(1) It is unlawful for any person to knowingly sell, offer for sale, or distribute any noxious weed, or any plant or plant product or regulated article infested or infected with any plant pest declared, by rule of the department, to be a public nuisance or a threat to the state’s agricultural and horticultural interests.
(2) Any person who knows or reasonably should know that such person possesses or has knowingly received any noxious weed or any plant, plant product, or regulated article sold, given away, carried, shipped, or delivered for carriage or shipment in violation of the provisions of this chapter or the rules adopted thereunder shall immediately inform the department and isolate and hold the weed, plant, plant product, or other thing unopened or unused subject to inspection or other disposition as may be provided by the department.
(3) It is unlawful for any person to fail to disclose or withhold available information regarding any infected or infested plant, plant product, regulated article, or noxious weed.
(4) The department, in conjunction with the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida, shall biennially review the official state lists of noxious weeds and invasive plants as provided for under this chapter and department rules. The plants listed in s. 369.251 shall be incorporated into the department lists as provided for under this chapter. A water management district when identifying by rule pursuant to s. 373.185, or a local government when identifying by ordinance or regulation adopted on or after March 1, 2002, a list of noxious weeds, invasive plants, or plants deemed to be a public nuisance or threat, shall only adopt the lists developed under this chapter or rules adopted thereunder. All local government ordinances or regulations, adopted prior to March 1, 2002, that list noxious weeds or invasive plants shall remain in effect. All local ordinances or regulations requiring the removal of invasive plants or noxious weeds from publicly or privately owned conservation areas or preserves shall be exempt from the limitations in this subsection.
(5)(a) Notwithstanding any other law or rule, a person may obtain a special permit from the department to plant Casuarina cunninghamiana as a windbreak for a commercial citrus grove if the plants are produced in an authorized registered nursery and certified by the department as being vegetatively propagated from male plants.
(b) Each application for a special permit shall be accompanied by a fee in an amount determined by the department, by rule, not to exceed $500. A special permit shall be required for each noncontiguous commercial citrus grove and shall be renewed every 5 years. The property owner is responsible for maintaining and producing for inspection the original nursery invoice with certification documentation. If ownership of the property is transferred, the seller must notify the department and provide the buyer with a copy of the special permit and copies of all invoices and certification documentation before the closing of the sale.
(c) Each application shall include a baseline survey of all lands within 500 feet of the proposed Casuarina cunninