessary to assure that such abandonment will not be inconsistent with the overall objectives of the district.

(2) Where any permitted stormwater management system, dam, impoundment, reservoir, appurtenant work, or works is not owned nor directly controlled by the state or any of its agencies and is not used nor maintained under the authority of the owner for a period of 3 years, it shall be presumed that the owner has abandoned such stormwater management system, dam, impoundment, reservoir, appurtenant work, or works, and has dedicated the same to the district for the use of the people of the district.

(3) The title of the district to any such stormwater management system, dam, impoundment, reservoir, appurtenant work, or works may be established and determined in the court appointed by statute to determine the title to real estate.

History.–s. 8, part IV, ch. 72-299; s. 22, ch. 73-190; s. 18, ch. 89-279.

373.427 Concurrent permit review.–

(1) The department, in consultation with the water management districts, may adopt procedural rules requiring concurrent application submittal and establishing a concurrent review procedure for any activity regulated under this part that also requires any authorization, permit, waiver, variance, or approval described in paragraphs (a)-(d). The rules must address concurrent review of applications under this part and any one or more of the authorizations, permits, waivers, variances, and approvals described in paragraphs (a)-(d). Applicants that propose such activities must submit, as part of the permit application under this part, all information necessary to satisfy the requirements for:

(a) Proprietary authorization under chapter 253 or chapter 258 to use submerged lands owned by the board of trustees;

(b) Coastal construction permits under s. 161.041;

(c) Coastal construction control line permits under s. 161.053; and

(d) Waiver or variance of the setback requirements under s. 161.052.

The rules adopted under this section may also require submittal of such information as is necessary to determine whether the proposed activity will occur on submerged lands owned by the board of trustees. Notwithstanding s. 120.60, an application under this part is not complete and the timeframes for license approval or denial shall not commence until all information required by rules adopted under this section is received. For applications concurrently reviewed under this section, the agency that conducts the concurrent application review shall issue a notice of consolidated intent to grant or deny the applicable authorizations, permits, waivers, variances, and approvals. The issuance of the notice of consolidated intent to grant or deny is deemed in compliance with s. 120.60 timeframes for license approval or denial on the concurrently processed applications for any required permit, waiver, variance, or approval under this chapter or chapter 161. Failure to satisfy these timeframes shall not result in approval by default of the application to use board of trustees-owned submerged lands. If an administrative proceeding pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57 is timely requested, the case shall be conducted as a single consolidated administrative proceeding on all such concurrently processed applications. Once the rules adopted pursuant to this section become effective, they shall establish the concurrent review procedure for applications submitted to both the department and the water management districts, including those applications for categories of activities requiring authorization to use board of trustees-owned submerged lands for which the board of trustees has not delegated authority to take final agency action without action by the board of trustees.

(2) In addition to the provisions set forth in subsection (1) and notwithstanding s. 120.60, the procedures established in this subsection shall apply to concurrently reviewed applications which request proprietary authorization to use board of trustees-owned submerged lands for activities for which there has been no delegation of authority to take final agency action without action by the board of trustees.

(a) Unless waived by the applicant, within 90 days of receipt of a complete application, the department or water management district shall issue a recommended consolidated intent to grant or deny on all of the concurrently reviewed applications, and shall submit the recommended consolidated intent to the board of trustees for its consideration of the application to use board of trustees-owned submerged lands. The recommended consolidated intent shall not constitute a point of entry to request a hearing pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57. Unless waived by the applicant, the board of trustees shall consider the board of trustees-owned submerged lands portion of the recommended consolidated intent at its next regularly scheduled meeting for which notice may be properly given, and the board of trustees shall determine whether the application to use board of trustees-owned submerged lands should be granted, granted with modifications, or denied. The board of trustees shall then direct the department or water management district to issue a notice of intent to grant or deny the application to use board of trustees-owned submerged lands. Unless waived by the applicant, within 14 days following the action by the board of trustees, the department or water management district shall issue a notice of consolidated intent to grant or deny on the application to use board of trustees-owned submerged lands, in accordance with the directions of the board of trustees, together with all of the concurrently reviewed applications.

(b) The timely issuance of a recommended consolidated intent to grant or deny as set forth in paragraph (a) is deemed in compliance with s. 120.60 timeframes for license approval or denial on the concurrently processed applications for any required permit, waiver, variance, or approval under this chapter or chapter 161. Failure to satisfy these timeframes shall not result in approval by default of the application to use board of trustees-owned submerged lands.

(c) Any petition for an administrative hearing pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57 must be filed within 14 days of the notice of consolidated intent to grant or deny. Unless waived by the applicant, within 60 days after the recommended order is submitted, or at the next regularly scheduled meeting for which notice may be properly given, whichever is latest, the board of trustees shall determine what action to take on any recommended order issued under ss. 120.569 and 120.57 on the application to use board of trustees-owned submerged lands, and shall direct the department or water management district on what action to take in the final order concerning the application to use board of trustees-owned submerged lands. The department or water management district shall determine what action to take on any recommended order issued under ss. 120.569 and 120.57 regarding any concurrently processed permits, waivers, variances, or approvals required by this chapter or chapter 161. The department or water management district shall then take final agency action by entering a consolidated final order addressing each of the concurrently reviewed authorizations, permits, waivers, or approvals. Failure to satisfy these timeframes shall not result in approval by default of the application to use board of trustees-owned submerged lands. Any provisions relating to authorization to use board of trustees-owned submerged lands shall be as directed by the board of trustees. Issuance of the consolidated final order within 45 days after receipt of the direction of the board of trustees regarding the application to use board of trustees-owned submerged lands is deemed in compliance with the timeframes for issuance of final orders under s. 120.60. The final order shall be subject to the provisions of s. 373.4275.

(3) After the effective date of rules adopted under this section, neither the department nor a water management district may issue a permit under this part unless the requirements for issuance of any additional required authorizations, permits, waivers, variances, and approvals set forth in this section which are subject to concurrent review are also satisfied.

(4) When both an environmental resource permit or dredge and fill permit and a waiver, or variance set forth in paragraphs (1)(b)-(d) are granted in a consolidated order, these permits shall be consolidated into a single permit to be known as a joint coastal permit.

(5) Any application fee required under s. 373.109 for a permit under this part is in addition to any fees required for any of the concurrently reviewed applications for authorizations, permits, waivers, variances, or approvals set forth in subsection (1) or subsection (2). The application fees must be allocated, deposited, and used as provided in s. 373.109.

(6) Whenever a concurrently processed application includes an application to use board of trustees-owned submerged lands, any noticing requirements of s. 253.115 shall be met, in addition to those in s. 373.413.

(7) When a water management district acts pursuant to a delegation under s. 253.002, any person instituting an administrative or judicial proceeding regarding such action shall serve a copy of the petition or complaint on the board of trustees. The department or the Department of Legal Affairs, acting on behalf of the board of trustees, may intervene in any such proceeding.

History.–s. 501, ch. 94-356; s. 102, ch. 96-410.

373.4275 Review of consolidated orders.–

(1) Beginning on the effective date of the rules adopted under s. 373.427(1), review of any consolidated order rendered pursuant to s. 373.427(1) shall be governed by the provisions of s. 373.114(1). However, the term “party” shall mean any person who participated as a party in a proceeding under ss. 120.569 and 120.57 on the concurrently reviewed authorizations, permits, waivers, variances, or approvals, or any affected person who submitted to the department, water management district, or board of trustees oral or written testimony, sworn or unsworn, of a substantive nature which stated with particularity objections to or support for the authorization, permit, waiver, variance, or approval, provided that such testimony was cognizable within the scope of this chapter or the applicable provisions of chapter 161, chapter 253, or chapter 258 when the consolidated notice of intent includes an authorization, permit, waiver, variance, or approval under those chapters. In such cases, the standard of review shall also ensure consistency with the applicable provisions and purposes of chapter 161, chapter 253, or chapter 258 when the consolidated order includes an authorization, permit, waiver, variance, or approval under those chapters. If the consolidated order subject to review includes approval or denial of proprietary authorization to use submerged lands on which the board of trustees has previously acted, as described in s. 373.427(2), the scope of review under this section shall not encompass such proprietary decision, but the standard of review shall also ensure consistency with the applicable provisions and purposes of chapter 161 when the consolidated order includes a permit, waiver, or approval under that chapter.

(a) The final order issued under this section shall contain separate findings of fact and conclusions of law, and a ruling that individually addresses each authorization, permit, waiver, variance, and approval that was the subject of the review.

(b) If a consolidated order includes proprietary authorization under chapter 253 or chapter 258 to use submerged lands owned by the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund for an activity for which the authority has been delegated to take final agency action without action of the board of trustees, the following additional provisions and exceptions to s. 373.114(1) apply:

1. The Governor and Cabinet shall sit concurrently as the Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission and the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund in exercising the exclusive authority to review the order;

2. The review may also be initiated by the Governor or any member of the Cabinet within 20 days after the rendering of the order in which case the other provisions of s. 373.114(1)(a) regarding acceptance of a request for review do not apply; and

3. If the Governor and Cabinet find that an authorization to use submerged lands is not consistent with chapter 253 or chapter 258, any authorization, permit, waiver, or approval authorized or granted by the consolidated order must be rescinded or modified or the proceeding must be remanded for further action consistent with the order issued under this section.

(2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (3), appellate review of that part of a consolidated order granting or denying authorization to use board of trustees-owned submerged lands on which the board of trustees has previously acted, as described in s. 373.427(2), shall be only pursuant to s. 120.68.

(3) As with an appeal under s. 373.114, the proper initiation of discretionary review under this section tolls the time for seeking judicial review under s. 120.68.

History.–s. 502, ch. 94-356; s. 103, ch. 96-410.

373.428 Federal consistency.–When an activity regulated under this part is subject to federal consistency review under s. 380.23, the final agency action on a permit application submitted under this part shall constitute the state’s determination as to whether the activity is consistent with the federally approved Florida Coastal Management Program. Agencies with authority to review and comment on such activity pursuant to the Florida Coastal Management Program shall review such activity for consistency with only those statutes and rules incorporated into the Florida Coastal Management Program and implemented by that agency. An agency which submits a determination of inconsistency to the permitting agency shall be an indispensable party to any administrative or judicial proceeding in which such determination is an issue; shall be responsible for defending its determination in such proceedings; and shall be liable for any damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees should any be awarded in an appropriate action as a consequence of such determination.

History.–s. 6, ch. 96-370.

373.429 Revocation and modification of permits.–The governing board or the department may revoke or modify a permit at any time if it determines that a stormwater management system, dam, impoundment, reservoir, appurtenant work, or works has become a danger to the public health or safety or if its operation has become inconsistent with the objectives of the district. The affected party may file a written petition for hearing no later than 14 days after notice of revocation or modification is served. If the executive director of the district or the division determines that the danger to the public is imminent, he or she may order a temporary suspension of the construction, alteration, or operation of the works until the hearing is concluded, or may take such action as authorized under s. 373.439.

History.–s. 9, part IV, ch. 72-299; s. 14, ch. 78-95; s. 19, ch. 89-279; s. 607, ch. 95-148.

373.430 Prohibitions, violation, penalty, intent.–

(1) It shall be a violation of this part, and it shall be prohibited for any person:

(a) To cause pollution, as defined in s. 403.031(7), except as otherwise provided in this part, so as to harm or injure human health or welfare, animal, plant, or aquatic life or property.

(b) To fail to obtain any permit required by this part or by rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, or to violate or fail to comply with any rule, regulation, order, or permit adopted or issued by a water management district, the department, or local government pursuant to their lawful authority under this part.

(c) To knowingly make any false statement, representation, or certification in any application, record, report, plan, or other document filed or required to be maintained under this part, or to falsify, tamper with, or knowingly render inaccurate any monitoring device or method required to be maintained under this part or by any permit, rule, regulation, or order issued under this part.

(2) Whoever commits a violation specified in subsection (1) is liable for any damage caused and for civil penalties as provided in s. 373.129.

(3) Any person who willfully commits a violation specified in paragraph (1)(a) is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in ss. 775.082(3)(d) and 775.083(1)(g), by a fine of not more than $50,000 or by imprisonment for 5 years, or by both, for each offense. Each day during any portion of which such violation occurs constitutes a separate offense.

(4) Any person who commits a violation specified in paragraph (1)(a) due to reckless indifference or gross careless disregard is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in ss. 775.082(4)(b) and 775.083(1)(g), by a fine of not more than $5,000 or 60 days in jail, or by both, for each offense.

(5) Any person who willfully commits a violation specified in paragraph (1)(b) or paragraph (1)(c) is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in ss. 775.082(4)(a) and 775.083(1)(g), by a fine of not more than $10,000 or by 6 months in jail, or by both, for each offense.

(6) It is the intent of the Legislature that the civil penalties imposed by the court be of such amount as to ensure immediate and continued compliance with this section.

(7) All moneys recovered under the provisions of this section shall be allocated to the use of the water management district, the department, or the local government, whichever undertook and maintained the enforcement action. All monetary penalties and damages recovered by the department or the state under the provisions of this section shall be deposited in the Ecosystem Management and Restoration Trust Fund. All monetary penalties and damages recovered pursuant to this section by a water management district shall be deposited in the Water Management Lands Trust Fund established under s. 373.59 and used exclusively within the territory of the water management district which deposits the money into the fund. Any such monetary penalties and damages recovered after the expiration of such fund shall be deposited in the Ecosystem Management and Restoration Trust Fund and used exclusively within the territory of the water management district which deposits the money into the fund. All monetary penalties and damages recovered pursuant to this subsection by a local government to which authority has been delegated pursuant to s. 373.103(8) shall be used to enhance surface water improvement or pollution control activities.

History.–s. 33, ch. 93-213; s. 40, ch. 96-321.

373.433 Abatement.–Any stormwater management system, dam, impoundment, reservoir, appurtenant work, or works which violates the laws of this state or which violates the standards of the governing board or the department shall be declared a public nuisance. The operation of such stormwater management system, dam, impoundment, reservoir, appurtenant work, or works may be enjoined by suit by the state or any of its agencies or by a private citizen. The governing board or the department shall be a necessary party to any such suit. Nothing herein shall be construed to conflict with the provisions of s. 373.429.

History.–s. 10, part IV, ch. 72-299; s. 20, ch. 89-279.

373.436 Remedial measures.–

(1) Upon completion of any inspection provided for by s. 373.423(3), the executive director or the department shall determine what alterations or repairs are necessary and order that such alterations and repairs shall be made within a time certain, which shall be a reasonable time. The owner of such stormwater management system, dam, impoundment, reservoir, appurtenant work, or works may file a written petition for hearing before the governing board or the department no later than 14 days after such order is served. If, after such order becomes final, the owner shall fail to make the specified alterations or repairs, the governing board or the department may, in its discretion, cause such alterations or repairs to be made.

(2) Any cost to the district or the department of alterations or repairs made by it under the provisions of subsection (1) shall be a lien against the property of the landowner on whose lands the alterations or repairs are made until the governing board or department is reimbursed, with reasonable interest and attorney’s fees, for its costs.

History.–s. 11, part IV, ch. 72-299; s. 14, ch. 78-95; s. 21, ch. 89-279.

373.439 Emergency measures.–

(1) The executive director, with the concurrence of the governing board, or the department shall immediately employ any remedial means to protect life and property if either:

(a) The condition of any stormwater management system, dam, impoundment, reservoir, appurtenant work, or works is so dangerous to the safety of life or property as not to permit time for the issuance and enforcement of an order relative to maintenance or operation.

(b) Passing or imminent floods threaten the safety of any stormwater management system, dam, impoundment, reservoir, appurtenant work, or works.

(2) In applying the emergency measures provided for in this section, the executive director or the Department of Environmental Protection may in an emergency do any of the following:

(a) Lower the water level by releasing water from any impoundment or reservoir.

(b) Completely empty the impoundment or reservoir.

(c) Take such other steps as may be essential to safeguard life and property.

(3) The executive director or the Department of Environmental Protection shall continue in full charge and control of such stormwater management system, dam, impoundment, reservoir, and its appurtenant works until they are rendered safe or the emergency occasioning the action has ceased.

History.–s. 12, part IV, ch. 72-299; s. 49, ch. 79-65; s. 22, ch. 89-279; s. 270, ch. 94-356.

373.441 Role of counties, municipalities, and local pollution control programs in permit processing.–

(1) The department in consultation with the water management districts shall, by December 1, 1994, adopt rules to guide the participation of counties, municipalities, and local pollution control programs in an efficient, streamlined permitting system. Such rules shall seek to increase governmental efficiency, shall maintain environmental standards, and shall include consideration of the following:

(a) Provisions under which the environmental resource permit program shall be delegated, upon approval of the department and the appropriate water management districts, to a county, municipality, or local pollution control program which has the financial, technical, and administrative capabilities and desire to implement and enforce the program;

(b) Provisions under which a locally delegated permit program may have stricter environmental standards than state standards;

(c) Provisions for identifying and reconciling any duplicative permitting by January 1, 1995;

(d) Provisions for timely and cost-efficient notification by the reviewing agency of permit applications, and permit requirements, to counties, municipalities, local pollution control programs, the department, or water management districts, as appropriate;

(e) Provisions for ensuring the consistency of permit applications with local comprehensive plans;

(f) Provisions for the partial delegation of the environmental resource permit program to counties, municipalities, or local pollution control programs, and standards and criteria to be employed in the implementation of such delegation by counties, municipalities, and local pollution control programs;

(g) Special provisions under which the environmental resource permit program may be delegated to counties with populations of 75,000 or less, or municipalities with, or local pollution control programs serving, populations of 50,000 or less; and

(h) Provisions for the applicability of chapter 120 to local government programs when the environmental resource permit program is delegated to counties, municipalities, or local pollution control programs.

(2) Nothing in this section affects or modifies land development regulations adopted by a local government to implement its comprehensive plan pursuant to chapter 163.

(3) The department shall review environmental resource permit applications for electrical distribution and transmission lines and other facilities related to the production, transmission, and distribution of electricity which are not certified under ss. 403.52-403.5365, the Transmission Line Siting Act, regulated under this part.

History.–s. 34, ch. 93-213; s. 17, ch. 94-122; s. 33, ch. 95-146; s. 13, ch. 98-258.

373.4415 Role of Miami-Dade County in processing permits for limerock mining in Miami-Dade County Lake Belt.–The department and Miami-Dade County shall cooperate to establish and fulfill reasonable requirements for the departmental delegation to the Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resource Management of authority to implement the permitting program under ss. 373.403-373.439 for limerock mining activities within the geographic area of the Miami-Dade County Lake Belt which was recommended for mining in the report submitted to the Legislature in February 1997 under s. 373.4149. The delegation of authority must be consistent with s. 373.441 and chapter 62-344, Florida Administrative Code. To further streamline permitting within the Miami-Dade County Lake Belt, the department and Miami-Dade County are encouraged to work with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to establish a general permit under s. 404 of the Clean Water Act for limerock mining activities within the geographic area of the Miami-Dade County Lake Belt consistent with the report submitted in February 1997. Miami-Dade County is further encouraged to seek delegation from the United States Army Corps of Engineers for the implementation of any such general permit. This section does not limit the authority of the department to delegate other responsibilities to Miami-Dade County under this part.

History.–s. 3, ch. 97-222; s. 3, ch. 99-298; s. 4, ch. 2001-172.

373.443 Immunity from liability.–No action shall be brought against the state or district, or any agents or employees of the state or district, for the recovery of damages caused by the partial or total failure of any stormwater management system, dam, impoundment, reservoir, appurtenant work, or works upon the ground that the state or district is liable by virtue of any of the following:

(1) Approval of the permit for construction or alteration.

(2) The issuance or enforcement of any order relative to maintenance or operation.

(3) Control or regulation of stormwater management systems, dams, impoundments, reservoirs, appurtenant work, or works regulated under this chapter.

(4) Measures taken to protect against failure during emergency.

History.–s. 13, part IV, ch. 72-299; s. 23, ch. 89-279.

373.451 Short title; legislative findings and intent.–

(1) Sections 373.451-373.4595 may be cited as the “Surface Water Improvement and Management Act.”

(2) Legislative intent.–The Legislature finds that the water quality of many of the surface waters of the state has been degraded, or is in danger of becoming degraded, and that the natural systems associated with many surface waters have been altered so that these surface waters no longer perform the important functions that they once performed. These functions include:

(a) Providing aesthetic and recreational pleasure for the people of the state;

(b) Providing habitat for native plants, fish, and wildlife, including endangered and threatened species;

(c) Providing safe drinking water to the growing population of the state; and

(d) Attracting visitors and accruing other economic benefits.

(3) The Legislature finds that the declining quality of the state’s surface waters has been detrimental to the public’s right to enjoy these surface waters and that it is the duty of the state, through the state’s agencies and subdivisions, to enhance the environmental and scenic value of surface waters.

(4) The Legislature finds that factors contributing to the decline in the ecological, aesthetic, recreational, and economic value of the state’s surface waters include:

(a) Point and nonpoint source pollution; and

(b) Destruction of the natural systems which purify surface waters and provide habitats.

(5) The Legislature finds that surface water problems can be corrected and prevented through plans and programs for surface water improvement and management that are planned, designed, and implemented by the water management districts and local governments.

(6) It is therefore the intent of the Legislature that each water management district develop plans and programs for the improvement and management of surface waters within its boundaries.

(7) It is also the intent of the Legislature that the department shall conduct or coordinate statewide research by the water management districts or others to provide a better scientific understanding of the causes and effects of surface water pollution and of the destruction of natural systems in order to improve and manage surface waters and associated natural systems.

(8) The state, through the department, shall provide funds to assist with the implementation of the district plans and programs under this act. However, to achieve the goals of this act, cooperation and funding is necessary from the state, the water management districts, and local governments.

History.–s. 1, ch. 87-97; s. 24, ch. 89-279; s. 41, ch. 96-321.

373.453 Surface water improvement and management plans and programs.–

(1)(a) Each water management district, in cooperation with the department, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Department of Community Affairs, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and local governments shall prepare and maintain a list which shall prioritize water bodies of regional or statewide significance within each water management district. The list shall be reviewed and updated every 3 years. The list shall be based on criteria adopted by rule of the department and shall assign priorities to the water bodies based on their need for protection and restoration.

(b) Criteria developed by the department shall include, but need not be limited to, consideration of violations of water quality standards occurring in the water body, the amounts of nutrients entering the water body and the water body’s trophic state, the existence of or need for a continuous aquatic weed control program in the water body, the biological condition of the water body, reduced fish and wildlife values, and threats to agricultural and urban water supplies and public recreational opportunities.

(c) In developing their respective priority lists, water management districts shall give consideration to the following priority areas:

1. The South Florida Water Management District shall give priority to the restoration needs of Lake Okeechobee, Biscayne Bay, and the Indian River Lagoon system and their tributaries.

2. The Southwest Florida Water Management District shall give priority to the restoration needs of Tampa Bay and its tributaries.

3. The St. Johns River Water Management District shall give priority to the restoration needs of Lake Apopka, the Lower St. Johns River, and the Indian River Lagoon system and their tributaries.

(2) Once the priority lists are approved by the department, the water management districts, in cooperation with the department, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Department of Community Affairs, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and local governments, shall develop surface water improvement and management plans for the water bodies based on the priority lists. The department shall establish a uniform format for such plans and a schedule for reviewing and updating the plans. These plans shall include, but not be limited to:

(a) A description of the water body system, its historical and current uses, its hydrology, and a history of the conditions which have led to the need for restoration or protection;

(b) An identification of all governmental units that have jurisdiction over the water body and its drainage basin within the approved surface water improvement and management plan area, including local, regional, state, and federal units;

(c) A description of land uses within the drainage basin within the approved surface water improvement and management plan area and those of important tributaries, point and nonpoint sources of pollution, and permitted discharge activities;

(d) A list of the owners of point and nonpoint sources of water pollution that are discharged into each water body and tributary thereto and that adversely affect the public interest, including separate lists of those sources that are:

1. Operating without a permit;

2. Operating with a temporary operating permit; and

3. Presently violating effluent limits or water quality standards.

The plan shall also include recommendations and schedules for bringing all sources into compliance with state standards when not contrary to the public interest. This paragraph does not authorize any existing or future violation of any applicable statute, regulation, or permit requirement, and does not diminish the authority of the department or the water management district;

(e) A description of strategies and potential strategies for restoring or protecting the water body to Class III or better;

(f) A listing of studies that are being or have been prepared for the water body;

(g) A description of the research and feasibility studies which will be performed to determine the particular strategy or strategies to restore or protect the water body;

(h) A description of the measures needed to manage and maintain the water body once it has been restored and to prevent future degradation;

(i) A schedule for restoration and protection of the water body; and

(j) An estimate of the funding needed to carry out the restoration or protection strategies.

(3) Each water management district shall be responsible for planning and coordinating restoration or protection strategies for the priority water bodies within the district which have been approved by the department as water bodies of regional and statewide significance in need of protection or restoration. The governing board of the appropriate water management district shall hold at least one public hearing and public workshops in the vicinity of the water body under consideration as may be necessary for obtaining public input prior to finalizing the surface water improvement and management plans for the water bodies on the priority list. The water management district shall then forward a copy of the plans to the department and to appropriate local governmental units.

(4) Each September 1, the water management districts shall submit a funding proposal for the next state fiscal year to the department for its review and approval. The proposal shall specify the activities that need state funding and the amounts of funding, and shall describe the specific restoration or protection activities proposed. The department shall review water management district funding proposals and shall consider them in making its annual budget request.

(5) The governing board of each water management district is encouraged to appoint advisory committees as necessary to assist in formulating and evaluating strategies for water body protection and restoration activities and to increase public awareness and intergovernmental cooperation. Such committees should include representatives of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, appropriate local governments, federal agencies, existing advisory councils for the subject water body, and representatives of the public who use the water body.

(6) The water management districts may contract with appropriate state, local, and regional agencies and others to perform various tasks associated with the development and implementation of the surface water improvement and management plans.

History.–s. 2, ch. 87-97; s. 25, ch. 89-279; s. 271, ch. 94-356; s. 187, ch. 99-245.

373.455 Review of surface water improvement and management plans.–

(1) At least 60 days prior to consideration by the governing board pursuant to s. 373.456(1) of its surface water improvement and management plan, a water management district shall transmit its proposed plan to the department, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Department of Community Affairs, and local governments.

(2)(a) The department shall review each plan to determine:

1. Whether the costs described in the plan, as projected by the water management districts, are reasonable estimates of the actual costs;

2. The likelihood that the plan will significantly improve or protect water quality and associated natural resources; and

3. Whether the plan activities can be funded based on available appropriations or other funding which may be proposed by the department, the districts, or local governments.

(b) If the department determines that a plan does not meet these requirements, the department shall recommend to the district modifications or additions to the plan to the governing board at the time of its consideration of the plan pursuant to s. 373.456(1).

(3) The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shall review each proposed surface water improvement and management plan to determine the effects of the plan on wild animal life and fresh water aquatic life and their habitats. If the commission determines that the plan has adverse effects on these resources and that such adverse effects exceed the beneficial effects on these resources, the commission shall recommend modifications of or additions to the plan to the district governing board at the time it considers the plan pursuant to s. 373.456(1), or any modifications or additions which would result in additional beneficial effects on wild animal life or fresh water aquatic life or their habitats.

(4) The department shall review each proposed surface water improvement and management plan to determine the effects of the plan on state-owned lands and on marine and estuarine aquatic life and their habitats. If the department determines that the plan has adverse effects on these resources and that such adverse effects exceed the beneficial effects on these resources, the department shall recommend modifications of, or additions to, the plan to the district governing board at the time it considers the plan pursuant to s. 373.456(1).

(5) The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall review each proposed surface water improvement and management plan to determine the effects of the plan on the agricultural resources of the area and the state. If the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services determines that the plan has adverse effects on these resources and that such adverse effects exceed the beneficial effects on these resources, the department shall recommend modifications of, or additions to, the plan to the district governing board at the time it considers the plan pursuant to s. 373.456(1).

(6) The Department of Community Affairs shall review each proposed surface water improvement and management plan to determine the effects of the plan on the State Comprehensive Plan and Areas of Critical State Concern. If the Department of Community Affairs determines that the plan has adverse effects on the State Comprehensive Plan or these resources and that such adverse effects exceed the beneficial effects on these resources, the department shall recommend modifications of, or additions to, the plan to the district governing board at the time it considers the plan pursuant to s. 373.456(1).

(7) The local governments shall review each proposed surface water improvement and management plan and provide comments as to the effects of the plan on local resources consistent with the intent of this act. If the local government determines that the plan has adverse effects on these resources and that such adverse effects exceed the beneficial effects on these resources, the local government shall recommend modifications of or additions to the district governing board at the time it considers the plan pursuant to s. 373.456(1).

History.–s. 3, ch. 87-97; s. 26, ch. 89-279; s. 272, ch. 94-356; s. 42, ch. 96-321; s. 188, ch. 99-245.

373.456 Approval of surface water improvement and management plans.–

(1) After consideration of the comments and recommendations submitted pursuant to s. 373.455 and any other public comments, the governing board shall approve the surface water improvement and management plan. Within 15 days of approval, the district shall transmit the plan to the department.

(2) The department shall have the exclusive authority to review the plan to ensure consistency with the water resource implementation rule and the State Comprehensive Plan.

(3) Within 30 days after receipt of an approved plan, the department shall submit a determination of consistency to the governing board. The determination of the department shall not constitute a rule or order.

(4) If the department determines that the plan is consistent, the district shall publish notice in the Florida Administrative Weekly. The plan shall be considered effective and shall constitute final agency action of the governing board on the date of advertisement.

(5) If the department determines that the plan is not consistent, the following procedure shall apply:

(a) The secretary shall notify the governing board of the changes recommended by the department to make the plan consistent. The governing board shall review the recommended change at its next regularly scheduled meeting.

(b) Upon conclusion of its review, the governing board shall either incorporate the recommended changes into the plan or state in the plan the reasons for not adopting the changes. The governing board’s action shall then be effective and shall constitute final agency action. The plan shall be subject to review pursuant to s. 373.114 as of the date of the governing board action approving the plan after completion of any necessary reviews.

History.–s. 27, ch. 89-279; s. 23, ch. 97-160.

373.457 Implementation of surface water improvement and management plans and programs.–

(1) Legislative appropriations provided for the Surface Water Improvement and Management Program shall be available to the water management districts for detailed planning for and implementation of surface water improvement and management plans.

(2) To facilitate appropriate and timely implementation, each water management district shall coordinate the implementation of approved surface water improvement and management plans.

(3) Each water management district shall update annually, as necessary, its approved surface water improvement and management plan. If a district determines that modifications of or additions to its plan are necessary, such modifications or additions shall be subject to the review process established in s. 373.455.

History.–s. 4, ch. 87-97; s. 28, ch. 89-279; s. 10, ch. 93-260; s. 62, ch. 95-143; s. 43, ch. 96-321.

373.459 Funds for surface water improvement and management.–

(1) The Ecosystem Management and Restoration Trust Fund shall be used for the deposit of funds appropriated by the Legislature for the purposes of ss. 373.451-373.4595. The department shall administer all funds appropriated to or received for surface water improvement and management activities. Expenditure of the moneys shall be limited to the costs of detailed planning for and implementation of programs prepared for priority surface waters. Moneys from the fund shall not be expended for planning for, or construction or expansion of, treatment facilities for domestic or industrial waste disposal.

(2) The secretary of the department shall authorize the release of money from the fund within 30 days after receipt of a request adopted by the governing board of a water management district or by the executive director when authority has been delegated by the governing board, certifying that the money is needed for detailed planning for or implementation of plans approved pursuant to ss. 373.453, 373.455, and 373.456. A water management district may not receive more than 50 percent of the moneys appropriated to the fund for the purposes of ss. 373.451-373.4595 in any fiscal year unless otherwise provided for by law. Each year after funds are appropriated, each water management district shall receive the amount requested pursuant to s. 373.453(4) or 10 percent of the money appropriated for the purposes of ss. 373.451-373.4595, whichever is less. The department shall allocate the remaining money in the appropriation for such purposes annually, based upon the specific needs of the districts. The department, at its discretion, may include any funds allocated to a district for such purposes in previous years which remain unencumbered by the district on July 1, to the amount of money to be distributed based upon specific needs of the districts.

(3) The amount of money that may be released to a water management district from the fund for approved plans, or continuations of approved plans, to improve and manage the surface waters described in ss. 373.451-373.4595 is limited to not more than 60 percent of the amount of money necessary for the approved plans of the South Florida Water Management District, the Southwest Florida Water Management District, and the St. Johns River Water Management District, and not more than 80 percent of the amount of money necessary for the approved plans of the Northwest Florida Water Management District and the Suwannee River Water Management District. The remaining funds necessary for the approved plans shall be provided by the district.

(4) Moneys in the fund which are not needed to meet current obligations incurred under this section shall be transferred to the State Board of Administration, to the credit of the trust fund, to be invested in the manner provided by law. Interest received on such investments shall be credited to the trust fund.

History.–s. 5, ch. 87-97; s. 29, ch. 89-279; s. 9, ch. 91-79; s. 11, ch. 91-305; s. 11, ch. 94-115; s. 504, ch. 94-356; s. 44, ch. 96-321.

373.4592 Everglades improvement and management.–

(1) FINDINGS AND INTENT.–

(a) The Legislature finds that the Everglades ecological system not only contributes to South Florida’s water supply, flood control, and recreation, but serves as the habitat for diverse species of wildlife and plant life. The system is unique in the world and one of Florida’s great treasures. The Everglades ecological system is endangered as a result of adverse changes in water quality, and in the quantity, distribution, and timing of flows, and, therefore, must be restored and protected.

(b) The Legislature finds that, although the district and the department have developed plans and programs for the improvement and management of the surface waters tributary to the Everglades Protection Area, implementation of those plans and programs has not been as timely as is necessary to restore and protect unique flora and fauna of the Everglades, including the Everglades National Park and the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. Therefore, the Legislature determines that an appropriate method to proceed with Everglades restoration and protection is to authorize the district to proceed expeditiously with implementation of the Everglades Program.

(c) The Legislature finds that, in the last decade, people have come to realize the tremendous cost the alteration of natural systems has exacted on the region. The Statement of Principles of July 1993 among the Federal Government, the South Florida Water Management District, the Department of Environmental Protection, and certain agricultural industry representatives formed a basis to bring to a close 5 years of costly litigation. That agreement should be used to begin the cleanup and renewal of the Everglades ecosystem.

(d) It is the intent of the Legislature to promote Everglades restoration and protection through certain legislative findings and determinations. The Legislature finds that waters flowing into the Everglades Protection Area contain excessive levels of phosphorus. A reduction in levels of phosphorus will benefit the ecology of the Everglades Protection Area.

(e) It is the intent of the Legislature to pursue comprehensive and innovative solutions to issues of water quality, water quantity, hydroperiod, and invasion of exotic species which face the Everglades ecosystem. The Legislature recognizes that the Everglades ecosystem must be restored both in terms of water quality and water quantity and must be preserved and protected in a manner that is long term and comprehensive. The Legislature further recognizes that the EAA and adjacent areas provide a base for an agricultural industry, which in turn provides important products, jobs, and income regionally and nationally. It is the intent of the Legislature to preserve natural values in the Everglades while also maintaining the quality of life for all residents of South Florida, including those in agriculture, and to minimize the impact on South Florida jobs, including agricultural, tourism, and natural resource-related jobs, all of which contribute to a robust regional economy.

(f) The Legislature finds that improved water supply and hydroperiod management are crucial elements to overall revitalization of the Everglades ecosystem, including Florida Bay. It is the intent of the Legislature to expedite plans and programs for improving water quantity reaching the Everglades, correcting long-standing hydroperiod problems, increasing the total quantity of water flowing through the system, providing water supply for the Everglades National Park, urban and agricultural areas, and Florida Bay, and replacing water previously available from the coastal ridge in areas of southern Dade County. Whenever possible, wasteful discharges of fresh water to tide shall be reduced, and the water shall be stored for delivery at more optimum times. Additionally, reuse and conservation measures shall be implemented consistent with law. The Legislature further recognizes that additional water storage may be an appropriate use of Lake Okeechobee.

(g) The Legislature finds that the Statement of Principles of July 1993, the Everglades Construction Project, and the regulatory requirements of this section provide a sound basis for the state’s long-term cleanup and restoration objectives for the Everglades. It is the intent of the Legislature to provide a sufficient period of time for construction, testing, and research, so that the benefits of the Everglades Construction Project will be determined and maximized prior to requiring additional measures. The Legislature finds that STAs and BMPs are currently the best available technology for achieving the interim water quality goals of the Everglades Program. A combined program of agricultural BMPs, STAs, and requirements of this section is a reasonable method of achieving interim total phosphorus discharge reductions. The Everglades Program is an appropriate foundation on which to build a long-term program to ultimately achieve restoration and protection of the Everglades Protection Area.

(h) The Everglades Construction Project represents by far the largest environmental cleanup and restoration program of this type ever undertaken, and the returns from substantial public and private investment must be maximized so that available resources are managed responsibly. To that end, the Legislature directs that the Everglades Construction Project and regulatory requirements associated with the Statement of Principles of July 1993 be pursued expeditiously, but with flexibility, so that superior technology may be utilized when available. Consistent with the implementation of the Everglades Construction Project, landowners shall be provided the maximum opportunity to provide treatment on their land.

(2) DEFINITIONS.–As used in this section:

(a) “Best management practice” or “BMP” means a practice or combination of practices determined by the district, in cooperation with the department, based on research, field-testing, and expert review, to be the most effective and practicable, including economic and technological considerations, on-farm means of improving water quality in agricultural discharges to a level that balances water quality improvements and agricultural productivity.

(b) “C-139 Basin” or “Basin” means those lands described in subsection (16).

(c) “Department” means the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

(d) “District” means the South Florida Water Management District.

(e) “Everglades Agricultural Area” or “EAA” means the Everglades Agricultural Area, which are those lands described in subsection (15).

(f) “Everglades Construction Project” means the project described in the February 15, 1994, conceptual design document together with construction and operation schedules on file with the South Florida Water Management District, except as modified by this section.

(g) “Everglades Program” means the program of projects, regulations, and research provided by this section, including the Everglades Construction Project.

(h) “Everglades Protection Area” means Water Conservation Areas 1, 2A, 2B, 3A, and 3B, the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, and the Everglades National Park.

(i) “Master permit” means a single permit issued to a legally responsible entity defined by rule, authorizing the construction, alteration, maintenance, or operation of multiple stormwater management systems that may be owned or operated by different persons and which provides an opportunity to achieve collective compliance with applicable department and district rules and the provisions of this section.

(j) “Phosphorus criterion” means a numeric interpretation for phosphorus of the Class III narrative nutrient criterion.

(k) “Stormwater management program” shall have the meaning set forth in s. 403.031(15).

(l) “Stormwater treatment areas” or “STAs” means those treatment areas described and depicted in the district’s conceptual design document of February 15, 1994, and any modifications as provided in this section.

(3) EVERGLADES SWIM PLAN.–The Legislature finds that the Everglades Program required by this section establishes more extensive and comprehensive requirements for surface water improvement and management within the Everglades than the SWIM plan requirements provided in ss. 373.451-373.456. In order to avoid duplicative requirements, and in order to conserve the resources available to the district, the SWIM plan requirements of those sections shall not apply to the Everglades Protection Area and the EAA during the term of the Everglades Program, and the district will neither propose, nor take final agency action on, any Everglades SWIM plan for those areas until the Everglades Program is fully implemented; however, funds under s. 259.101(3)(b) may be used for acquisition of lands necessary to implement the Everglades Construction Project, to the extent these funds are identified in the Statement of Principles of July 1993. The district’s actions in implementing the Everglades Construction Project relating to the responsibilities of the EAA and C-139 Basin for funding and water quality compliance in the EAA and the Everglades Protection Area shall be governed by this section. Other strategies or activities in the March 1992 SWIM plan may be implemented if otherwise authorized by law.

(4) EVERGLADES PROGRAM.–

(a) Everglades Construction Project.–The district shall implement the Everglades Construction Project. By the time of completion of the project, the state, district, or other governmental authority shall purchase the inholdings in the Rotenberger and such other lands necessary to achieve a 2:1 mitigation ratio for the use of Brown’s Farm and other similar lands, including those needed for the STA 1 Inflow and Distribution Works. The inclusion of public lands as part of the project is for the purpose of treating waters not coming from the EAA for hydroperiod restoration. It is the intent of the Legislature that the district aggressively pursue the implementation of the Everglades Construction Project in accordance with the schedule in this subsection. The Legislature recognizes that adherence to the schedule is dependent upon factors beyond the control of the district, including the timely receipt of funds from all contributors. The district shall take all reasonable measures to complete timely performance of the schedule in this section in order to finish the Everglades Construction Project. The district shall not delay implementation of the project beyond the time delay caused by those circumstances and conditions that prevent timely performance. The district shall not levy ad valorem taxes in excess of 0.1 mill within the Okeechobee Basin for the purposes of the design, construction, and acquisition of the Everglades Construction Project. The ad valorem tax proceeds not exceeding 0.1 mill levied within the Okeechobee Basin for such purposes shall be the sole direct district contribution from district ad valorem taxes appropriated or expended for the design, construction, and acquisition of the Everglades Construction Project unless the Legislature by specific amendment to this section increases the 0.1 mill ad valorem tax contribution, increases the agricultural privilege taxes, or otherwise reallocates the relative contribution by ad valorem taxpayers and taxpayers paying the agricultural privilege taxes toward the funding of the design, construction, and acquisition of the Everglades Construction Project. Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 200.069 to the contrary, any millage levied under the 0.1 mill limitation in this paragraph shall be included as a separate entry on the Notice of Proposed Property Taxes pursuant to s. 200.069. Once the STAs are completed, the district shall allow these areas to be used by the public for recreational purposes in the manner set forth in 1s. 373.59(11), considering the suitability of these lands for such uses. These lands shall be made available for recreational use unless the district governing board can demonstrate that such uses are incompatible with the restoration goals of the Everglades Construction Project or the water quality and hydrological purposes of the STAs or would otherwise adversely impact the implementation of the project. The district shall give preferential consideration to the hiring of agricultural workers displaced as a result of the Everglades Construction Project, consistent with their qualifications and abilities, for the construction and operation of these STAs. The following milestones apply to the completion of the Everglades Construction Project as depicted in the February 15, 1994, conceptual design document:

1. The district must complete the final design of the STA 1 East and West and pursue STA 1 East project components as part of a cost-shared program with the Federal Government. The district must be the local sponsor of the federal project that will include STA 1 East, and STA 1 West if so authorized by federal law. Land acquisition shall be completed for STA 1 West by April 1, 1996, and for STA 1 East by July 1, 1998;

2. Construction of STA 1 East is to be completed under the direction of the United States Army Corps of Engineers in conjunction with the currently authorized C-51 flood control project by July 1, 2002;

3. The district must complete construction of STA 1 West and STA 1 Inflow and Distribution Works under the direction of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, if the direction is authorized under federal law, in conjunction with the currently authorized C-51 flood control project, by January 1, 1999;

4. The district must complete construction of STA 2 by February 1, 1999;

5. The district must complete construction of STA 3/4 by October 1, 2003;

6. The district must complete construction of STA 5 by January 1, 1999; and

7. The district must complete construction of STA 6 by October 1, 1997.

8. East Beach Water Control District, South Shore Drainage District, South Florida Conservancy District, East Shore Water Control District, and the lessee of agricultural lease number 3420 shall complete any system modifications described in the Everglades Construction Project to the extent that funds are available from the Everglades Fund. These entities shall divert the discharges described within the Everglades Construction Project within 60 days of completion of construction of the appropriate STA. Such required modifications shall be deemed to be a part of each district’s plan of reclamation pursuant to chapter 298.

(b) Everglades water supply and hydroperiod improvement and restoration.–

1. A comprehensive program to revitalize the Everglades shall include programs and projects to improve the water quantity reaching the Everglades Protection Area at optimum times and improve hydroperiod deficiencies in the Everglades ecosystem. To the greatest extent possible, wasteful discharges of fresh water to tide shall be reduced, and water conservation practices and reuse measures shall be implemented by water users, consistent with law. Water supply management must include improvement of water quantity reaching the Everglades, correction of long-standing hydroperiod problems, and an increase in the total quantity of water flowing through the system. Water supply management must provide water supply for the Everglades National Park, the urban and agricultural areas, and the Florida Bay and must replace water previously available from the coastal ridge areas of southern Dade County. The Everglades Construction Project redirects some water currently lost to tide. It is an important first step in completing hydroperiod improvement.

2. The district shall operate the Everglades Construction Project as specified in the February 15, 1994, conceptual design document, to provide additional inflows to the Everglades Protection Area. The increased flow from the project shall be directed to the Everglades Protection Area as needed to achieve an average annual increase of 28 percent compared to the baseline years of 1979 to 1988. Consistent with the design of the Everglades Construction Project and without demonstratively reducing water quality benefits, the regulatory releases will be timed and distributed to the Everglades Protection Area to maximize environmental benefits.

3. The district shall operate the Everglades Construction Project in accordance with the February 15, 1994, conceptual design document to maximize the water quantity benefits and improve the hydroperiod of the Everglades Protection Area. All reductions of flow to the Everglades Protection Area from BMP implementation will be replaced. The district shall develop a model to be used for quantifying the amount of water to be replaced. The district shall publish in the Florida Administrative Weekly a notice of rule development on the model no later than July 1, 1994, and a notice of rulemaking no later than July 1, 1995. The timing and distribution of this replaced water will be directed to the Everglades Protection Area to maximize the natural balance of the Everglades Protection Area.

4. The Legislature recognizes the complexity of the Everglades watershed, as well as legal mandates under Florida and federal law. As local sponsor of the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control Project, the district must coordinate its water supply and hydroperiod programs with the Federal Government. Federal planning, research, operating guidelines, and restrictions for the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control Project now under review by federal agencies will provide important components of the district’s Everglades Program. The department and district shall use their best efforts to seek the amendment of the authorized purposes of the project to include water quality protection, hydroperiod restoration, and environmental enhancement as authorized purposes of the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control Project, in addition to the existing purposes of water supply, flood protection, and allied purposes. Further, the department and the district shall use their best efforts to request that the Federal Government include in the evaluation of the regulation schedule for Lake Okeechobee a review of the regulatory releases, so as to facilitate releases of water into the Everglades Protection Area which further improve hydroperiod restoration.

5. The district, through cooperation with the federal and state agencies, shall develop other programs and methods to increase the water flow and improve the hydroperiod of the Everglades Protection Area.

6. Nothing in this section is intended to provide an allocation or reservation of water or to modify the provisions of part II. All decisions regarding allocations and reservations of water shall be governed by applicable law.

7. The district shall proceed to expeditiously implement the minimum flows and levels for the Everglades Protection Area as required by s. 373.042 and shall expeditiously complete the Lower East Coast Water Supply Plan.

(c) STA 3/4 modification.–The Everglades Program will contribute to the restoration of the Rotenberger and Holey Land tracts. The Everglades Construction Project provides a first step toward restoration by improving hydroperiod with treated water for the Rotenberger tract and by providing a source of treated water for the Holey Land. It is further the intent of the Legislature that the easternmost tract of the Holey Land, known as the “Toe of the Boot,” be removed from STA 3/4 under the circumstances set forth in this paragraph. The district shall proceed to modify the Everglades Construction Project, provided that the redesign achieves at least as many environmental and hydrological benefits as are included in the original design, including treatment of waters from sources other than the EAA, and does not delay construction of STA 3/4. The district is authorized to use eminent domain to acquire alternative lands, only if such lands are located within 1 mile of the northern border of STA 3/4.

(d) Everglades research and monitoring program.–

1. By January 1996, the department and the district shall review and evaluate available water quality data for the Everglades Protection Area and tributary waters and identify any additional information necessary to adequately describe water quality in the Everglades Protection Area and tributary waters. By such date, the department and the district shall also initiate a research and monitoring program to generate such additional information identified and to evaluate the effectiveness of the BMPs and STAs, as they are implemented, in improving water quality and maintaining designated and existing beneficial uses of the Everglades Protection Area and tributary waters. As part of the program, the district shall monitor all discharges into the Everglades Protection Area for purposes of determining compliance with state water quality standards.

2. The research and monitoring program shall evaluate the ecological and hydrological needs of the Everglades Protection Area, including the minimum flows and levels. Consistent with such needs, the program shall also evaluate water quality standards for the Everglades Protection Area and for the canals of the EAA, so that these canals can be classified in the manner set forth in paragraph (e) and protected as an integral part of the water management system which includes the STAs of the Everglades Construction Project and allows landowners in the EAA to achieve applicable water quality standards compliance by BMPs and STA treatment to the extent this treatment is available and effective.

3. The research and monitoring program shall include research seeking to optimize the design and operation of the STAs, including research to reduce outflow concentrations, and to identify other treatment and management methods and regulatory programs that are superior to STAs in achieving the intent and purposes of this section.

4. The research and monitoring program shall be conducted to allow completion by December 2001 of any research necessary to allow the department to propose a phosphorus criterion in the Everglades Protection Area, and to evaluate existing state water quality standards applicable to the Everglades Protection Area and existing state water quality standards and classifications applicable to the EAA canals. In developing the phosphorus criterion, the department shall also consider the minimum flows and levels for the Everglades Protection Area and the district’s water supply plans for the Lower East Coast.

5. The district, in cooperation with the department, shall prepare a peer-reviewed interim report regarding the research and monitoring program, which shall be submitted no later than January 1, 1999, to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives for their review. The interim report shall summarize all data and findings available as of July 1, 1998, on the effectiveness of STAs and BMPs in improving water quality. The interim report shall also include a summary of the then-available data and findings related to the following: the Lower East Coast Water Supply Plan of the district, the United States Environmental Protection Agency Everglades Mercury Study, the United States Army Corps of Engineers South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Study, the results of research and monitoring of water quality and quantity in the Everglades region, the degree of phosphorus discharge reductions achieved by BMPs and agricultural operations in the region, the current information on the ecological and hydrological needs of the Everglades, and the costs and benefits of phosphorus reduction alternatives. Prior to finalizing the interim report, the district shall conduct at least one scientific workshop and two public hearings on its proposed interim report. One public hearing must be held in Palm Beach County and the other must be held in either Dade or Broward County. The interim report shall be used by the department and the district in making any decisions regarding the implementation of the Everglades Construction Project subsequent to the completion of the interim report. The construction of STAs 3/4 shall not be commenced until 90 days after the interim report has been submitted to the Governor and the Legislature.

6. Beginning January 1, 2000, the district and the department shall annually issue a peer-reviewed report regarding the research and monitoring program that summarizes all data and findings. The department shall provide copies of the report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The report shall identify water quality parameters, in addition to phosphorus, which exceed state water quality standards or are causing or contributing to adverse impacts in the Everglades Protection Area.

7. The district shall continue research seeking to optimize the design and operation of STAs and to identify other treatment and management methods that are superior to STAs in achieving optimum water quality and water quantity for the benefit of the Everglades. The district shall optimize the design and operation of the STAs described in the Everglades Construction Project prior to expanding their size. Additional methods to achieve compliance with water quality standards shall not be limited to more intensive management of the STAs.

(e) Evaluation of water quality standards.–

1. The department and the district shall employ all means practicable to complete by December 31, 1998, any additional research necessary to:

a. Numerically interpret for phosphorus the Class III narrative nutrient criterion necessary to meet water quality standards in the Everglades Protection Area; and

b. Evaluate existing water quality standards applicable to the Everglades Protection Area and EAA canals.

This research shall be completed no later than December 31, 2001.

2. By December 31, 2001, the department shall file a notice of rulemaking in the Florida Administrative Weekly to establish a phosphorus criterion in the Everglades Protection Area. In no case shall such phosphorus criterion allow waters in the Everglades Protection Area to be altered so as to cause an imbalance in the natural populations of aquatic flora or fauna. The phosphorus criterion shall be 10 parts per billion (ppb) in the Everglades Protection Area in the event the department does not adopt by rule such criterion by December 31, 2003. However, in the event the department fails to adopt a phosphorus criterion on or before December 31, 2002, any person whose substantial interests would be affected by the rulemaking shall have the right, on or before February 28, 2003, to petition for a writ of mandamus to compel the department to adopt by rule such criterion. Venue for the mandamus action must be Leon County. The court may stay implementation of the 10 parts per billion (ppb) criterion during the pendency of the mandamus proceeding upon a demonstration by the petitioner of irreparable harm in the absence of such relief. The department’s phosphorus criterion, whenever adopted, shall supersede the 10 parts per billion (ppb) criterion otherwise established by this section, but shall not be lower than the natural conditions of the Everglades Protection Area and shall take into account spatial and temporal variability.

3. The department shall use the best available information to define relationships between waters discharged to, and the resulting water quality in, the Everglades Protection Area. The department or the district shall use these relationships to establish discharge limits in permits for discharges into the EAA canals and the Everglades Protection Area necessary to prevent an imbalance in the natural populations of aquatic flora or fauna in the Everglades Protection Area, and to provide a net improvement in the areas already impacted. Compliance with the phosphorus criterion shall be based upon a long-term geometric mean of concentration levels to be measured at sampling stations recognized from the research to be reasonably representative of receiving waters in the Everglades Protection Area, and so located so as to assure that the Everglades Protection Area is not altered so as to cause an imbalance in natural populations of aquatic flora and fauna and to assure a net improvement in the areas already impacted. For the Everglades National Park and the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, the method for measuring compliance with the phosphorus criterion shall be in a manner consistent with Appendices A and B, respectively, of the settlement agreement dated July 26, 1991, entered in case No. 88-1886-Civ-Hoeveler, United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, that recognizes and provides for incorporation of relevant research.

4. The department’s evaluation of any other water quality standards must include the department’s antidegradation standards and EAA canal classifications. In recognition of the special nature of the conveyance canals of the EAA, as a component of the classification process, the department is directed to formally recognize by rulemaking existing actual beneficial uses of the conveyance canals in the EAA. This shall include recognition of the Class III designated uses of recreation, propagation and maintenance of a healthy, well-balanced population of fish and wildlife, the integrated water management purposes for which the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control Project was constructed, flood control, conveyance of water to and from Lake Okeechobee for urban and agricultural water supply, Everglades hydroperiod restoration, conveyance of water to the STAs, and navigation.

(f) EAA best management practices.–

1. The district, in cooperation with the department, shall develop and implement a water quality monitoring program to evaluate the effectiveness of the BMPs in achieving and maintaining compliance with state water quality standards and restoring and maintaining designated and existing beneficial uses. The program shall include an analysis of the effectiveness of the BMPs in treating constituents that are not being significantly improved by the STAs. The monitoring program shall include monitoring of appropriate parameters at representative locations.

2. The district shall continue to require and enforce the BMP and other requirements of chapters 40E-61 and 40E-63, Florida Administrative Code, during the terms of the existing permits issued pursuant to those rules. Chapter 40E-61, Florida Administrative Code, may be amended to include the BMPs required by chapter 40E-63, Florida Administrative Code. Prior to the expiration of existing permits, and during each 5-year term of subsequent permits as provided for in this section, those rules shall be amended to implement a comprehensive program of research, testing, and implementation of BMPs that will address all water quality standards within the EAA and Everglades Protection Area. Under this program:

a. EAA landowners, through the EAA Environmental Protection District or otherwise, shall sponsor a program of BMP research with qualified experts to identify appropriate BMPs.

b. Consistent with the water quality monitoring program, BMPs will be field-tested in a sufficient number of representative sites in the EAA to reflect soil and crop types and other factors that influence BMP design and effectiveness.

c. BMPs as required for varying crops and soil types shall be included in permit conditions in the 5-year permits issued pursuant to this section.

d. The district shall conduct research in cooperation with EAA landowners to identify water quality parameters that are not being significantly improved either by the STAs or the BMPs, and to identify further BMP strategies needed to address these parameters.

3. The Legislature finds that through the implementation of the Everglades BMPs Program and the implementation of the Everglades Construction Project, reasonable further progress will be made towards addressing water quality requirements of the EAA canals and the Everglades Protection Area. Permittees within the EAA and the C-139 Basin who are in full compliance with the conditions of permits under chapters 40E-61 and 40E-63, Florida Administrative Code, have made all payments required under the Everglades Program, and are in compliance with subparagraph (a)8., if applicable, shall not be required to implement additional water quality improvement measures, prior to December 31, 2006, other than those required by subparagraph 2., with the following exceptions:

a. Nothing in this subparagraph shall limit the existing authority of the department or the district to limit or regulate discharges that pose a significant danger to the public health and safety; and

b. New land uses and new stormwater management facilities other than alterations to existing agricultural stormwater management systems for water quality improvements shall not be accorded the compliance established by this section. Permits may be required to implement improvements or alterations to existing agricultural water management systems.

4. As of December 31, 2006, all permits, including those issued prior to that date, shall require implementation of additional water quality measures, taking into account the water quality treatment actually provided by the STAs and the effectiveness of the BMPs. As of that date, no permittee’s discharge shall cause or contribute to any violation of water quality standards in the Everglades Protection Area.

5. Effective immediately, landowners within the C-139 Basin shall not collectively exceed an annual average loading of phosphorus of 28.7 metric tons based proportionately on the historical rainfall for the C-139 Basin over the period of October 1, 1978, to September 30, 1988. New surface inflows shall not increase the annual average loading of phosphorus stated above. Provided that the C-139 Basin does not exceed this annual average loading, all landowners within the Basin shall be in compliance for that year. Compliance determinations for individual landowners within the C-139 Basin for remedial action, if the Basin is determined by the district to be out of compliance for that year, shall be based on the landowners’ proportional share of the total phosphorus loading of 28.7 metric tons. The total phosphorus discharge load shall be determined by a method consistent with Appendix 40E-63-3, Florida Administrative Code, disregarding the 25-percent phosphorus reduction factor.

6. The district, in cooperation with the department, shall develop and implement a water quality monitoring program to evaluate the quality of the discharge from the C-139 Basin. Upon determination by the department or the district that the C-139 Basin is exceeding any presently existing water quality standards, the district shall require landowners within the C-139 Basin to implement BMPs appropriate to the land uses within the C-139 Basin consistent with subparagraph 2. Thereafter, the provisions of subparagraphs 2.-4. shall apply to the landowners within the C-139 Basin.

(g) Monitoring and control of exotic species.–

1. The district shall establish a biological monitoring network throughout the Everglades Protection Area and shall prepare a survey of exotic species at least every 2 years.

2. In addition, the district shall establish a program to coordinate with federal, state, or other governmental entities the control of continued expansion and the removal of these exotic species. The district’s program shall give high priority to species affecting the largest areal extent within the Everglades Protection Area.

(5) ACQUISITION AND LEASE OF STATE LANDS.–

(a) As used in this subsection, the term:

1. “Available land” means land within the EAA owned by the board of trustees which is covered by any of the following leases: Numbers 3543, 3420, 1447, 1971-5, and 3433, and the southern one-third of number 2376 constituting 127 acres, more or less.

2. “Board of trustees” means the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund.

3. “Designated acre,” as to any impacted farmer, means an acre of land which is designated for STAs or water retention or storage in the February 15, 1994, conceptual design document and which is owned or leased by the farmer or on which one or more agricultural products were produced which, during the period beginning October 1, 1992, and ending September 30, 1993, were processed at a facility owned by the farmer.

4. “Impacted farmer” means a producer or processor of agricultural commodities and includes subsidiaries and affiliates that have designated acres.

5. “Impacted vegetable farmer” means an impacted farmer in the EAA who uses more than 30 percent of the land farmed by that farmer, whether owned or leased, for the production of vegetables.

6. “Vegetable-area available land” means land within the EAA owned by the board of trustees which is covered by lease numbers 3422 and 1935/1935S.

(b) The Legislature declares that it is necessary for the public health and welfare that the Everglades water and water-related resources be conserved and protected. The Legislature further declares that certain lands may be needed for the treatment or storage of water prior to its release into the Everglades Protection Area. The acquisition of real property for this objective constitutes a public purpose for which public funds may be expended. In addition to other authority pursuant to this chapter to acquire real property, the governing board of the district is empowered and authorized to acquire fee title or easements by eminent domain for the limited purpose of implementing stormwater management systems, identified and described in the Everglades Construction Project or determined necessary to meet water quality requirements established by rule or permit.

(c) The Legislature determines it to be in the public interest to minimize the potential loss of land and related product supply to farmers and processors who are most affected by acquisition of land for Everglades restoration and hydroperiod purposes. Accordingly, subject to the priority established below for vegetable-area available land, impacted farmers shall have priority in the leasing of available land. An impacted farmer shall have the right to lease each parcel of available land, upon expiration of the existing lease, for a term of 20 years and at a rental rate determined by appraisal using established state procedures. For those parcels of land that have previously been competitively bid, the rental rate shall not be less than the rate the board of trustees currently receives. The board of trustees may also adjust the rental rate on an annual basis using an appropriate index, and update the appraisals at 5-year intervals. If more than one impacted farmer desires to lease a particular parcel of available land, the one that has the greatest number of designated acres shall have priority.

(d) Impacted vegetable farmers shall have priority in leasing vegetable-area available land. An impacted vegetable farmer shall have the right to lease vegetable-area available land, upon expiration of the existing lease, for a term of 20 years or a term ending August 25, 2018, whichever term first expires, and at a rental rate determined by appraisal using established state procedures. If the lessee elects, such terms may consist of an initial 5-year term, with successive options to renew at the lessee’s option for additional 5-year terms. For extensions of leases on those parcels of land that have previously been competitively bid, the rental rate shall not be less than the rate the board of trustees currently receives. The board of trustees may also adjust the rental rate on an annual basis using an appropriate index, and update the appraisals at 5-year intervals. If more than one impacted vegetable farmer desires to lease vegetable-area available land, the one that has the greatest number of designated acres shall have priority.

(e) Impacted vegetable farmers with farming operations in areas of Florida other than the EAA shall have priority in leasing suitable surplus lands, where such lands are located in the St. Johns River Water Management District and in the vicinity of the other areas where such impacted vegetable farmers operate. The suitability of such use shall be determined solely by the St. Johns River Water Management District. The St. Johns River Water Management District shall make good faith efforts to provide these impacted vegetable farmers with the opportunity to lease such suitable lands to offset their designated acres. The rental rate shall be determined by appraisal using established procedures.

(f) The corporation conducting correctional work programs under part II of chapter 946 shall be entitled to renew, for a period of 20 years, its lease with the Department of Corrections which expires June 30, 1998, which includes the utilization of land for the production of sugar cane, and which is identified as lease number 2671 with the board of trustees.

(g) Except as specified in paragraph (f), once the leases or lease extensions specified in this subsection have been granted and become effective, the trustees shall retain the authority to terminate after 9 years any such lease or lease extension upon 2 years’ notice to the lessee and a finding by the trustees that the lessee has ceased to be impacted as provided in this section. In that event, the outgoing lessee is entitled to be compensated for any documented, unamortized planting costs associated with the lease and any unamortized capital costs incurred prior to the notice. In addition, the trustees may terminate such lease or lease extension if the lessee fails to comply with, and after reasonable notice and opportunity to correct or fails to correct, any material provision of the lease or its obligation under this section.

(6) EVERGLADES AGRICULTURAL PRIVILEGE TAX.–

(a) There is hereby imposed an annual Everglades agricultural privilege tax for the privilege of conducting an agricultural trade or business on:

1. All real property located within the EAA that is classified as agricultural under the provisions of chapter 193; and

2. Leasehold or other interests in real property located within the EAA owned by the United States, the state, or any agency thereof permitting the property to be used for agricultural purposes in a manner that would allow such property to be classified as agricultural under the provisions of chapter 193 if not governmentally owned, whether or not such property is actually classified as agricultural under the provisions of chapter 193.

It is hereby determined by the Legislature that the privilege of conducting an agricultural trade or business on such property constitutes a reasonable basis for imposition of the Everglades agricultural privilege tax and that logical differences exist between the agricultural use of such property and the use of other property within the EAA for residential or nonagricultural commercial use. The Everglades agricultural privilege tax shall constitute a lien against the property, or the leasehold or other interest in governmental property permitting such property to be used for agricultural purposes, described on the Everglades agricultural privilege tax roll. The lien shall be in effect from January 1 of the year the tax notice is mailed until discharged by payment and shall be equal in rank and dignity with the liens of all state, county, district, or municipal taxes and non-ad valorem assessments imposed pursuant to general law, special act, or local ordinance and shall be superior in dignity to all other liens, titles, and claims.

(b) The Everglades agricultural privilege tax, other than for leasehold or other interests in governmental property permitting such property to be used for agricultural purposes, shall be collected in the manner provided for ad valorem taxes. By September 15 of each year, the governing board of the district shall certify by resolution an Everglades agricultural privilege tax roll on compatible electronic medium to the tax collector of each county in which a portion of the EAA is located. The district shall also produce one copy of the roll in printed form which shall be available for inspection by the public. The district shall post the Everglades agricultural privilege tax for each parcel on the roll. The tax collector shall not accept any such roll that is not certified on compatible electronic medium and that does not contain the posting of the Everglades agricultural privilege tax for each parcel. It is the responsibility of the district that such rolls be free of errors and omissions. Alterations to such rolls may be made by the executive director of the district, or a designee, up to 10 days before certification. If the tax collector or any taxpayer discovers errors or omissions on such roll, such person may request the district to file a corrected roll or a correction of the amount of any Everglades agricultural privilege tax. Other than for leasehold or other interests in governmental property permitting such property to be used for agricultural purposes, Everglades agricultural privilege taxes collected pursuant to this section shall be included in the combined notice for ad valorem taxes and non-ad valorem assessments provided for in s. 197.3635. Such Everglades agricultural privilege taxes shall be listed in the portion of the combined notice utilized for non-ad valorem assessments. A separate mailing is authorized only as a solution to the most exigent factual circumstances. However, if a tax collector cannot merge an Everglades agricultural privilege tax roll to produce such a notice, the tax collector shall mail a separate notice of Everglades agricultural privilege taxes or shall direct the district to mail such a separate notice. In deciding whether a separate mailing is necessary, the tax collector shall consider all costs to the district and taxpayers of such a separate mailing and the adverse effects to the taxpayers of delayed and multiple notices. The district shall bear all costs associated with any separate notice. Everglades agricultural privilege taxes collected pursuant to this section shall be subject to all collection provisions of chapter 197, including provisions relating to discount for early payment, prepayment by installment method, deferred payment, penalty for delinquent payment, and issuance and sale of tax certificates and tax deeds for nonpayment. Everglades agricultural privilege taxes for leasehold or other interests in property owned by the United States, the state, or any agency thereof permitting such property to be used for agricultural purposes shall be included on the notice provided pursuant to s. 196.31, a copy of which shall be provided to lessees or other interestholders registering with the district, and shall be collected from the lessee or other appropriate interestholder and remitted to the district immediately upon collection. Everglades agricultural privilege taxes included on the statement provided pursuant to s. 196.31 shall be due and collected on or prior to the next April 1 following provision of the notice. Proceeds of the Everglades agricultural privilege taxes shall be distributed by the tax collector to the district. Each tax collector shall be paid a commission equal to the actual cost of collection, not to exceed 2 percent, on the amount of Everglades agricultural privilege taxes collected and remitted. Notwithstanding any general law or special act to the contrary, Everglades agricultural privilege taxes shall not be included on the notice of proposed property taxes provided for in s. 200.069.

(c) The initial Everglades agricultural privilege tax roll shall be certified for the tax notices mailed in November 1994. Incentive credits to the Everglades agricultural privilege taxes to be included on the initial Everglades agricultural privilege tax roll, if any, shall be based upon the total phosphorus load reduction for the year ending April 30, 1993. The Everglades agricultural privilege taxes for each year shall be computed in the following manner:

1. Annual Everglades agricultural privilege taxes shall be charged for the privilege of conducting an agricultural trade or business on each acre of real property or portion thereof. The annual Everglades agricultural privilege tax shall be $24.89 per acre for the tax notices mailed in November 1994 through November 1997; $27 per acre for the tax notices mailed in November 1998 through November 2001; $31 per acre for the tax notices mailed in November 2002 through November 2005; and $35 per acre for the tax notices mailed in November 2006 through November 2013.

2. It is the intent of the Legislature to encourage the performance of best management practices to maximize the reduction of phosphorus loads at points of discharge from the EAA by providing an incentive credit against the Everglades agricultural privilege taxes set forth in subparagraph 1. The total phosphorus load reduction shall be measured for the entire EAA by comparing the actual measured total phosphorus load attributable to the EAA for each annual period ending on April 30 to the total estimated phosphorus load that would have occurred during the 1979-1988 base period using the model for total phosphorus load determinations provided in chapter 40E-63, Florida Administrative Code, utilizing the technical information and procedures contained in Section IV-EAA Period of Record Flow and Phosphorus Load Calculations; Section V-Monitoring Requirements; and Section VI-Phosphorus Load Allocations and Compliance Calculations of the Draft Technical Document in Support of chapter 40E-63, Florida Administrative Code – Works of the District within the Everglades, March 3, 1992, and the Standard Operating Procedures for Water Quality Collection in Support of the Everglades Water Condition Report, dated February 18, 1994. The model estimates the total phosphorus load that would have occurred during the 1979-1988 base period by substituting the rainfall conditions for such annual period ending April 30 for the conditions that were used to calibrate the model for the 1979-1988 base period. The data utilized to calculate the actual loads attributable to the EAA shall be adjusted to eliminate the effect of any load and flow that were not included in the 1979-1988 base period as defined in chapter 40E-63, Florida Administrative Code. The incorporation of the method of measuring the total phosphorus load reduction provided in this subparagraph is intended to provide a legislatively approved aid to the governing board of the district in making an annual ministerial determination of any incentive credit.

3. Phosphorus load reductions calculated in the manner described in subparagraph 2. and rounded to the nearest whole percentage point for each annual period beginning on May 1 and ending on April 30 shall be used to compute incentive credits to the Everglades agricultural privilege taxes to be included on the annual tax notices mailed in November of the next ensuing calendar year. Incentive credits, if any, will reduce the Everglades agricultural privilege taxes set forth in subparagraph 1. only to the extent that the phosphorus load reduction exceeds 25 percent. Subject to subparagraph 4., the reduction of phosphorus load by each percentage point in excess of 25 percent, computed for the 12-month period ended on April 30 of the calendar year immediately preceding certification of the Everglades agricultural privilege tax, shall result in the following incentive credits: $0.33 per acre for the tax notices mailed in November 1994 through November 1997; $0.54 per acre for the tax notices mailed in November 1998 through November 2001; $0.61 per acre for the tax notices mailed in November 2002 through November 2005, and $0.65 per acre for the tax notices mailed in November 2006 through November 2013. The determination of incentive credits, if any, shall be documented by resolution of the governing board of the district adopted prior to or at the time of the adoption of its resolution certifying the annual Everglades agricultural privilege tax roll to the appropriate tax collector.

4. Notwithstanding subparagraph 3., incentive credits for the performance of best management practices shall not reduce the minimum annual Everglades agricultural privilege tax to less than $24.89 per acre, which annual Everglades agricultural privilege tax as adjusted in the manner required by paragraph (e) shall be known as the “minimum tax.” To the extent that the application of incentive credits for the performance of best management practices would reduce the annual Everglades agricultural privilege tax to an amount less than the minimum tax, then the unused or excess incentive credits for the performance of best management practices shall be carried forward, on a phosphorus load percentage basis, to be applied as incentive credits in subsequent years. Any unused or excess incentive credits remaining after certification of the Everglades agricultural privilege tax roll for the tax notices mailed in November 2013 shall be canceled.

5. Notwithstanding the schedule of Everglades agricultural privilege taxes set forth in subparagraph 1., the owner, lessee, or other appropriate interestholder of any property shall be entitled to have the Everglades agricultural privilege tax for any parcel of property reduced to the minimum tax, commencing with the tax notices mailed in November 1996 for parcels of property participating in the early baseline option as defined in chapter 40E-63, Florida Administrative Code, and with the tax notices mailed in November 1997 for parcels of property not participating in the early baseline option, upon compliance with the requirements set forth in this subparagraph. The owner, lessee, or other appropriate interestholder shall file an application with the executive director of the district prior to July 1 for consideration of reduction to the minimum tax on the Everglades agricultural privilege tax roll to be certified for the tax notice mailed in November of the same calendar year and shall have the burden of proving the reduction in phosphorus load attributable to such parcel of property. The phosphorus load reduction for each discharge structure serving the parcel shall be measured as provided in chapter 40E-63, Florida Administrative Code, and the permit issued for such property pursuant to chapter 40E-63, Florida Administrative Code. A parcel of property which has achieved the following annual phosphorus load reduction standards shall have the minimum tax included on the annual tax notice mailed in November of the next ensuing calendar year: 30 percent or more for the tax notices mailed in November 1994 through November 1997; 35 percent or more for the tax notices mailed in November 1998 through November 2001; 40 percent or more for the tax notices mailed in November 2002 through November 2005; and 45 percent or more for the tax notices mailed in November 2006 through November 2013. In addition, any parcel of property that achieves an annual flow weighted mean concentration of 50 parts per billion (ppb) of phosphorus at each discharge structure serving the property for any year ending April 30 shall have the minimum tax included on the annual tax notice mailed in November of the next ensuing calendar year. Any annual phosphorus reductions that exceed the amount necessary to have the minimum tax included on the annual tax notice for any parcel of property shall be carried forward to the subsequent years’ phosphorus load reduction to determine if the minimum tax shall be included on the annual tax notice. The governing board of the district shall deny or grant the application by resolution adopted prior to or at the time of the adoption of its resolution certifying the annual Everglades agricultural privilege tax roll to the appropriate tax collector.

6. The annual Everglades agricultural privilege tax for the tax notices mailed in November 2014 and thereafter shall be $10 per acre.

(d) For purposes of this paragraph, “vegetable acreage” means, for each tax year, any portion of a parcel of property used for a period of not less than 8 months for the production of vegetable crops, including sweet corn, during the 12 months ended September 30 of the year preceding the tax year. Land preparation, crop rotation, and fallow periods shall not disqualify property from classification as vegetable acreage if such property is actually used for the production of vegetable crops.

1. It is hereby determined by the Legislature that vegetable farming in the EAA is subject to volatile market conditions and is particularly subject to crop loss or damage due to freezes, flooding, and drought. It is further determined by the Legislature that, due to the foregoing factors, imposition of an Everglades agricultural privilege tax upon vegetable acreage in excess of the minimum tax could create a severe economic hardship and impair the production of vegetable crops. Notwithstanding the schedule of Everglades agricultural privilege taxes set forth in subparagraph (c)1., the Everglades agricultural privilege tax for vegetable acreage shall be the minimum tax, and vegetable acreage shall not be entitled to any incentive credits.

2. If either the Governor, the President of the United States, or the United States Department of Agriculture declares the existence of a state of emergency or disaster resulting from extreme natural conditions impairing the ability of vegetable acreage to produce crops, payment of the Everglades agricultural privilege taxes imposed for the privilege of conducting an agricultural trade or business on such property shall be deferred for a period of 1 year, and all subsequent annual payments shall be deferred for the same period.

a. If the declaration occurs between April 1 and October 31, the Everglades agricultural privilege tax to be included on the next annual tax notice will be deferred to the subsequent annual tax notice.

b. If the declaration occurs between November 1 and March 31 and the Everglades agricultural privilege tax included on the most recent tax notice has not been paid, such Everglades agricultural privilege tax will be deferred to the next annual tax notice.

c. If the declaration occurs between November 1 and March 31 and the Everglades agricultural privilege tax included on the most recent tax notice has been paid, the Everglades agricultural privilege tax to be included on the next annual tax notice will be deferred to the subsequent annual tax notice.

3. In the event payment of Everglades agricultural privilege taxes is deferred pursuant to this paragraph, the district must record a notice in the official records of each county in which vegetable acreage subject to such deferment is located. The recorded notice must describe each parcel of property as to which Everglades agricultural privilege taxes have been deferred and the amount deferred for such property. If all or any portion of the property as to which Everglades agricultural privilege taxes have been deferred ceases to be classified as agricultural under the provisions of chapter 193 or otherwise subject to the Everglades agricultural privilege tax, all deferred amounts must be included on the tax notice for such property mailed in November of the first tax year for which such property is not subject to the Everglades agricultural privilege tax. After a property owner has paid all outstanding Everglades agricultural privilege taxes, including any deferred amounts, the district shall provide the property owner with a recordable instrument evidencing the payment of all outstanding amounts.

4. The owner, lessee, or other appropriate interestholder must file an application with the executive director of the district prior to July 1 for classification of a portion of the property as vegetable acreage on the Everglades agricultural privilege tax roll to be certified for the tax notice mailed in November of the same calendar year and shall have the burden of proving the number of acres used for the production of vegetable crops during the year in which incentive credits are determined and the period of such use. The governing board of the district shall deny or grant the application by resolution adopted prior to or at the time of the adoption of its resolution certifying the annual Everglades agricultural privilege tax roll to the appropriate tax collector.

5. This paragraph does not relieve vegetable acreage from the performance of best management practices specified in chapter 40E-63, Florida Administrative Code.

(e) If, for any tax year, the number of acres subject to the Everglades agricultural privilege tax is less than the number of acres included on the Everglades agricultural privilege tax roll certified for the tax notices mailed in November 1994, the minimum tax shall be subject to increase in the manner provided in this paragraph. In determining the number of acres subject to the Everglades agricultural privilege tax for purposes of this paragraph, property acquired by a not-for-profit entity for purposes of conservation and preservation, the United States, or the state, or any agency thereof, and removed from the Everglades agricultural privilege tax roll after January 1, 1994, shall be treated as subject to the tax even though no tax is imposed or due: in its entirety, for tax notices mailed prior to November 2000; to the extent its area exceeds 4 percent of the total area of property subject to the Everglades agricultural tax, for tax notices mailed in November 2000 through November 2005; and to the extent its area exceeds 8 percent of the total area of property subject to the Everglades agricultural tax, for tax notices mailed in November 2006 and thereafter. For each tax year, the district shall determine the amount, if any, by which the sum of the following exceeds $12,367,000:

1. The product of the minimum tax multiplied by the number of acres subject to the Everglades agricultural privilege tax; and

2. The ad valorem tax increment, as defined in this subparagraph.

The aggregate of such annual amounts, less any portion previously applied to eliminate or reduce future increases in the minimum tax, as described in this paragraph, shall be known as the “excess tax amount.” If for any tax year, the amount computed by multiplying the minimum tax by the number of acres then subject to the Everglades agricultural privilege tax is less than $12,367,000, the excess tax amount shall be applied in the following manner. If the excess tax amount exceeds such difference, an amount equal to the difference shall be deducted from the excess tax amount and applied to eliminate any increase in the minimum tax. If such difference exceeds the excess tax amount, the excess tax amount shall be applied to reduce any increase in the minimum tax. In such event, a new minimum tax shall be computed by subtracting the remaining excess tax amount from $12,367,000 and dividing the result by the number of acres subject to the Everglades agricultural privilege tax for such tax year. For purposes of this paragraph, the “ad valorem tax increment” means 50 percent of the difference between the amount of ad valorem taxes actually imposed by the district for the immediate prior tax year against property included on the Everglades agricultural privilege tax roll certified for the tax notices mailed in November 1994 that was not subject to the Everglades agricultural privilege tax during the immediate prior tax year and the amount of ad valorem taxes that would have been imposed against such property for the immediate prior tax year if the taxable value of each acre had been equal to the average taxable value of all other land classified as agricultural within the EAA for such year; however, the ad valorem tax increment for any year shall not exceed the amount that would have been derived from such property from imposition of the minimum tax during the immediate prior tax year.

(f) Any owner, lessee, or other appropriate interestholder of property subject to the Everglades agricultural privilege tax may contest the Everglades agricultural privilege tax by filing an action in circuit court.

1. No action may be brought to contest the Everglades agricultural privilege tax after 60 days from the date the tax notice that includes the Everglades agricultural privilege tax is mailed by the tax collector. Before an action to contest the Everglades agricultural privilege tax may be brought, the taxpayer shall pay to the tax collector the amount of the Everglades agricultural privilege tax which the taxpayer admits in good faith to be owing. The tax collector shall issue a receipt for the payment, and the receipt shall be filed with the complaint. Payment of an Everglades agricultural privilege tax shall not be deemed an admission that such tax was due and shall not prejudice the right to bring a timely action to challenge such tax and seek a refund. No action to contest the Everglades agricultural privilege tax may be maintained, and such action shall be dismissed, unless all Everglades agricultural privilege taxes imposed in years after the action is brought, which the taxpayer in good faith admits to be owing, are paid before they become delinquent. The requirements of this subparagraph are jurisdictional.

2. In any action involving a challenge of the Everglades agricultural privilege tax, the court shall assess all costs. If the court finds that the amount of tax owed by the taxpayer is greater than the amount the taxpayer has in good faith admitted and paid, it shall enter judgment against the taxpayer for the deficiency and for interest on the deficiency at the rate of 12 percent per year from the date the tax became delinquent. If it finds that the amount of tax which the taxpayer has admitted to be owing is grossly disproportionate to the amount of tax found to be due and that the taxpayer’s admission was not made in good faith, the court shall also assess a penalty at the rate of 25 percent of the deficiency per year from the date the tax became delinquent. The court may issue injunctions to restrain the sale of property for any Everglades agricultural privilege tax which appears to be contrary to law or equity.

(g) Notwithstanding any contrary provisions in chapter 120, or any provision of any other law, an action in circuit court shall be the exclusive remedy to challenge the assessment of an Everglades agricultural privilege tax and owners of property subject to the Everglades agricultural privilege tax shall have no right or standing to initiate administrative proceedings under chapter 120 to challenge the assessment of an Everglades agricultural privilege tax, including specifically, and without limitation, the annual certification by the district governing board of the Everglades agricultural privilege tax roll to the appropriate tax collector, the annual calculation of any incentive credit for phosphorus level reductions, the denial of an application for exclusion from the Everglades agricultural privilege tax, the calculation of the minimum tax adjustments provided in paragraph (e), the denial of an application for reduction to the minimum tax, and the denial of any application for classification as vegetable acreage, deferment of payment for vegetable acreage, or correction of any alleged error in the Everglades agricultural privilege tax roll.

(h) In recognition of the findings set forth in subsection (1), the Legislature finds that the assessment and use of the Everglades agricultural privilege tax is a matter of concern to all areas of Florida and the Legislature intends this act to be a general law authorization of the tax within the meaning of s. 9, Art. VII of the State Constitution.

(7) C-139 AGRICULTURAL PRIVILEGE TAX.–

(a) There is hereby imposed an annual C-139 agricultural privilege tax for the privilege of conducting an agricultural trade or business on:

1. All real property located within the C-139 Basin that is classified as agricultural under the provisions of chapter 193; and

2. Leasehold or other interests in real property located within the C-139 Basin owned by the United States, the state, or any agency thereof permitting the property to be used for agricultural purposes in a manner that would result in such property being classified as agricultural under the provisions of chapter 193 if not governmentally owned, whether or not such property is actually classified as agricultural under the provisions of chapter 193.

It is hereby determined by the Legislature that the privilege of conducting an agricultural trade or business on such property constitutes a reasonable basis for imposing the C-139 agricultural privilege tax and that logical differences exist between the agricultural use of such property and the use of other property within the C-139 Basin for residential or nonagricultural commercial use. The C-139 agricultural privilege tax shall constitute a lien against the property, or the leasehold or other interest in governmental property permitting such property to be used for agricultural purposes, described on the C-139 agricultural privilege tax roll. The lien shall be in effect from January 1 of the year the tax notice is mailed until discharged by payment and shall be equal in rank and dignity with the liens of all state, county, district, or municipal taxes and non-ad valorem assessments imposed pursuant to general law, special act, or local ordinance and shall be superior in dignity to all other liens, titles, and claims.

(b) The C-139 agricultural privilege tax, other than for leasehold or other interests in governmental property permitting such property to be used for agricultural purposes, shall be collected in the manner provided for ad valorem taxes. By September 15 of each year, the governing board of the district shall certify by resolution a C-139 agricultural privilege tax roll on compatible electronic medium to the tax collector of each county in which a portion of the C-139 Basin is located. The district shall also produce one copy of the roll in printed form which shall be available for inspection by the public. The district shall post the C-139 agricultural privilege tax for each parcel on the roll. The tax collector shall not accept any such roll that is not certified on compatible electronic medium and that does not contain the posting of the C-139 agricultural privilege tax for each parcel. It is the responsibility of the district that such rolls be free of errors and omissions. Alterations to such rolls may be made by the executive director of the district, or a designee, up to 10 days before certification. If the tax collector or any taxpayer discovers errors or omissions on such roll, such person may request the district to file a corrected roll or a correction of the amount of any C-139 agricultural privilege tax. Other than for leasehold or other interests in governmental property permitting such property to be used for agricultural purposes, C-139 agricultural privilege taxes collected pursuant to this section shall be included in the combined notice for ad valorem taxes and non-ad valorem assessments provided for in s. 197.3635. Such C-139 agricultural privilege taxes shall be listed in the portion of the combined notice utilized for non-ad valorem assessments. A separate mailing is authorized only as a solution to the most exigent factual circumstances. However, if a tax collector cannot merge a C-139 agricultural privilege tax roll to produce such a notice, the tax collector shall mail a separate notice of C-139 agricultural privilege taxes or shall direct the district to mail such a separate notice. In deciding whether a separate mailing is necessary, the tax collector shall consider all costs to the district and taxpayers of such a separate mailing and the adverse effects to the taxpayers of delayed and multiple notices. The district shall bear all costs associated with any separate notice. C-139 agricultural privilege taxes collected pursuant to this section shall be subject to all collection provisions of chapter 197, including provisions relating to discount for early payment, prepayment by installment method, deferred payment, penalty for delinquent payment, and issuance and sale of tax certificates and tax deeds for nonpayment. C-139 agricultural privilege taxes for leasehold or other interests in property owned by the United States, the state, or any agency thereof permitting such property to be used for agricultural purposes shall be included on the notice provided pursuant to s. 196.31, a copy of which shall be provided to lessees or other interestholders registering with the district, and shall be collected from the lessee or other appropriate interestholder and remitted to the district immediately upon collection. C-139 agricultural privilege taxes included on the statement provided pursuant to s. 196.31 shall be due and collected on or prior to the next April 1 following provision of the notice. Proceeds of the C-139 agricultural privilege taxes shall be distributed by the tax collector to the district. Each tax collector shall be paid a commission equal to the actual cost of collection, not to exceed 2 percent, on the amount of C-139 agricultural privilege taxes collected and remitted. Notwithstanding any general law or special act to the contrary, C-139 agricultural privilege taxes shall not be included on the notice of proposed property taxes provided in s. 200.069.

(c) The initial C-139 agricultural privilege tax roll shall be certified for the tax notices mailed in November 1994. The C-139 agricultural privilege taxes for the tax notices mailed in November 1994 through November 2013 shall be computed by dividing $654,656 by the number of acres included on the C-139 agricultural privilege tax roll for such year, excluding any property located within the C-139 Annex. The C-139 agricultural privilege taxes for the tax notices mailed in November 2014 and thereafter shall be $1.80 per acre.

(d) For purposes of this paragraph, “vegetable acreage” means, for each tax year, any portion of a parcel of property used for a period of not less than 8 months for the production of vegetable crops, including sweet corn, during the 12 months ended September 30 of the year preceding the tax year. Land preparation, crop rotation, and fallow periods shall not disqualify property from classification as vegetable acreage if such property is actually used for the production of vegetable crops.

1. If either the Governor, the President of the United States, or the United States Department of Agriculture declares the existence of a state of emergency or disaster resulting from extreme natural conditions impairing the ability of vegetable acreage to produce crops, payment of the C-139 agricultural privilege taxes imposed for the privilege of conducting an agricultural trade or business on such property shall be deferred for a period of 1 year, and all subsequent annual payments shall be deferred for the same period.

a. If the declaration occurs between April 1 and October 31, the C-139 agricultural privilege tax to be included on the next annual tax notice will be deferred to the subsequent annual tax notice.

b. If the declaration occurs between November 1 and March 31 and the C-139 agricultural privilege tax included on the most recent tax notice has not been paid, such C-139 agricultural privilege tax will be deferred to the next annual tax notice.

c. If the declaration occurs between November 1 and March 31 and the C-139 agricultural privilege tax included on the most recent tax notice has been paid, the C-139 agricultural privilege tax to be included on the next annual tax notice will be deferred to the subsequent annual tax notice.

2. In the event payment of C-139 agricultural privilege taxes is deferred pursuant to this paragraph, the district must record a notice in the official records of each county in which vegetable acreage subject to such deferment is located. The recorded notice must describe each parcel of property as to which C-139 agricultural privilege taxes have been deferred and the amount deferred for such property. If all or any portion of the property as to which C-139 agricultural privilege taxes have been deferred ceases to be classified as agricultural under the provisions of chapter 193 or otherwise subject to the C-139 agricultural privilege tax, all deferred amounts must be included on the tax notice for such property mailed in November of the first tax year for which such property is not subject to the C-139 agricultural privilege tax. After a property owner has paid all outstanding C-139 agricultural privilege taxes, including any deferred amounts, the district shall provide the property owner with a recordable instrument evidencing the payment of all outstanding amounts.

3. The owner, lessee, or other appropriate interestholder shall file an application with the executive director of the district prior to July 1 for classification of a portion of the property as vegetable acreage on the C-139 agricultural privilege tax roll to be certified for the tax notice mailed in November of the same calendar year and shall have the burden of proving the number of acres used for the production of vegetable crops during the year in which incentive credits are determined and the period of such use. The governing board of the district shall deny or grant the application by resolution adopted prior to or at the time of the adoption of its resolution certifying the annual C-139 agricultural privilege tax roll to the appropriate tax collector.

4. This paragraph does not relieve vegetable acreage from the performance of best management practices specified in chapter 40E-63, Florida Administrative Code.

(e) Any owner, lessee, or other appropriate interestholder of property subject to the C-139 agricultural privilege tax may contest the C-139 agricultural privilege tax by filing an action in circuit court.

1. No action may be brought to contest the C-139 agricultural privilege tax after 60 days from the date the tax notice that includes the C-139 agricultural privilege tax is mailed by the tax collector. Before an action to contest the C-139 agricultural privilege tax may be brought, the taxpayer shall pay to the tax collector the amount of the C-139 agricultural privilege tax which the taxpayer admits in good faith to be owing. The tax collector shall issue a receipt for the payment and the receipt shall be filed with the complaint. Payment of an C-139 agricultural privilege tax shall not be deemed an admission that such tax was due and shall not prejudice the right to bring a timely action to challenge such tax and seek a refund. No action to contest the C-139 agricultural privilege tax may be maintained, and such action shall be dismissed, unless all C-139 agricultural privilege taxes imposed in years after the action is brought, which the taxpayer in good faith admits to be owing, are paid before they become delinquent. The requirements of this paragraph are jurisdictional.

2. In any action involving a challenge of the C-139 agricultural privilege tax, the court shall assess all costs. If the court finds that the amount of tax owed by the taxpayer is greater than the amount the taxpayer has in good faith admitted and paid, it shall enter judgment against the taxpayer for the deficiency and for interest on the deficiency at the rate of 12 percent per year from the date the tax became delinquent. If it finds that the amount of tax which the taxpayer has admitted to be owing is grossly disproportionate to the amount of tax found to be due and that the taxpayer’s admission was not made in good faith, the court shall also assess a penalty at the rate of 25 percent of the deficiency per year from the date the tax became delinquent. The court may issue injunctions to restrain the sale of property for any C-139 agricultural privilege tax which appears to be contrary to law or equity.

(f) Notwithstanding any contrary provisions in chapter 120, or any provision of any other law, an action in circuit court shall be the exclusive remedy to challenge the assessment of an C-139 agricultural privilege tax and owners of property subject to the C-139 agricultural privilege tax shall have no right or standing to initiate administrative proceedings under chapter 120 to challenge the assessment of an C-139 agricultural privilege tax including specifically, and without limitation, the annual certification by the district governing board of the C-139 agricultural privilege tax roll to the appropriate tax collector, the denial of an application for exclusion from the C-139 agricultural privilege tax, and the denial of any application for classification as vegetable acreage, deferment of payment for vegetable acreage, or correction of any alleged error in the C-139 agricultural privilege tax roll.

(g) In recognition of the findings set forth in subsection (1), the Legislature finds that the assessment and use of the C-139 agricultural privilege tax is a matter of concern to all areas of Florida and the Legislature intends this section to be a general law authorization of the tax within the meaning of s. 9, Art. VII of the State Constitution.

(8) SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS.–

(a) In addition to any other legally available funding mechanism, the district may create, alone or in cooperation with counties, municipalities, and special districts pursuant to s. 163.01, the Florida Interlocal Cooperation Act of 1969, one or more stormwater management system benefit areas including property located outside the EAA and the C-139 Basin, and property located within the EAA and the C-139 Basin that is not subject to the Everglades agricultural privilege tax or the C-139 agricultural privilege tax. The district may levy special assessments within said benefit areas to fund the planning, acquisition, construction, financing, operation, maintenance, and administration of stormwater management systems for the benefited areas. Any benefit area in which property owners receive substantially different levels of stormwater management system benefits shall include stormwater management system benefit subareas within which different per acreage assessments shall be levied from subarea to subarea based upon a reasonable relationship to benefits received. The assessments shall be calculated to generate sufficient funds to plan, acquire, construct, finance, operate, and maintain the stormwater management systems authorized pursuant to this section.

(b) The district may use the non-ad valorem levy, collection, and enforcement method as provided in chapter 197 for assessments levied pursuant to paragraph (a).

(c) The district shall publish notice of the certification of the non-ad valorem assessment roll pursuant to chapter 197 in a newspaper of general circulation in the counties wherein the assessment is being levied, within 1 week after the district certifies the non-ad valorem assessment roll to the tax collector pursuant to s. 197.3632(5). The assessments levied pursuant to paragraph (a) shall be final and conclusive as to each lot or parcel unless the owner thereof shall, within 90 days of certification of the non-ad valorem assessment roll pursuant to s. 197.3632(5), commence an action in circuit court. Absent such commencement of an action within such period of time by an owner of a lot or parcel, such owner shall thereafter be estopped to raise any question related to the special benefit afforded the property or the reasonableness of the amount of the assessment. Except with respect to an owner who has commenced such an action, the non-ad valorem assessment roll as finally adopted and certified by the South Florida Water Management District to the tax collector pursuant to s. 197.3632(5) shall be competent and sufficient evidence that the assessments were duly levied and that all other proceedings adequate to the adoption of the non-ad valorem assessment roll were duly held, taken, and performed as required by s. 197.3632. If any assessment is abated in whole or in part by the court, the amount by which the assessment is so reduced may, by resolution of the governing board of the district, be payable from funds of the district legally available for that purpose, or at the discretion of the governing board of the district, assessments may be increased in the manner provided in s. 197.3632.

(d) In no event shall the amount of funds collected for stormwater management facilities pursuant to paragraph (a) exceed the cost of providing water management attributable to water quality treatment resulting from the operation of stormwater management systems of the landowners to be assessed. Such water quality treatment may be required by the plan or permits issued by the district. Prior to the imposition of assessments pursuant to paragraph (a) for construction of new stormwater management systems or the acquisition of necessary land, the district shall establish the general purpose, design, and function of the new system sufficient to make a fair and reasonable determination of the estimated costs of water management attributable to water quality treatment resulting from operation of stormwater management systems of the landowners to be assessed. This determination shall establish the proportion of the total anticipated costs attributable to the landowners. In determining the costs to be imposed by assessments, the district shall consider the extent to which nutrients originate from external sources beyond the control of the landowners to be assessed. Costs for hydroperiod restoration within the Everglades Protection Area shall be provided by funds other than those derived from the assessments. The proportion of total anticipated costs attributable to the landowners shall be apportioned to individual landowners considering the factors specified in paragraph (e). Any determination made pursuant to this paragraph or paragraph (e) may be included in the plan or permits issued by the district.

(e) In determining the amount of any assessment imposed on an individual landowner under paragraph (a), the district shall consider the quality and quantity of the stormwater discharged by the landowner, the amount of treatment provided to the landowner, and whether the landowner has provided equivalent treatment or retention prior to discharge to the district’s system.

(f) No assessment shall be imposed under this section for the operation or maintenance of a stormwater management system or facility for which construction has been completed on or before July 1, 1991, except to the extent that the operation or maintenance, or any modification of such system or facility, is required to provide water quality treatment.

(g) The district shall suspend, terminate, or modify projects and funding for such projects, as appropriate, if the projects are not achieving applicable goals specified in the plan.

(h) The Legislature hereby determines that any property owner who contributes to the need for stormwater management systems and programs, as determined for each individual property owner either through the plan or through permits issued to the district or to the property owner, is deemed to benefit from such systems and programs, and such benefits are deemed to be directly proportional to the relative contribution of the property owner to such need. The Legislature also determines that the issuance of a master permit provides benefits, through the opportunity to achieve collective compliance, for all persons within the area of the master permit which may be considered by the district in the imposition of assessments under this section.

(9) PERMITS.–

(a) The Legislature finds that construction and operation of the Everglades Construction Project will benefit the water resources of the district and is consistent with the public interest. The district shall construct, maintain, and operate the Everglades Construction Project in accordance with this section.

(b) The Legislature finds that there is an immediate need to initiate cleanup and restoration of the Everglades Protection Area through the Everglades Construction Project. In recognition of this need, the district may begin construction of the Everglades Construction Project prior to final agency action, or notice of intended agency action, on any permit from the department under this section.

(c) The department may issue permits to the district to construct, operate, and maintain the Everglades Construction Project based on the criteria set forth in this section. The permits to be issued by the department to the district under this section shall be in lieu of other permits under this part or 2part VIII of chapter 403, 1992 Supplement to the Florida Statutes 1991.

(d) By June 1, 1994, the district shall apply to the department for a permit or permits for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Everglades Construction Project. The district may comply with this paragraph by amending its pending Everglades permit application.

(e) The department shall issue a permit for a term of 5 years for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Everglades Construction Project upon the district’s providing reasonable assurances that:

1. The project will be constructed, operated, and maintained in accordance with the Everglades Construction Project;

2. The BMP program set forth in paragraph (4)(f) has been implemented; and

3. The final design of the Everglades Construction Project shall minimize wetland impacts, to the maximum extent practicable and consistent with the Everglades Construction Project.

(f) At least 60 days prior to the expiration of any permit issued under this section, the district may apply for renewal for a period of 5 years.

(g) Permits issued under this section may include any standard conditions provided by department rule which are appropriate and consistent with this section.

(h) Discharges shall be allowed, provided the STAs are operated in accordance with this section, if, after a stabilization period:

1. The STAs achieve the design objectives of the Everglades Construction Project for phosphorus;

2. For water quality parameters other than phosphorus, the quality of water discharged from the STAs is of equal or better quality than inflows; and

3. Discharges from STAs do not pose a serious danger to the public health, safety, or welfare.

(i) The district may discharge from any STA into waters of the state upon issuance of final agency action authorizing such action or in accordance with s. 373.439.

(j)1. Modifications to the Everglades Construction Project shall be submitted to the department for a determination as to whether permit modification is necessary. The department shall notify the district within 30 days after receiving the submittal as to whether permit modification is necessary.

2. The Legislature recognizes that technological advances may occur during the construction of the Everglades Construction Project. If superior technology becomes available in the future which can be implemented to more effectively meet the intent and purposes of this section, the district is authorized to pursue that alternative through permit modification to the department. The department may issue or modify a permit provided that the alternative is demonstrated to be superior at achieving the restoration goals of the Everglades Construction Project considering:

a. Levels of load reduction;

b. Levels of discharge concentration reduction;

c. Water quantity, distribution, and timing for the Everglades Protection Area;

d. Compliance with water quality standards;

e. Compatibility of treated water with the balance in natural populations of aquatic flora or fauna in the Everglades Protection Area;

f. Cost-effectiveness; and

g. The schedule for implementation.

Upon issuance of permit modifications by the department, the district is authorized to use available funds to finance the modification.

3. The district shall modify projects of the Everglades Construction Project, as appropriate, if the projects are not achieving the design objectives. Modifications that are inconsistent with the permit shall require a permit modification from the department. Modifications which substitute the treatment technology must meet the requirements of subparagraph 2. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the district from refining or modifying the final design of the project based upon the February 14, 1994, conceptual design document in accordance with standard engineering practices.

(k) By October 1, 1994, the district shall apply for a permit under this section to operate and maintain discharge structures within the control of the district which discharge into, within, or from the Everglades Protection Area and are not included in the Everglades Construction Project. The district may comply with this subsection by amending its pending permit application regarding these structures. In addition to the requirements of ss. 373.413 and 373.416, the application shall include the following:

1. Schedules and strategies for:

a. Achieving and maintaining water quality standards;

b. Evaluation of existing programs, permits, and water quality data;

c. Acquisition of lands and construction and operation of water treatment facilities, if appropriate, together with development of funding mechanisms; and

d. Development of a regulatory program to improve water quality, including identification of structures or systems requiring permits or modifications of existing permits.

2. A monitoring program to ensure the accuracy of data and measure progress toward achieving compliance with water quality standards.

(l) The department shall issue one or more permits for a term of 5 years for the operation and maintenance of structures identified by the district in paragraph (k) upon the district’s demonstration of reasonable assurance that those elements identified in paragraph (k) will provide compliance with water quality standards to the maximum extent practicable and otherwise comply with the provisions of ss. 373.413 and 373.416. The department shall take agency action on the permit application by October 1, 1996. At least 60 days prior to the expiration of any permit, the district may apply for a renewal thereof for a period of 5 years.

(m) The district may apply for modification of any permit issued pursuant to this subsection, including superior technology in accordance with the procedures set forth in this subsection.

(n) The district also shall apply for a permit or modification of an existing permit, as provided in this subsection, for any new structure or for any modification of an existing structure.

(o) Except as otherwise provided in this section, nothing in this subsection shall relieve any person from the need to obtain any permit required by the department or the district pursuant to any other provision of law.

(p) The district shall publish notice of rulemaking pursuant to chapter 120 by October 1, 1991, allowing for a master permit or permits authorizing discharges from landowners within that area served by structures identified as S-5A, S-6, S-7, S-8, and S-150. For discharges within this area, the district shall not initiate any proceedings to require new permits or permit modifications for nutrient limitations prior to the adoption of the master permit rule by the governing board of the district or prior to April 1, 1992, whichever first occurs. The district’s rules shall also establish conditions or requirements allowing for a single master permit for the Everglades Agricultural Area including those structures and water releases subject to chapter 40E-61, Florida Administrative Code. No later than the adoption of rules allowing for a single master permit, the department and the district shall provide appropriate procedures for incorporating into a master permit separate permits issued by the department under this chapter. The district’s rules authorizing master permits for the Everglades Agricultural Area shall provide requirements consistent with this section and with interim or other permits issued by the department to the district. Such a master permit shall not preclude the requirement that individual permits be obtained for persons within the master permit area for activities not authorized by, or not in compliance with, the master permit. Nothing in this subsection shall limit the authority of the department or district to enforce existing permit requirements or existing rules, to require permits for new structures, or to develop rules for master permits for other areas. To the greatest extent possible the department shall delegate to the district any authority necessary to implement this subsection which is not already delegated.

(10) LONG-TERM COMPLIANCE PERMITS.–By December 31, 2006, the department and the district shall take such action as may be necessary so that water delivered to the Everglades Protection Area achieves state water quality standards, including the phosphorus criterion, in all parts of the Everglades Protection Area.

(a) By December 31, 2003, the district shall submit to the department a permit modification to incorporate proposed changes to the Everglades Construction Project and the permits issued pursuant to subsection (9). These changes shall be designed to achieve compliance with the phosphorus criterion and the other state water quality standards by December 31, 2006.

(b) If the Everglades Construction Project or other discharges to the Everglades Protection Area are not in compliance with state water quality standards, the permit application shall include:

1. A plan for achieving compliance with the phosphorus criterion in the Everglades Protection Area.

2. A plan for achieving compliance in the Everglades Protection Area with state water quality standards other than the phosphorus criterion.

3. Proposed cost estimates for the plans referred to in subparagraphs 1. and 2.

4. Proposed funding mechanisms for the plans referred to in subparagraphs 1. and 2.

5. Proposed schedules for implementation of the plans referred to in subparagraphs 1. and 2.

(c) If the Everglades Construction Project or other discharges to the Everglades Protection Area are in compliance with state water quality standards, including the phosphorus criterion, the permit application shall include:

1. A plan for maintaining compliance with the phosphorus criterion in the Everglades Protection Area.

2. A plan for maintaining compliance in the Everglades Protection Area with state water quality standards other than the phosphorus criterion.

(11) APPLICABILITY OF LAWS AND WATER QUALITY STANDARDS; AUTHORITY OF DISTRICT AND DEPARTMENT.–

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, nothing in this section shall be construed:

1. As altering any applicable state water quality standards, laws, or district or department rules in areas impacted by this section; or

2. To restrict the authority otherwise granted the department and the district pursuant to this chapter or chapter 403, and provisions of this section shall be deemed supplemental to the authority granted pursuant to this chapter and chapter 403.

(b) Mixing zones, variances, and moderating provisions, or relief mechanisms for compliance with water quality standards as provided by department rules, shall not be permitted for discharges which are subject to paragraph (4)(f) and subject to this section, except that site specific alternative criteria may be allowed for nonphosphorus parameters if the applicant shows entitlement under applicable law. After December 31, 2006, all such relief mechanisms may be allowed for nonphosphorus parameters if otherwise provided for by applicable law.

(c) Those landowners or permittees who are not in compliance as provided in paragraph (4)(f) must meet a discharge limit for phosphorus of 50 parts per billion (ppb) unless and until some other limit has been established by department rule or order or operation of paragraph (4)(e).

(12) RIGHTS OF SEMINOLE TRIBE OF FLORIDA.–Nothing in this section is intended to diminish or alter the governmental authority and powers of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, or diminish or alter the rights of that tribe, including, but not limited to, rights under the Water Rights Compact among the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the state, and the South Florida Water Management District as enacted by Pub. L. No. 100-228, 101 Stat. 1556, and chapter 87-292, Laws of Florida, and codified in s. 285.165, and rights under any other agreement between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the state or its agencies. No land of the Seminole Tribe of Florida shall be used for stormwater treatment without the consent of the tribe.

(13) ANNUAL REPORTS.–Beginning January 1, 1992, the district shall submit to the department, the Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate, and the Minority Leader of the Senate annual progress reports regarding implementation of the section. The annual report will include a summary of the water conditions in the Everglades Protection Area, the status of the impacted areas, the status of the construction of the STAs, the implementation of the BMPs, and actions taken to monitor and control exotic species. The district must prepare the report in coordination with federal and state agencies.

(14) EVERGLADES FUND.–The South Florida Water Management District is directed to separately account for all moneys used for the purpose of funding the Everglades Construction Project.

(15) DEFINITION OF EVERGLADES AGRICULTURAL AREA.–As used in this section, “Everglades Agricultural Area” or “EAA” means the following described property: BEGINNING at the intersection of the North line of Section 2, Township 41, Range 37 East, with the Easterly right-of-way line of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Levee D-9, in Palm Beach County, Florida; thence, easterly along said North line of said Section 2 to the Northeast corner of said Section 2; thence, northerly along the West line of Section 36, Township 40 South, Range 37 East, to the West one-quarter corner of said Section 36; thence, easterly along the East-West half section line of said Section 36 to the center of said Section 36; thence northerly along the North-South half section line of said Section 36 to the North one-quarter corner of said Section 36, said point being on the line between Palm Beach and Martin Counties; thence, easterly along said North line of said Section 36 and said line between Palm Beach and Martin Counties to the Westerly right-of-way line of the South Florida Water Management District’s Levee 8 North Tieback; thence, southerly along said Westerly right-of-way line of said Levee 8 North Tieback to the Southerly right-of-way line of South Florida Water Management District’s Levee 8 at a point near the Northeast corner of Section 12, Township 41 South, Range 37 East; thence, easterly along said Southerly right-of-way line of said Levee 8 to a point in Section 7, Township 41 South, Range 38 East, where said right-of-way line turns southeasterly; thence, southeasterly along the Southwesterly right-of-way line of said Levee 8 to a point near the South line of Section 8, Township 43 South, Range 40 East, where said right-of-way line turns southerly; thence, southerly along the Westerly right-of-way line of said Levee 8 to the Northerly right-of-way line of State Road 80, in Section 32, Township 43 South, Range 40 East; thence, westerly along the Northerly right-of-way line of said State Road 80 to the northeasterly extension of the Northwesterly right-of-way line of South Florida Water Management District’s Levee 7; thence, southwesterly along said northeasterly extension, and along the northwesterly right-of-way line of said Levee 7 to a point near the Northwest corner of Section 3, Township 45 South, Range 39 East, where said right-of-way turns southerly; thence, southerly along the Westerly right-of-way line of said Levee 7 to the Northwesterly right-of-way line of South Florida Water Management District’s Levee 6, on the East line of Section 4, Township 46 South, Range 39 East; thence, southwesterly along the Northwesterly right-of-way line of said Levee 6 to the Northerly right-of-way line of South Florida Water Management District’s Levee 5, near the Southwest corner of Section 22, Township 47 South, Range 38 East; thence, westerly along said Northerly right-of-way lines of said Levee 5 and along the Northerly right-of-way line of South Florida Water Management District’s Levee 4 to the Northeasterly right-of-way line of South Florida Water Management District’s Levee 3 and the Northeast corner of Section 12, Township 48 South, Range 34 East; thence, northwesterly along said Northeasterly right-of-way line of said Levee 3 to a point near the Southwest corner of Section 9, Township 47 South, Range 34 East, where said right-of-way line turns northerly; thence, northerly along the Easterly right-of-way lines of said Levee 3 and South Florida Water Management District’s Levee 2 to the southerly line of Section 4, Township 46 South, Range 34 East; thence, easterly along said southerly line of said Section 4 to the Southeast corner of said Section 4; thence, northerly along the East lines of said Section 4 and Section 33, Township 45 South, Range 34 East, to the Northeast corner of said Section 33; thence, westerly along the North line of said Section 33 to said Easterly right-of-way line of said Levee 2; thence, northerly along said Easterly right-of-way lines of said Levee 2 and South Florida Water Management District’s Levee 1, to the North line of Section 16, Township 44 South, Range 34 East; thence, easterly along the North lines of said Section 16 and Section 15, Township 44 South, Range 34 East, to the Northeast corner of said Section 15; thence, northerly along the West lines of Section 11 and Section 2, Township 44 South, Range 34 East, and the West lines of Section 35, Section 26 and Section 23, Township 43 South, Range 34 East to a point 25 feet north of the West quarter-corner (W1/4) of said Section 23; thence, easterly along a line that is 25 feet north and parallel to the East-West half section line of said Section 23 and Section 24 to a point that is 25 feet north of the center of said Section 24; thence, northerly along the North-South half section lines of said Section 24 and Section 13, Township 43 South, Range 34 East, to the intersection with the North right-of-way line of State Road 80A (old U.S. Highway 27); thence, westerly along said North right-of-way line of said State Road 80A (old U.S. Highway 27) to the intersection with the Southerly right-of-way line of State Road 80; thence, easterly along said Southerly right-of-way line of said State Road 80 to the intersection with the North line of Section 19, Township 43 South, Range 35 East; thence, easterly along said North line of said Section 19 to the intersection with Southerly right-of-way of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Levee D-2; thence, easterly along said Southerly right-of-way of said Levee D-2 to the intersection with the north right-of-way line of State Road 80 (new U.S. Highway 27); thence, easterly along said North right-of-way line of said State Road 80 (new U.S. Highway 27) to the East right-of-way line of South Florida Water Management District’s Levee 25 (Miami Canal); thence, North along said East right-of-way line of said Levee 25 to the said south right-of-way line of said Levee D-2; thence, easterly and northeasterly along said Southerly and Easterly right-of-way lines of said Levee D-2 and said Levee D-9 to the point of beginning.

3(16) DEFINITION OF C-139 BASIN.–For purposes of this section:

(a) “C-139 Basin” or “Basin” means the following described property: beginning at the intersection of an easterly extension of the south bank of Deer Fence Canal with the center line of South Florida Water Management District’s Levee 3 in Section 33, Township 46 South, Range 34 East, Hendry County, Florida; thence, westerly along said easterly extension and along the South bank of said Deer Fence Canal to where it intersects the center line of State Road 846 in Section 33, Township 46 South, Range 32 East; thence, departing from said top of bank to the center line of said State Road 846, westerly along said center line of said State Road 846 to the West line of Section 4, Township 47 South, Range 31 East; thence, northerly along the West line of said section 4, and along the west lines of Sections 33 and 28, Township 46 South, Range 31 East, to the northwest corner of said Section 28; thence, easterly along the North line of said Section 28 to the North one-quarter (N1/4) corner of said Section 28; thence, northerly along the West line of the Southeast one-quarter (SE1/4) of Section 21, Township 46 South, Range 31 East, to the northwest corner of said Southeast one-quarter (SE1/4) of Section 21; thence, easterly along the North line of said Southeast one-quarter (SE1/4) of Section 21 to the northeast corner of said Southeast one-quarter (SE1/4) of Section 21; thence, northerly along the East line of said Section 21 and the East line of Section 16, Township 46 South, Range 31, East, to the northeast corner thereof; thence, westerly along the North line of said Section 16, to the northwest corner thereof; thence, northerly along the West line of Sections 9 and 4, Township 46 South, Range 31, East, to the northwest corner of said Section 4; thence, westerly along the North lines of Section 5 and Section 6, Township 46 South, Range 31 East, to the South one-quarter (S1/4) corner of Section 31, Township 45 South, Range 31 East; thence, northerly to the South one-quarter (S1/4) corner of Section 30, Township 45 South, Range 31 East; thence, easterly along the South line of said Section 30 and the South lines of Sections 29 and 28, Township 45 South, Range 31 East, to the Southeast corner of said Section 28; thence, northerly along the East line of said Section 28 and the East lines of Sections 21 and 16, Township 45 South, Range 31 East, to the Northwest corner of the Southwest one-quarter of the Southwest one-quarter (SW1/4 of the SW 1/4) of Section 15, Township 45 South, Range 31 East; thence, northeasterly to the east one-quarter (E1/4) corner of Section 15, Township 45 South, Range 31 East; thence, northerly along the East line of said Section 15, and the East line of Section 10, Township 45 South, Range 31 East, to the center line of a road in the Northeast one-quarter (NE1/4) of said Section 10; thence, generally easterly and northeasterly along the center line of said road to its intersection with the center line of State Road 832; thence, easterly along said center line of said State Road 832 to its intersection with the center line of State Road 833; thence, northerly along said center line of said State Road 833 to the north line of Section 9, Township 44 South, Range 32 East; thence, easterly along the North line of said Section 9 and the north lines of Sections 10, 11 and 12, Township 44 South, Range 32 East, to the northeast corner of Section 12, Township 44 South, Range 32 East; thence, easterly along the North line of Section 7, Township 44 South, Range 33 East, to the center line of Flaghole Drainage District Levee, as it runs to the east near the northwest corner of said Section 7, Township 44 South, Range 33 East; thence, easterly along said center line of the Flaghole Drainage District Levee to where it meets the center line of South Florida Water Management District’s Levee 1 at Flag Hole Road; thence, continue easterly along said center line of said Levee 1 to where it turns south near the Northwest corner of Section 12, Township 44 South, Range 33 East; thence, Southerly along said center line of said Levee 1 to where the levee turns east near the Southwest corner of said Section 12; thence, easterly along said center line of said Levee 1 to where it turns south near the Northeast corner of Section 17, Township 44 South, Range 34 East; thence, southerly along said center line of said Levee 1 and the center line of South Florida Water Management District’s Levee 2 to the intersection with the north line of Section 33, Township 45 South, Range 34 East; thence, easterly along the north line of said Section 33 to the northeast corner of said Section 33; thence, southerly along the east line of said Section 33 to the southeast corner of said Section 33; thence, southerly along the east line of Section 4, Township 46 South, Range 34 East to the southeast corner of said Section 4; thence, westerly along the south line of said Section 4 to the intersection with the centerline of South Florida Water Management District’s Levee 2; thence, southerly along said Levee 2 centerline and South Florida Water Management District’s Levee 3 centerline to the POINT OF BEGINNING.

(b) If the district issues permits in accordance with all applicable rules allowing water from the “C-139 Annex” to flow into the drainage system for the C-139 Basin, the C-139 Annex shall be added to the C-139 Basin for all tax years thereafter, commencing with the next C-139 agricultural privilege tax roll certified after issuance of such permits. “C-139 Annex” means the following described property: that part of the S.E. 1/4 of Section 32, Township 46 South, Range 34 East and that portion of Sections 5 and 6, Township 47 South, Range 34 East lying west of the L-3 Canal and South of the Deer Fence Canal; all of Sections 7, 17, 18, 19, 20, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, and 34, and that portion of Sections 8, 9, 16, 21, 22, 26, 27, 35, and 36 lying south and west of the L-3 Canal, in Township 47 South, Range 34 East; and all of Sections 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, and 11 and that portion of Section 1 lying south and west of the L-3 Canal all in Township 48 South, Range 34 East.

(17) SHORT TITLE.–This section shall be known as the “Everglades Forever Act.”

History.–s. 2, ch. 91-80; ss. 1, 2, ch. 94-115; s. 273, ch. 94-356; s. 171, ch. 99-13.

1Note.–Repealed by s. 38, ch. 99-247.

2Note.–Sections 403.91-403.938 comprised part VIII of ch. 403 in 1992. Except for s. 403.927 and ss. 403.93-403.958, these sections were repealed by ss. 45, 46, ch. 93-213, or s. 18, ch. 95-145. Sections 403.93-403.936 were repealed by s. 13, ch. 95-299. The two remaining sections from former part VIII as it was constituted in 1992, ss. 403.927 and 403.938 (transferred to s. 403.9333 by s. 12, ch. 95-299), are located in part VII of ch. 403.

3Note.–Section 3, ch. 96-412, provides that “[n]otwithstanding s. 373.4592(16), to the contrary, Sections 21, 28, and 33, Township 46 South, Range 31 East shall not be included within the boundary of the C-139 Basin.” Section 84, ch. 96-321, contains a substantially similar provision.

373.45922 South Florida Water Management District; permit for completion of Everglades Construction Project; report.–Within 60 days after receipt of any permit issued pursuant to s. 404 of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. s. 1344, for the completion of the Everglades Construction Project, as defined by s. 373.4592(2)(f), the South Florida Water Management District shall submit a report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives that details the differences between the permit and the Everglades Program as defined by s. 373.4592(2)(g) and identifies any changes to the schedule or funding for the Everglades Program that result from the permit. The South Florida Water Management District shall include in the report a complete chronological record of any negotiations related to conditions included in the permit. Such record shall be documented by inclusion of all relevant correspondence in the report. If any condition of the permit affects the schedule or costs of the Everglades Construction Project, the South Florida Water Management District shall include in the report a detailed explanation of why the condition was imposed and a detailed analysis of whether the condition would promote or hinder the progress of the project.

History.–s. 3, ch. 97-258.

373.45924 South Florida Water Management District; Everglades truth in borrowing.–

(1) Definitions.–As used in this section, unless the context otherwise indicates:

(a) “Debt” means any evidence of indebtedness, including, but not limited to, an agreement to pay principal and any interest thereon, whether in the form of a contract to repay borrowed money or otherwise, and includes moneys borrowed from any source that are directed to a purpose for which they were not originally budgeted.

(b) “District” means the South Florida Water Management District.

(c) “Interest” means the compensation for the use or detention of money or its equivalent.

(d) “Interest rate” means the annual percentage of the outstanding debt or obligation payable as interest.

(e) “Obligation” means an agreement to pay principal and interest thereon, other than a debt, whether in the form of a lease, lease-purchase, installment purchase, or otherwise, and includes a share, participation, or other interest in any such agreement.

(f) “Outstanding debt” means any debt or obligation of which the principal has not been paid or for which an amount sufficient to provide for the payment of such debt or obligation and the interest on such debt or obligation to the maturity or early redemption of such debt or obligation has not been set aside for the benefit of the holders of such debt or obligation.

(g) “Principal” means the face value of the debt or obligation proposed to be issued or incurred.

(2) Whenever the South Florida Water Management District proposes to borrow or to otherwise finance with debt any fixed capital outlay projects or operating capital outlay for purposes pursuant to s. 373.4592, it shall develop the following documents to explain the issuance of a debt or obligation:

(a) A summary of outstanding debt, including borrowing.

(b) A statement of proposed financing, which shall include the following items:

1. A listing of the purpose of the debt or obligation.

2. The source of repayment of the debt or obligation.

3. The principal amount of the debt or obligation.

4. The interest rate on the debt or obligation.

5. A schedule of annual debt service payments for each proposed debt or obligation.

(c) A truth-in-borrowing statement, developed from the information compiled pursuant to this section, in substantially the following form:

The South Florida Water Management District is proposing to incur $ (insert principal) of debt or obligation through borrowing for the purpose of (insert purpose) . This debt or obligation is expected to be repaid over a period of (insert term of issue from subparagraph (b)5.) years from the following sources: (list sources) . At a forecasted interest rate of (insert rate of interest from subparagraph (b)4.) , total interest paid over the life of the debt or obligation will be $ (insert sum of interest payments) .

The truth-in-borrowing statement shall be published as a notice in one or more newspapers having a combined general circulation in the counties having land in the district. Such notice must be at least 6 inches square in size and shall not be placed in that portion of the newspaper where legal notices and classified advertisements appear.

History.–s. 4, ch. 97-258.

373.45926 Everglades Trust Fund; allocation of revenues and expenditure of funds for conservation and protection of natural resources and abatement of water pollution.–

(1) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND INTENT.–The Legislature finds and declares the following:

(a) The Everglades ecological system is unique in the world and one of Florida’s great treasures. The Legislature has responded to adverse changes in water quality, and in quantity, distribution, and timing of flows, that endanger the Everglades ecological system, by enacting the Everglades Forever Act. The act authorized the Everglades Construction Project, which is by far the largest environmental cleanup and restoration program of this type ever undertaken and will require substantial expenditures.

(b) In consideration of both the environmental benefits and public costs of the Everglades Construction Project, the Legislature finds that enhanced oversight and accountability is necessary to ensure that the Everglades Construction Project is completed in a timely manner and within the limits of the funds made available for its completion. The Legislature further finds that the implementation of the Everglades Forever Act is critical to the conservation and protection of natural resources and improvement of water quality in the Everglades Protection Area and the Everglades Agricultural Area.

(2) The South Florida Water Management District shall administer the Everglades Trust Fund consistent with the requirements of this section, as well as all other applicable laws.

(3) The South Florida Water Management District shall furnish, on a quarterly basis, a detailed copy of its expenditures from the Everglades Trust Fund to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and shall make copies available to the public. The information shall be provided in a format approved by the Joint Legislative Committee on Everglades Oversight. At the direction of the Joint Legislative Committee on Everglades Oversight, an audit may be made from time to time by the Auditor General, and such audit shall be within the authority of said Auditor General to make.

(4) The following funds shall be deposited into the Everglades Trust Fund specifically for the implementation of the Everglades Forever Act.

(a) Alligator Alley toll revenues pursuant to s. 338.26(3).

(b) Everglades agricultural privilege tax revenues pursuant to s. 373.4592(6).

(c) C-139 agricultural privilege tax revenues pursuant to s. 373.4592(7).

(d) Special assessment revenues pursuant to s. 373.4592(8).

(e) Ad valorem revenues pursuant to s. 373.4592(4)(a).

(f) Federal funds appropriated by the United States Congress for any component of the Everglades Construction Project.

(g) Preservation 2000 funds for acquisition of lands necessary for implementation of the Everglades Forever Act as prescribed in an annual appropriation.

(h) Any additional funds specifically appropriated by the Legislature for this purpose.

(i) Gifts designated for implementation of the Everglades Forever Act from individuals, corporations, and other entities.

(j) Any additional funds that become available for this purpose from any other source.

(5) Funds deposited into the Everglades Trust Fund pursuant to this section shall be expended for implementation of the Everglades Forever Act as provided by s. 373.4592.

(6) Funds from other sources deposited into the Everglades Trust Fund shall be used consistent with the purposes for which they were received.

(7) Annually, no later than January 1, the South Florida Water Management District shall report to the Joint Committee on Everglades Oversight:

(a) The unencumbered balance which remains in the Everglades Trust Fund at the end of each fiscal year.

(b) The revenues deposited in the Everglades Trust Fund pursuant to this section, by source, and the record of expenditures from the Everglades Trust Fund.

History.–s. 5, ch. 97-258; s. 108, ch. 2001-266.

373.4593 Florida Bay Restoration.–

(1) The Legislature declares that an emergency exists regarding Florida Bay due to an environmental crisis manifested in widespread die off of sea grasses, algae blooms, and resulting decreases in marine life. These conditions threaten the ecological integrity of Florida Bay and surrounding areas and the economic viability of Monroe County and the State of Florida. The Legislature further finds that an increase in freshwater flow will assist in the restoration of Florida Bay.

(2) The South Florida Water Management District shall take all actions within its authority to implement an emergency interim plan. The emergency interim plan shall be designed to provide for the release of water into Taylor Slough and Florida Bay by up to 800 cfs, in order to optimize the quantity, timing, distribution, and quality of fresh water, and promote sheet flow into Taylor Slough.

(a) Within 60 days of the issuance of the final federal approvals, the South Florida Water Management District shall complete the installation of the necessary facilities required by the emergency interim plan.

(b) The South Florida Water Management District, upon approval of a majority of the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, shall file an eminent domain action to acquire the western three sections of the area known as Frog Pond. The Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund shall reach a decision on whether to approve the use of eminent domain for such purpose not later than January 1, 1995. The South Florida Water Management District, upon such approval, is granted the specific powers to exercise eminent domain to condemn the lands in these areas.

(c) Within 30 days of the acquisition of the property referred to above and the completion of the actions in paragraph (a) above, the South Florida Water Management District shall implement the emergency interim plan.

The above measures are emergency interim actions intended to enhance the quantity, timing, and distribution of freshwater to Taylor Slough and Florida Bay. These measures will benefit the water resources of the South Florida Water Management District and are consistent with the public interest.

(3) The district shall not be required to obtain a permit which may otherwise be required under this chapter or chapter 403 prior to the construction, installation, and operation of the pumping facilities and related facilities required to implement the emergency interim plan. The district is directed to provide information on the emergency interim plan to the department. The district shall minimize environmental impacts which may occur during construction, and shall submit a construction plan to the department. In the event that the emergency interim plan continues beyond July 1, 1996, the district shall apply to the department for a permit to continue to operate these facilities.

(4) The Legislature recognizes that the United States Army Corps of Engineers is developing a comprehensive plan for restoring freshwater flow into Taylor Slough and Florida Bay over the next several years. The emergency interim plan is not a substitute for or in conflict with the provisions of the United States Army Corps of Engineers currently under development. Further, the Legislature directs that the department and the South Florida Water Management District shall request the Federal Government complete and fund the ongoing restoration efforts so as to increase the quantity, quality, timing, and distribution of water delivered to the Bay. The department and the district shall also request the Federal Government to evaluate the release of fresh water under the demonstration project, consistent with applicable law.

History.–s. 6, ch. 94-115; s. 9, ch. 2001-62.

373.45931 Alligator Alley tolls; Everglades and Florida Bay restoration.–The South Florida Water Management District is authorized to expend funds from Alligator Alley tolls which have been deposited in the Everglades Fund of the South Florida Water Management District to fund restoration activities for the Everglades and Florida Bay.

History.–s. 8, ch. 94-115.

373.4595 Lake Okeechobee Protection Program.–

(1) FINDINGS AND INTENT.–

(a) The Legislature finds that Lake Okeechobee is one of the most important water resources of the state, providing many functions benefiting the public interest, including agricultural, public, and environmental water supply; flood control; fishing; navigation and recreation; and habitat to endangered and threatened species and other flora and fauna.

(b) The Legislature finds that land uses in the Lake Okeechobee watershed and the construction of the Central and Southern Florida Project have resulted in adverse changes to the hydrology and water quality of Lake Okeechobee. These hydrology and water quality changes have resulted in algal blooms and other adverse impacts to water quality both in Lake Okeechobee and in downstream receiving waters.

(c) The Legislature finds that improvement to the hydrology and water quality of Lake Okeechobee is essential to the protection of the Everglades.

(d) The Legislature also finds that it is imperative for the state, local governments, and agricultural and environmental communities to commit to restoring and protecting Lake Okeechobee and downstream receiving waters, and that a watershed-based approach to address these issues must be developed and implemented immediately.

(e) The Legislature finds that phosphorus loads from the Lake Okeechobee watershed have contributed to excessive phosphorus levels in Lake Okeechobee and downstream receiving waters and that a reduction in levels of phosphorus will benefit the ecology of these systems. The excessive levels of phosphorus have also resulted in an accumulation of phosphorus in the sediments of Lake Okeechobee. If not removed, internal phosphorus loads from the sediments are expected to delay responses of the lake to external phosphorus reductions.

(f) The Legislature finds that the Lake Okeechobee phosphorus loads set forth in the South Florida Water Management District’s Technical Publication 81-2 represent an appropriate basis for the initial phase of phosphorus load reductions to Lake Okeechobee and that subsequent phases of phosphorus load reductions shall be determined by the total maximum daily loads established in accordance with s. 403.067.

(g) The Legislature finds that this section, in conjunction with s. 403.067, provides a reasonable means of achieving and maintaining compliance with state water quality standards.

(h) The Legislature finds that the implementation of the programs contained in this section is for the benefit of the public health, safety, and welfare and is in the public interest.

(i) The Legislature finds that sufficient research has been conducted and sufficient plans developed to immediately initiate the first phase of a program to address the hydrology and water quality problems in Lake Okeechobee and downstream receiving waters.

(j) It is the intent of the Legislature to achieve and maintain compliance with water quality standards in Lake Okeechobee and downstream receiving waters through a phased, comprehensive, and innovative protection program to reduce both internal and external phosphorus loads to Lake Okeechobee through immediate actions to achieve the phosphorus load reductions set forth in Technical Publication 81-2 and long-term solutions based upon the total maximum daily loads established in accordance with s. 403.067. This program shall be watershed-based, shall provide for consideration of all potential phosphorus sources, and shall include research and monitoring, development and implementation of best management practices, refinement of existing regulations, and structural and nonstructural projects, including public works.

(k) It is the intent of the Legislature that the Lake Okeechobee Protection Program be developed and implemented in coordination with and, to the greatest extent practicable, through the implementation of Restudy project components and other federal programs in order to maximize opportunities for the most efficient and timely expenditures of public funds.

(l) It is the intent of the Legislature that the coordinating agencies encourage and support the development of creative public-private partnerships and programs, including opportunities for pollutant trading and credits, to facilitate or further the restoration of Lake Okeechobee, consistent with s. 403.067.

(2) DEFINITIONS.–As used in this section:

(a) “Best management practice” means a practice or combination of practices determined by the coordinating agencies, based on research, field-testing, and expert review, to be the most effective and practicable on-location means, including economic and technological considerations, for improving water quality in agricultural and urban discharges. Best management practices for agricultural discharges shall reflect a balance between water quality improvements and agricultural productivity.

(b) “Coordinating agencies” means the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the South Florida Water Management District.

(c) “Corps of Engineers” means the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

(d) “Department” means the Department of Environmental Protection.

(e) “District” means the South Florida Water Management District.

(f) “District’s WOD program” means the program implemented pursuant to rules adopted as authorized by this section and ss. 373.016, 373.044, 373.085, 373.086, 373.109, 373.113, 373.118, 373.451, and 373.453, entitled “Works of the District Basin.”

(g) “Lake Okeechobee Construction Project” means the construction project developed pursuant to paragraph (3)(b).

(h) “Lake Okeechobee Protection Plan” means the plan developed pursuant to this section and ss. 373.451-373.459.

(i) “Lake Okeechobee watershed” means Lake Okeechobee and the area surrounding and tributary to Lake Okeechobee, composed of 39 surrounding hydrologic basins, as defined by South Florida Water Management District SWIM Plan Update dated August 8, 1997.

(j) “Lake Okeechobee Watershed Phosphorus Control Program” means the program developed pursuant to paragraph (3)(c).

(k) “Project component” means any structural or operational change, resulting from the Restudy, to the Central and Southern Florida Project as it existed and was operated as of January 1, 1999.

(l) “Restudy” means the Comprehensive Review Study of the Central and Southern Florida Project, for which federal participation was authorized by the Federal Water Resources Development Acts of 1992 and 1996 together with related Congressional resolutions and for which participation by the South Florida Water Management District is authorized by s. 373.1501. The term includes all actions undertaken pursuant to the aforementioned authorizations which will result in recommendations for modifications or additions to the Central and Southern Florida Project.

(m) “Total maximum daily load” means the sum of the individual wasteload allocations for point sources and the load allocations for nonpoint sources and natural background. Prior to determining individual wasteload allocations and load allocations, the maximum amount of a pollutant that a water body or water segment can assimilate from all sources without exceeding water quality standards must first be calculated.

(3) LAKE OKEECHOBEE PROTECTION PROGRAM.–A protection program for Lake Okeechobee that achieves phosphorus load reductions for Lake Okeechobee shall be immediately implemented as specified in this subsection. The program shall address the reduction of phosphorus loading to the lake from both internal and external sources. Phosphorus load reductions shall be achieved through a phased program of implementation. Initial implementation actions shall be technology-based, based upon a consideration of both the availability of appropriate technology and the cost of such technology, and shall include phosphorus reduction measures at both the source and the regional level. The initial phase of phosphorus load reductions shall be based upon the district’s Technical Publication 81-2 and the district’s WOD program, with subsequent phases of phosphorus load reductions based upon the total maximum daily loads established in accordance with s. 403.067. In the development and administration of the Lake Okeechobee Protection Program, the coordinating agencies shall maximize opportunities provided by federal cost-sharing programs and opportunities for partnerships with the private sector.

(a) Lake Okeechobee Protection Plan.–By January 1, 2004, the district, in cooperation with the other coordinating agencies, shall complete a Lake Okeechobee Protection Plan in accordance with this section and ss. 373.451-373.459. The plan shall contain an implementation schedule for subsequent phases of phosphorus load reduction consistent with the total maximum daily loads established in accordance with s. 403.067. The plan shall consider and build upon a review and analysis of the following:

1. The performance of projects constructed during Phase I of the Lake Okeechobee Construction Project, pursuant to paragraph (b).

2. Relevant information resulting from the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Phosphorus Control Program, pursuant to paragraph (c).

3. Relevant information resulting from the Lake Okeechobee Research and Water Quality Monitoring Program, pursuant to paragraph (d).

4. Relevant information resulting from the Lake Okeechobee Exotic Species Control Program, pursuant to paragraph (e).

5. Relevant information resulting from the Lake Okeechobee Internal Phosphorus Management Program, pursuant to paragraph (f).

(b) Lake Okeechobee Construction Project.–To improve the hydrology and water quality of Lake Okeechobee and downstream receiving waters, the district shall design and construct the Lake Okeechobee Construction Project.

1. Phase I.–Phase I of the Lake Okeechobee Construction Project shall consist of a series of project features consistent with the recommendations of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Working Group’s Lake Okeechobee Action Plan. Priority basins for such projects include S-191, S-154, and Pools D and E in the Lower Kissimmee River. In order to obtain immediate phosphorus load reductions to Lake Okeechobee as soon as possible, the following actions shall be implemented:

a. The district shall serve as a full partner with the Corps of Engineers in the design and construction of the Grassy Island Ranch and New Palm Dairy stormwater treatment facilities as components of the Lake Okeechobee Water Retention/Phosphorus Removal Critical Project. The Corps of Engineers shall have the lead in design and construction of these facilities. However, the district shall encourage the Corps of Engineers to complete a detailed design document by July 1, 2001. Should delays be encountered in the implementation of either of these facilities, the district shall notify the department and recommend corrective actions.

b. By January 1, 2001, the district shall obtain permits and complete construction of two of the isolated wetland restoration projects that are part of the Lake Okeechobee Water Retention/Phosphorus Removal Critical Project. The additional isolated wetland projects included in this critical project shall be permitted and constructed by January 1, 2003, to further reduce phosphorus loading to Lake Okeechobee.

c. By January 31, 2002, the district shall design and complete implementation of the Lake Okeechobee Tributary Sediment Removal Pilot Project. This project shall consist of testing two alternative technologies for trapping and collecting phosphorus-laden sediment in the secondary drainage system prior to its discharge into the primary canal system and Lake Okeechobee, thereby further reducing the total sediment loading to the lake.

d. The district shall work with the Corps of Engineers to expedite initiation of the design process for the Taylor Creek/Nubbins Slough Reservoir Assisted Stormwater Treatment Area, a project component of the Restudy. The district shall propose to the Corps of Engineers that the district take the lead in the design and construction of the Reservoir Assisted Stormwater Treatment Area and receive credit towards the local share of the total cost of the Restudy.

2. Phase II.–By January 1, 2004, the district, in cooperation with the other coordinating agencies and the Corps of Engineers, shall develop an implementation plan for Phase II of the Lake Okeechobee Construction Project. Phase II shall include construction of additional facilities in the priority basins identified in subparagraph (b)1., as well as facilities for other basins in the Lake Okeechobee watershed. The implementation plan shall:

a. Identify Lake Okeechobee Construction Project facilities to be constructed to achieve a design objective of 40 parts per billion (ppb) for phosphorus measured as a long-term flow weighted average concentration, unless an allocation has been established pursuant to s. 403.067 for the Lake Okeechobee total maximum daily load.

b. Identify the size and location of all such Lake Okeechobee Construction Project facilities.

c. Provide a construction schedule for all such Lake Okeechobee Construction Project facilities, including the sequencing and specific timeframe for construction of each Lake Okeechobee Construction Project facility.

d. Provide a land acquisition schedule for lands necessary to achieve the construction schedule.

e. Provide a detailed schedule of costs associated with the construction schedule.

f. Identify, to the maximum extent practicable, impacts on wetlands and state-listed species expected to be associated with construction of such facilities, including potential alternatives to minimize and mitigate such impacts, as appropriate.

3. Evaluation.–By January 1, 2004, and every 3 years thereafter, the district, in cooperation with the coordinating agencies, shall conduct an evaluation of any further phosphorus load reductions necessary to achieve compliance with the Lake Okeechobee total maximum daily load established pursuant to s. 403.067. Additionally, the district shall identify modifications to facilities of the Lake Okeechobee Construction Project as appropriate if the design objective of 40 parts per billion (ppb) or the allocation established pursuant to s. 403.067 for the Lake Okeechobee total maximum daily load established pursuant to s. 403.067 is not being met. The evaluation shall be included in the applicable annual progress report submitted pursuant to paragraph (g).

4. Coordination and review.–To ensure the timely implementation of the Lake Okeechobee Construction Project, the design of project facilities shall be coordinated with the department and other interested parties to the maximum extent practicable. Lake Okeechobee Construction Project facilities shall be reviewed and commented upon by the department prior to the execution of a construction contract by the district for that facility.

(c) Lake Okeechobee Watershed Phosphorus Control Program.–The Lake Okeechobee Watershed Phosphorus Control Program is designed to be a multifaceted approach to reducing phosphorus loads by improving the management of phosphorus sources within the Lake Okeechobee watershed through continued implementation of existing regulations and best management practices, development and implementation of improved best management practices, improvement and restoration of the hydrologic function of natural and managed systems, and utilization of alternative technologies for nutrient reduction. The coordinating agencies shall facilitate the application of federal programs that offer opportunities for water quality treatment, including preservation, restoration, or creation of wetlands on agricultural lands.

1. Agricultural nonpoint source best management practices, developed in accordance with s. 403.067 and designed to achieve the objectives of the Lake Okeechobee Protection Program, shall be implemented on an expedited basis. By March 1, 2001, the coordinating agencies shall develop an interagency agreement pursuant to ss. 373.046 and 373.406(5) that assures the development of best management practices that complement existing regulatory programs and specifies how those best management practices are implemented and verified. The interagency agreement shall address measures to be taken by the coordinating agencies during any best management practice reevaluation performed pursuant to sub-subparagraph d. The department shall use best professional judgment in making the initial determination of best management practice effectiveness.

a. As provided in s. 403.067(7)(d), by October 1, 2000, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in consultation with the department, the district, and affected parties, shall initiate rule development for interim measures, best management practices, conservation plans, nutrient management plans, or other measures necessary for Lake Okeechobee phosphorus load reduction. The rule shall include thresholds for requiring conservation and nutrient management plans and criteria for the contents of such plans. Development of agricultural nonpoint source best management practices shall initially focus on those priority basins listed in subparagraph (b)1. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in consultation with the department, the district, and affected parties, shall conduct an ongoing program for improvement of existing and development of new interim measures or best management practices for the purpose of adoption of such practices by rule.

b. Where agricultural nonpoint source best management practices or interim measures have been adopted by rule of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the owner or operator of an agricultural nonpoint source addressed by such rule shall either implement interim measures or best management practices or demonstrate compliance with the district’s WOD program by conducting monitoring prescribed by the department or the district. Owners or operators of agricultural nonpoint sources who implement interim measures or best management practices adopted by rule of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall be subject to the provisions of s. 403.067(7). The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in cooperation with the department and the district, shall provide technical and financial assistance for implementation of agricultural best management practices, subject to the availability of funds.

c. The district or department shall conduct monitoring at representative sites to verify the effectiveness of agricultural nonpoint source best management practices.

d. Where water quality problems are detected for agricultural nonpoint sources despite the appropriate implementation of adopted best management practices, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in consultation with the other coordinating agencies and affected parties, shall institute a reevaluation of the best management practices and make appropriate changes to the rule adopting best management practices.

2. Nonagricultural nonpoint source best management practices, developed in accordance with s. 403.067 and designed to achieve the objectives of the Lake Okeechobee Protection Program, shall be implemented on an expedited basis. By March 1, 2001, the department and the district shall develop an interagency agreement pursuant to ss. 373.046 and 373.406(5) that assures the development of best management practices that complement existing regulatory programs and specifies how those best management practices are implemented and verified. The interagency agreement shall address measures to be taken by the department and the district during any best management practice reevaluation performed pursuant to sub-subparagraph d.

a. The department and the district are directed to work with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences to develop appropriate nutrient application rates for all nonagricultural soil amendments in the watershed. As provided in s. 403.067(7)(c), by January 1, 2001, the department, in consultation with the district and affected parties, shall develop interim measures, best management practices, or other measures necessary for Lake Okeechobee phosphorus load reduction. Development of nonagricultural nonpoint source best management practices shall initially focus on those priority basins listed in subparagraph (b)1. The department, the district, and affected parties shall conduct an ongoing program for improvement of existing and development of new interim measures or best management practices. The district shall adopt technology-based standards under the district’s WOD program for nonagricultural nonpoint sources of phosphorus.

b. Where nonagricultural nonpoint source best management practices or interim measures have been developed by the department and adopted by the district, the owner or operator of a nonagricultural nonpoint source shall implement interim measures or best management practices and be subject to the provisions of s. 403.067(7). The department and district shall provide technical and financial assistance for implementation of nonagricultural nonpoint source best management practices, subject to the availability of funds.

c. The district or the department shall conduct monitoring at representative sites to verify the effectiveness of nonagricultural nonpoint source best management practices.

d. Where water quality problems are detected for nonagricultural nonpoint sources despite the appropriate implementation of adopted best management practices, the department and the district shall institute a reevaluation of the best management practices.

3. The provisions of subparagraphs 1. and 2. shall not preclude the department or the district from requiring compliance with water quality standards or with current best management practices requirements set forth in any applicable regulatory program authorized by law for the purpose of protecting water quality. Additionally, subparagraphs 1. and 2. are applicable only to the extent that they do not conflict with any rules promulgated by the department that are necessary to maintain a federally delegated or approved program.

4. Projects which reduce the phosphorus load originating from domestic wastewater systems within the Lake Okeechobee watershed shall be given funding priority in the department’s revolving loan program under s. 403.1835. The department shall coordinate and provide assistance to those local governments seeking financial assistance for such priority projects.

5. Projects that make use of private lands, or lands held in trust for Indian tribes, to reduce nutrient loadings or concentrations within a basin by one or more of the following methods: restoring the natural hydrology of the basin, restoring wildlife habitat or impacted wetlands, reducing peak flows after storm events, increasing aquifer recharge, or protecting range and timberland from conversion to development, are eligible for grants available under this section from the coordinating agencies. For projects of otherwise equal priority, special funding priority will be given to those projects that make best use of the methods outlined above that involve public-private partnerships or that obtain federal match money. Preference ranking above the special funding priority will be given to projects located in a rural area of critical economic concern designated by the Governor. Grant applications may be submitted by any person or tribal entity, and eligible projects may include, but are not limited to, the purchase of conservation and flowage easements, hydrologic restoration of wetlands, creating treatment wetlands, development of a management plan for natural resources, and financial support to implement a management plan.

6.a. The department shall require all entities disposing of domestic wastewater residuals within the Lake Okeechobee watershed and the remaining areas of Okeechobee, Glades, and Hendry Counties to develop and submit to the department an agricultural use plan that limits applications based upon phosphorus loading. By July 1, 2005, phosphorus concentrations originating from these application sites shall not exceed the limits established in the district’s WOD program.

b. Private and government-owned utilities within Monroe, Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, Okeechobee, Highlands, Hendry, and Glades Counties that dispose of wastewater residual sludge from utility operations and septic removal by land spreading in the Lake Okeechobee watershed may use a line item on local sewer rates to cover wastewater residual treatment and disposal if such disposal and treatment is done by approved alternative treatment methodology at a facility located within the areas designated by the Governor as rural areas of critical economic concern pursuant to s. 288.0656. This additional line item is an environmental protection disposal fee above the present sewer rate and shall not be considered a part of the present sewer rate to customers, notwithstanding provisions to the contrary in chapter 367. The fee shall be established by the county commission or its designated assignee in the county in which the alternative method treatment facility is located. The fee shall be calculated to be no higher than that necessary to recover the facility’s prudent cost of providing the service. Upon request by an affected county commission, the Florida Public Service Commission will provide assistance in establishing the fee. Further, for utilities and utility authorities that use the additional line item environmental protection disposal fee, such fee shall not be considered a rate increase under the rules of the Public Service Commission and shall be exempt from such rules. Utilities using the provisions of this section may immediately include in their sewer invoicing the new environmental protection disposal fee. Proceeds from this environmental protection disposal fee shall be used for treatment and disposal of wastewater residuals, including any treatment technology that helps reduce the volume of residuals that require final disposal, but such proceeds shall not be used for transportation or shipment costs for disposal or any costs relating to the land application of residuals in the Lake Okeechobee watershed.

c. No less frequently than once every 3 years, the Florida Public Service Commission or the county commission through the services of an independent auditor shall perform a financial audit of all facilities receiving compensation from an environmental protection disposal fee. The Florida Public Service Commission or the county commission through the services of an independent auditor shall also perform an audit of the methodology used in establishing the environmental protection disposal fee. The Florida Public Service Commission or the county commission shall, within 120 days after completion of an audit, file the audit report with the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and shall provide copies to the county commissions of the counties set forth in sub-subparagraph b. The books and records of any facilities receiving compensation from an environmental protection disposal fee shall be open to the Florida Public Service Commission and the Auditor General for review upon request.

7. The Department of Health shall require all entities disposing of septage within the Lake Okeechobee watershed and the remaining areas of Okeechobee, Glades, and Hendry Counties to develop and submit to that agency, by July 1, 2003, an agricultural use plan that limits applications based upon phosphorus loading. By July 1, 2005, phosphorus concentrations originating from these application sites shall not exceed the limits established in the district’s WOD program.

8. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall initiate rulemaking requiring entities within the Lake Okeechobee watershed and the remaining areas of Okeechobee, Glades, and Hendry Counties which land-apply animal manure to develop conservation or nutrient management plans that limit application, based upon phosphorus loading. Such rules may include criteria and thresholds for the requirement to develop a conservation or nutrient management plan, requirements for plan approval, and recordkeeping requirements.

9. Prior to authorizing a discharge into works of the district, the district shall require responsible parties to demonstrate that proposed changes in land use will not result in increased phosphorus loading over that of existing land uses.

10. The district, the department, or the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, as appropriate, shall implement those alternative nutrient reduction technologies determined to be feasible pursuant to subparagraph (d)6.

(d) Lake Okeechobee Research and Water Quality Monitoring Program.–By January 1, 2001, the district, in cooperation with the other coordinating agencies, shall establish a Lake Okeechobee Research and Water Quality Monitoring Program that builds upon the district’s existing Lake Okeechobee research program. The program shall:

1. Evaluate all available existing water quality data concerning total phosphorus in the Lake Okeechobee watershed, develop a water quality baseline to represent existing conditions for total phosphorus, monitor long-term ecological changes, including water quality for total phosphorus, and measure compliance with water quality standards for total phosphorus, including the total maximum daily load for Lake Okeechobee as established pursuant to s. 403.067. The district shall also implement a total phosphorus monitoring program at all inflow structures to Lake Okeechobee.

2. By July 1, 2003, develop a Lake Okeechobee water quality model that reasonably represents phosphorus dynamics of the lake and incorporates an uncertainty analysis associated with model predictions.

3. By July 1, 2003, determine the relative contribution of phosphorus from all identifiable sources and all primary and secondary land uses.

4. By July 1, 2003, conduct an assessment of the sources of phosphorus from the Upper Kissimmee Chain-of-Lakes and Lake Istokpoga, and their relative contribution to the water quality of Lake Okeechobee. The results of this assessment shall be used by the coordinating agencies to develop interim measures, best management practices, or regulation, as applicable.

5. By July 1, 2003, assess current water management practices within the Lake Okeechobee watershed and develop recommendations for structural and operational improvements. Such recommendations shall balance water supply, flood control, estuarine salinity, maintenance of a healthy lake littoral zone, and water quality considerations.

6. By July 1, 2003, evaluate the feasibility of alternative nutrient reduction technologies, including sediment traps, canal and ditch maintenance, fish production or other aquaculture, bioenergy conversion processes, and algal or other biological treatment technologies.

(e) Lake Okeechobee Exotic Species Control Program.–By June 1, 2002, the coordinating agencies shall identify the exotic species that threaten the native flora and fauna within the Lake Okeechobee watershed and develop and implement measures to protect the native flora and fauna.

(f) Lake Okeechobee Internal Phosphorus Management Program.–By July 1, 2003, the district, in cooperation with the other coordinating agencies and interested parties, shall complete a Lake Okeechobee internal phosphorus load removal feasibility study. The feasibility study shall be based on technical feasibility, as well as economic considerations, and address all reasonable methods of phosphorus removal. If methods are found to be feasible, the district shall immediately pursue the design, funding, and permitting for implementing such methods.

(g) Annual progress report.–Each January 1, beginning in 2001, the district shall submit to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives annual progress reports regarding implementation of this section. The annual report shall include a summary of water quality and habitat conditions in Lake Okeechobee and the Lake Okeechobee watershed and the status of the Lake Okeechobee Construction Project. The district shall prepare the report in cooperation with the other coordinating agencies.

(4) LAKE OKEECHOBEE PROTECTION PERMITS.–

(a) The Legislature finds that the Lake Okeechobee Protection Program will benefit Lake Okeechobee and downstream receiving waters and is consistent with the public interest. The Lake Okeechobee Construction Project and structures discharging into or from Lake Okeechobee shall be constructed, operated, and maintained in accordance with this section.

(b) Permits obtained pursuant to this section are in lieu of all other permits under this chapter or chapter 403, except those issued under s. 403.0885, if applicable. No additional permits are required for the Lake Okeechobee Construction Project or structures discharging into or from Lake Okeechobee, if permitted under this section. Construction activities related to implementation of the Lake Okeechobee Construction Project may be initiated prior to final agency action, or notice of intended agency action, on any permit from the department under this section.

(c) Within 90 days of completion of the diversion plans set forth in Department Consent Orders 91-0694, 91-0707, 91-0706, 91-0705, and RT50-205564, owners or operators of existing structures which discharge into or from Lake Okeechobee that are subject to the provisions of s. 373.4592(4)(a) shall apply for a permit from the department to operate and maintain such structures. By September 1, 2000, owners or operators of all other existing structures which discharge into or from Lake Okeechobee shall apply for a permit from the department to operate and maintain such structures. The department shall issue one or more such permits for a term of 5 years upon the demonstration of reasonable assurance that schedules and strategies to achieve and maintain compliance with water quality standards have been provided for, to the maximum extent practicable, and that operation of the structures otherwise complies with provisions of ss. 373.413 and 373.416.

1. Permits issued under this paragraph shall also contain reasonable conditions to ensure that discharges of waters through structures:

a. Are adequately and accurately monitored;

b. Will not degrade existing Lake Okeechobee water quality and will result in an overall reduction of phosphorus input into Lake Okeechobee, as set forth in the district’s Technical Publication 81-2 and the total maximum daily load established in accordance with s. 403.067, to the maximum extent practicable; and

c. Do not pose a serious danger to public health, safety, or welfare.

2. For the purposes of this paragraph, owners and operators of existing structures which are subject to the provisions of s. 373.4592(4)(a) and which discharge into or from Lake Okeechobee shall be deemed in compliance with the term “maximum extent practicable” if they are in full compliance with the conditions of permits under chapters 40E-61 and 40E-63, Florida Administrative Code.

3. By January 1, 2004, the district shall submit to the department a permit modification to the Lake Okeechobee structure permits to incorporate proposed changes necessary to ensure that discharges through the structures covered by this permit achieve state water quality standards, including the total maximum daily load established in accordance with s. 403.067. These changes shall be designed to achieve such compliance with state water quality standards no later than January 1, 2015.

(d) The department shall require permits for Lake Okeechobee Construction Project facilities. However, projects identified in sub-subparagraph (3)(b)1.b. that qualify as exempt pursuant to s. 373.406 shall not need permits under this section. Such permits shall be issued for a term of 5 years upon the demonstration of reasonable assurances that:

1. The Lake Okeechobee Construction Project facility, based upon the conceptual design documents and any subsequent detailed design documents developed by the district, will achieve the design objectives for phosphorus required in paragraph (3)(b);

2. For water quality standards other than phosphorus, the quality of water discharged from the facility is of equal or better quality than the inflows;

3. Discharges from the facility do not pose a serious danger to public health, safety, or welfare; and

4. Any impacts on wetlands or state-listed species resulting from implementation of that facility of the Lake Okeechobee Construction Project are minimized and mitigated, as appropriate.

(e) At least 60 days prior to the expiration of any permit issued under this section, the permittee may apply for a renewal thereof for a period of 5 years.

(f) Permits issued under this section may include any standard conditions provided by department rule which are appropriate and consistent with this section.

(g) Permits issued pursuant to this section may be modified, as appropriate, upon review and approval by the department.

(5) RESTRICTIONS ON WATER DIVERSIONS.–The South Florida Water Management District shall not divert waters to the St. Lucie River, the Indian River estuary, the Caloosahatchee River or its estuary, or the Everglades National Park, in such a way that the state water quality standards are violated, that the nutrients in such diverted waters adversely affect indigenous vegetation communities or wildlife, or that fresh waters diverted to the St. Lucie River or the Caloosahatchee or Indian River estuaries adversely affect the estuarine vegetation or wildlife, unless the receiving waters will biologically benefit by the diversion. However, diversion is permitted when an emergency is declared by the water management district, if the Secretary of Environmental Protection concurs.

(6) PRESERVATION OF PROVISIONS RELATING TO THE EVERGLADES.–Nothing in this section shall be construed to modify any provision of s. 373.4592.

(7) RIGHTS OF SEMINOLE TRIBE OF FLORIDA.–Nothing in this section is intended to diminish or alter the governmental authority and powers of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, or diminish or alter the rights of that tribe, including, but not limited to, rights under the water rights compact among the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the state, and the South Florida Water Management District as enacted by Pub. L. No. 100-228, 101 Stat. 1556, and chapter 87-292, Laws of Florida, and codified in s. 285.165, and rights under any other agreement between the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the state or its agencies. No land of the Seminole Tribe of Florida shall be used for water storage or stormwater treatment without the consent of the tribe.

(8) RELATIONSHIP TO STATE WATER QUALITY STANDARDS.–Nothing in this section shall be construed to modify any existing state water quality standard.

(9) PRESERVATION OF AUTHORITY.–Nothing in this section shall be construed to restrict the authority otherwise granted to agencies pursuant to chapters 373 and 403, and provisions of this section shall be deemed supplemental to the authority granted to agencies pursuant to chapters 373 and 403.

History.–s. 6, ch. 87-97; s. 274, ch. 94-356; s. 1011, ch. 95-148; s. 189, ch. 99-245; s. 1, ch. 2000-130; s. 6, ch. 2001-172; s. 1, ch. 2001-193; s. 3, ch. 2002-165; s. 42, ch. 2002-296.

373.45952 Lake Okeechobee Protection Trust Fund.–

(1) The Lake Okeechobee Protection Trust Fund is hereby created within the Department of Environmental Protection.

(2) Funds to be credited to the trust fund shall consist of funds appropriated annually by the Legislature and as provided for by general law. Funds shall be used solely for the purposes set forth in s. 373.4595 and for related purposes undertaken pursuant to ss. 373.451-373.459.

(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 216.301 and pursuant to s. 216.351, any balance in the trust fund at the end of any fiscal year shall remain in the trust fund at the end of the year and shall be available for carrying out the purposes of the trust fund.

(4) In accordance with s. 19(f)(2), Art. III of the State Constitution, the Lake Okeechobee Protection Trust Fund shall, unless terminated sooner, be terminated on July 1, 2004. Before its scheduled termination, the trust fund shall be reviewed as provided in s. 215.3206(1) and (2).

History.–s. 1, ch. 2000-131.

373.4596 State compliance with stormwater management programs.–The state, through the Department of Management Services, the Department of Transportation, and other agencies, shall construct, operate, and maintain buildings, roads, and other facilities it owns, leases, or manages to fully comply with state, water management district, and local government stormwater management programs.

History.–s. 40, ch. 89-279; s. 298, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326.

373.4597 The Geneva Freshwater Lens Protection Act.–

(1) The Legislature finds that the Geneva Freshwater Lens, a single source water supply, is a unique and valuable water resource for the citizens of northeast Seminole County and, in general, to the citizens of this state and that the lens is a precious natural resource system vital to the health and diversity of the regional ecosystem. It is the intent of the Legislature that this resource be protected for future generations of citizens of this state and that the St. Johns River Water Management District implement the laws of this state and administrative rules of the district to that end.

(2) The recharge area of the Geneva Freshwater Lens shall be delineated by rule by the St. Johns River Water Management District, to be based on the 20-foot (NGVD) contour of the recharge area prior to development, using a static line and based on the quadrangle maps referenced in the United States Geological Survey Report titled “Water Resources Investigation 86-4078.”

(3) The Legislature hereby directs the appropriate state agencies to implement, by December 1, 1995, recommendations of the Geneva Freshwater Lens Task Force that do not require rule amendments. The Legislature directs such agencies to act, by July 1, 1996, upon recommendations of the task force that require rule amendments, unless otherwise noted in the report. The requirements of this bill related to actions to be taken by appropriate state agencies shall not require expenditures to be made by the government of Seminole County. The St. Johns River Water Management District shall continue to implement the recommendations contained in the Geneva Freshwater Lens Task Force report to the Legislature.

History.–s. 2, ch. 95-377.

373.461 Lake Apopka improvement and management.–

(1) FINDINGS AND INTENT.–

(a) The Legislature has expressed its intent that economically and technically feasible methods be developed to restore the Lake Apopka Basin through the Lake Apopka Restoration Act and the Surface Water Improvement and Management Act. It is the Legislature’s intent to enhance and accelerate the restoration process begun by those previous acts of the Legislature.

(b) Technical studies have determined that substantial reductions in or elimination of phosphorus in farm discharges to Lake Apopka will be necessary in order to improve water quality and restore the lake to Class III standards.

(c) Acquisition of the lands in agricultural production which discharge phosphorus to Lake Apopka, and their related facilities, would serve the public interest by eliminating the impacts of introduction of phosphorus from these sources into the lake. It is the Legislature’s intent that a fair and equitable program of acquisition of the lands necessary to achieve the purposes of this section be implemented.

(d) The Legislature finds that time is of the essence and that a complete purchase of properties described in this section should be accomplished in an accelerated and economical manner.

(e) It is the Legislature’s intent to provide a process for development of phosphorus discharge limitations that will bring such discharges into compliance with state water quality standards and to provide for interim phosphorus abatement measures designed to further reduce phosphorus discharges from the Zellwood Drainage and Water Control District, which is the largest agricultural entity within the Lake Apopka Basin, unless both of the timeframes specified in paragraph (4)(a) regarding purchase agreements and completion of purchases are met. The Legislature finds that it is in the public interest to jointly share in the cost of implementing such interim phosphorus reduction measures with Zellwood.

(f) A. Duda and Sons, Inc., has implemented phosphorus treatment and has worked cooperatively with the district to meet applicable water quality standards. An existing settlement agreement outlines treatment measures that should satisfy all discharge limitations and criteria.

(2) DEFINITIONS.–As used in this section:

(a) “District” means the St. Johns River Water Management District.

(b) “Phosphorus criterion” means a numeric interpretation for phosphorus of the Class III narrative nutrient criterion.

(c) “Stormwater management system” has the meaning set forth in s. 373.403(10).

(d) “Zellwood” means the Zellwood Drainage and Water Control District as it is described in chapter 20715, Laws of Florida.

(3) PHOSPHORUS CRITERION AND DISCHARGE LIMITATIONS FOR LAKE APOPKA.–

(a) In the event the district does not adopt a rule establishing a phosphorus criterion for Lake Apopka by January 1997, the phosphorus criterion for the lake shall be 55 parts per billion (ppb).

(b) The district shall adopt by rule discharge limitations for all permits issued by the district for discharges into Lake Apopka, the Lake Level Canal, and the McDonald Canal.

(4) CONSTRUCTION OF STORMWATER MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS.–

(a) It is the intent of the Legislature that construction of stormwater management facilities to store, treat, and recycle Zellwood’s agricultural stormwater runoff will be necessary during the interim period while discharge limitations are being established for Lake Apopka, unless both of the following conditions are met:

1. Agreements to purchase all the lands within Zellwood are executed by September 30, 1997, or a later execution deadline established by the United States for such agreements before reallocation of Commodity Credit Corporation funds made available to acquire wetland reserve program conservation easements within the Lake Apopka Partnership Project area; and

2. All such purchases are completed pursuant to the terms of such agreements.

The Legislature finds that it is in the public interest for state, regional, and local revenue sources to be used along with Zellwood’s revenue sources to finance the costs of acquiring land and constructing such facilities. One-third of the cost of the facilities shall be contributed by Zellwood, one-third by the state, and one-third by the district.

(b) Consistent with the funding formula outlined in paragraph (a), the state will provide up to $2 million, with the same amount being committed by both Zellwood and the district, for a total of $6 million. These funds shall be used for the purpose of acquiring the necessary land for and constructing a stormwater management facility, not to exceed 600 acres in total size, for Zellwood’s farm runoff, together with the necessary pumps and other infrastructure associated with such facilities, provided that Zellwood’s contribution shall be used for project purposes other than acquiring land.

(c) The district shall be responsible for design of the facilities and for acquiring any necessary interest in land for the facilities. Zellwood will be responsible for construction of the facilities in accordance with the district’s design. The district will administer the funds provided for under this section. No later than September 30, 1997, the district and Zellwood will develop an agreement regarding dispersal of funds for construction of the facilities which shall take into account the financing mechanisms available to the parties. Zellwood shall not be required to assess more than $25 per acre per year in financing its share of the stormwater management facility. However, it must provide its one-third share of the funding within the timeframes outlined for construction of the stormwater construction facility outlined in this section.

(d) Construction of the stormwater retention and treatment facilities provided for in this section shall begin within 90 days after acquisition of interests in land necessary for the facilities and the district’s delivery of the design of the facilities to Zellwood, and shall be completed within 1 year thereafter. After completion of the facilities, Zellwood shall be responsible for operation and maintenance so long as the facilities are used by Zellwood.

(e) The district may, as appropriate, alter or modify the design of the facility to reduce the cost of the acquisition and construction of the facility if lands presently in production within Zellwood are acquired pursuant to subsection (5) before construction of the facility. The district shall have the flexibility to adjust these dates due to any unforeseen circumstances such as, and not limited to, acts of God, delays due to litigation by outside parties, or unnecessary or unforeseen permitting or construction delays.

(f) The district and Zellwood shall give preferential consideration to the hiring of agricultural workers displaced as a result of the Lake Apopka Restoration Act, consistent with their qualifications and abilities, for the construction and operation of the stormwater facility.

(5) PURCHASE OF AGRICULTURAL LANDS.–

(a) The Legislature finds that it is in the public interest of the state to acquire lands in agricultural production, along with their related facilities, which contribute, directly or indirectly, to phosphorus discharges to Lake Apopka, for the purpose of improving water quality in Lake Apopka. These lands consist of those farming entities on Lake Apopka having consent and settlement agreements with the district and those sand land farms discharging indirectly to Lake Apopka through Lake Level Canal, Apopka-Beauclair Canal, or McDonald Canal. The district is granted the power of eminent domain on those properties.

(b) In determining the fair market value of lands to be purchased from willing sellers, all appraisals of such lands may consider income from the use of the property for farming and, for this purpose, such income shall be deemed attributable to the real estate.

(c) The district shall explore the availability of funding from all sources, including any federal, state, regional, and local land acquisition funding programs, to purchase the agricultural lands described in paragraph (a). It is the Legislature’s intent that, if such funding sources can be identified, acquisition of the lands described in paragraph (a) may be undertaken by the district to purchase these properties from willing sellers. However, the purchase price paid for acquisition of such lands that were in active cultivation during 1996 shall not exceed the highest appraisal obtained by the district for these lands from a state-certified general appraiser following the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. This maximum purchase price limitation shall not include, nor be applicable to, that portion of the purchase price attributable to consideration of income described in paragraph (b), or that portion attributable to related facilities, or closing costs.

(d) In connection with successful acquisition of any of the lands described in this section which are not needed for stormwater management facilities, the district shall give the seller the option to lease the land for a period not to exceed 5 years, at a fair market lease value for similar agricultural lands. Proceeds derived from such leases shall be used to offset the cost of acquiring the land.

(e) If all the lands within Zellwood are purchased in accordance with this section prior to expiration of the consent agreement between Zellwood and the district, Zellwood shall be reimbursed for any costs described in subsection (4).

(f)1. Tangible personal property acquired by the district as part of related facilities pursuant to this section, and classified as surplus by the district, shall be sold by the Department of Management Services. The Department of Management Services shall deposit the proceeds of such sale in the Economic Development Trust Fund in the Executive Office of the Governor. The proceeds shall be used for the purpose of providing economic and infrastructure development in portions of northwestern Orange County and east central Lake County which will be adversely affected economically due to the acquisition of lands pursuant to this subsection.

2. The Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development shall, upon presentation of the appropriate documentation justifying expenditure of the funds deposited pursuant to this paragraph, pay any obligation for which it has sufficient funds from the proceeds of the sale of tangible personal property and which meets the limitations specified in paragraph (g). The authority of the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development to expend such funds shall expire 5 years from the effective date of this paragraph. Such expenditures may occur without future appropriation from the Legislature.

3. Funds deposited under this paragraph may not be used for any purpose other than those enumerated in paragraph (g).

(g)1. The proceeds of sale of tangible personal property authorized by paragraph (f) shall be distributed as follows: 60 percent to Orange County; 25 percent to the City of Apopka; and 15 percent to Lake County.

2. Such proceeds shall be used to implement the redevelopment plans adopted by the Orange County Board of County Commissioners, Apopka City Commission, and Lake County Board of County Commissioners.

3. Of the total proceeds, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners, Apopka City Commission, and Lake County Board of County Commissioners, may not expend more than:

a. Twenty percent for labor force training related to the redevelopment plan;

b. Thirty-three percent for financial or economic incentives for business location or expansion in the redevelopment area; and

c. Four percent for administration, planning, and marketing the redevelopment plan.

4. The Orange County Board of County Commissioners, Apopka City Commission, and Lake County Board of County Commissioners must spend those revenues not expended under subparagraph 3. for infrastructure needs necessary for the redevelopment plan.

(6) EXISTING CONSENT OR SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS PRESERVED.–Except to the extent specifically modified in this section, the district’s existing consent or settlement agreements with A. Duda and Sons, Inc., and Zellwood, including requirements regarding compliance with any discharge limitations established for Lake Apopka, shall remain in effect.

(7) APPLICABILITY OF LAWS AND WATER QUALITY STANDARDS; AUTHORITY OF DISTRICT AND DEPARTMENT.–Except as otherwise provided in this section, nothing in this section shall be construed:

(a) As altering any applicable state water quality standards, laws, or district or department rules; or

(b) To restrict the authority otherwise granted the department and the district pursuant to this chapter or chapter 403. The provisions of this section shall be deemed supplemental to the authority granted pursuant to this chapter and chapter 403.

History.–s. 1, ch. 96-207; s. 3, ch. 97-81; s. 5, ch. 2000-153; s. 52, ch. 2000-158.

373.465 Lake Panasoffkee Restoration Council.–There is created within the Southwest Florida Water Management District the Lake Panasoffkee Restoration Council.

(1)(a) The council shall consist of seven voting members: two representatives of lakefront property owners, one environmental engineer, one person with training in biology or another scientific discipline, one person with training as an attorney, one person with training as an engineer, and one representative of the sport fishing industry, all to be appointed by the Sumter County Commission. No person serving on the council may be appointed to any of the council advisory group agencies’ councils, board, or commission. The council members shall serve as advisors to the governing board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The council is subject to the provisions of chapters 119 and 120.

(b) The council advisory group to the council shall consist of: one representative each from the Southwest Florida Water Management District, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Department of Transportation, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Withlacoochee River Basin Board, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers, to be appointed by their respective agencies, all of whom must have training in biology or another scientific discipline.

(2) Immediately after their appointment, the council shall meet and organize by electing a chair, a vice chair, and a secretary, whose terms shall be for 2 years each. Council officers shall not serve consecutive terms. Each council member shall be a voting member.

(3) The council shall meet at the call of its chair, at the request of six of its members, or at the request of the chair of the governing board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

(4) The council shall have the powers and duties to:

(a) Review audits and all data specifically related to lake restoration techniques and sport fish population recovery strategies, including data and strategies for shoreline restoration, sediment control and removal, exotic species management, floating tussock management or removal, navigation, water quality, and fisheries habitat improvement, particularly as they may apply to Lake Panasoffkee.

(b) Evaluate whether additional studies are needed.

(c) Explore all possible sources of funding to conduct the restoration activities.

(d) Advise the governing board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District regarding the best approach to restoring Lake Panasoffkee, and make a recommendation as to which techniques should be part of the restoration program. The governing board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District shall respond in writing to the council if any recommendations from the council require reevaluation. The response shall detail reasons for reevaluation.

(e) Report to the Legislature before November 25 of each year on the progress of the Lake Panasoffkee restoration plan and any recommendations for the next fiscal year.

(5) The Southwest Florida Water Management District shall provide staff to assist the council in carrying out the provisions of this act.

(6) Members of the council shall receive no compensation for their services, but are entitled to be reimbursed for per diem and travel expenses incurred during execution of their official duties, as provided in s. 112.061. State and federal agencies shall be responsible for the per diem and travel expenses of their respective appointees to the council and the Southwest Florida Water Management District shall be responsible for per diem and travel expenses of other appointees to the council.

History.–s. 1, ch. 98-69; s. 190, ch. 99-245.

373.466 Lake Panasoffkee restoration program.–

(1) The Southwest Florida Water Management District, in conjunction with the Department of Environmental Protection, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Sumter County Commission, and the Lake Panasoffkee Restoration Council, shall review existing restoration proposals to determine which ones are the most environmentally sound and economically feasible methods of improving the fisheries and natural systems of Lake Panasoffkee.

(2) The Southwest Florida Water Management District, in consultation and by agreement with the Department of Environmental Protection, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and pertinent local governments, shall develop tasks to be undertaken by those entities necessary to initiate the Lake Panasoffkee restoration program recommended by the Lake Panasoffkee Restoration Council. These agencies shall:

(a) Evaluate different methodologies for removing the extensive tussocks and build-up of organic matter along the shoreline and of the aquatic vegetation in the lake; and

(b) Conduct any additional studies as recommended by the Lake Panasoffkee Restoration Council.

(3) Contingent on the Legislature appropriating funds for the Lake Panasoffkee restoration program and in conjunction with financial participation by federal, other state, and local governments, the appropriate agencies shall through competitive bid award contracts to implement the activities of the Lake Panasoffkee restoration program.

History.–s. 2, ch. 98-69; s. 191, ch. 99-245.

373.467 The Harris Chain of Lakes Restoration Council.–There is created within the St. Johns River Water Management District, with assistance from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Lake County Water Authority, the Harris Chain of Lakes Restoration Council.

(1)(a) The council shall consist of nine voting members, which include: a representative of waterfront property owners, a representative of the sport fishing industry, an environmental engineer, a person with training in biology or another scientific discipline, a person with training as an attorney, a physician, a person with training as an engineer, and two residents of the county who do not meet any of the other qualifications for membership enumerated in this paragraph, each to be appointed by the Lake County legislative delegation. No person serving on the council may be appointed to a council, board, or commission of any council advisory group agency. The council members shall serve as advisors to the governing board of the St. Johns River Water Management District. The council is subject to the provisions of chapters 119 and 120.

(b) There shall be an advisory group to the council which shall consist of one representative each from the St. Johns River Water Management District, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Transportation, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Lake County Water Authority, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and the University of Florida, each of whom shall be appointed by his or her respective agency, and each of whom, with the exception of the representatives from the Lake County Water Authority and the University of Florida, shall have had training in biology or another scientific discipline.

(2) Immediately after appointment, the council shall meet and organize by electing a chair, a vice chair, and a secretary, whose terms shall be for 2 years each. Council officers shall not serve consecutive terms. Each council member shall be a voting member.

(3) The council shall meet at the call of its chair, at the request of six of its members, or at the request of the chair of the governing board of the St. Johns River Water Management District.

(4) The council shall have the powers and duties to:

(a) Review audits and all data specifically related to lake restoration techniques and sport fish population recovery strategies, including data and strategies for shoreline restoration, sediment control and removal, exotic species management, floating tussock management or removal, navigation, water quality, and fish and wildlife habitat improvement, particularly as they may apply to the Harris Chain of Lakes.

(b) Evaluate whether additional studies are needed.

(c) Explore all possible sources of funding to conduct the restoration activities.

(d) Report to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives before November 25 of each year on the progress of the Harris Chain of Lakes restoration program and any recommendations for the next fiscal year.

(5) The St. Johns River Water Management District shall provide staff to assist the council in carrying out the provisions of this act.

(6) Members of the council shall receive no compensation for their services, but are entitled to be reimbursed for per diem and travel expenses incurred during execution of their official duties, as provided in s. 112.061. State and federal agencies shall be responsible for the per diem and travel expenses of their respective appointees to the council, and the St. Johns River Water Management District shall be responsible for per diem and travel expenses of other appointees to the council.

History.–s. 1, ch. 2001-246.

373.468 The Harris Chain of Lakes restoration program.–

(1) The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the St. Johns River Water Management District, in conjunction with the Department of Environmental Protection, pertinent local governments, and the Harris Chain of Lakes Restoration Council, shall review existing restoration proposals to determine which ones are the most environmentally sound and economically feasible methods of improving the fish and wildlife habitat and natural systems of the Harris Chain of Lakes.

(2) To initiate the Harris Chain of Lakes restoration program recommended by the Harris Chain of Lakes Restoration Council, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, with assistance from the St. Johns River Water Management District and in consultation and by agreement with the Department of Environmental Protection and pertinent local governments, shall develop tasks to be undertaken by those entities for the enhancement of fish and wildlife habitat. These agencies shall:

(a) Evaluate different methodologies for removing the extensive tussocks and buildup of organic matter along the shoreline and of the aquatic vegetation in the lake.

(b) Conduct any additional studies as recommended by the Harris Chain of Lakes Restoration Council.

(3) Contingent on the Legislature’s appropriating funds for the Harris Chain of Lakes restoration program and in conjunction with financial participation by federal, other state, and local governments, the appropriate agencies shall, through competitive bid, award contracts to implement the activities of the Harris Chain of Lakes restoration program.

(4) The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is authorized to conduct a demonstration restoration project on the Harris Chain of Lakes for the purpose of creating better habitat for fish and wildlife.

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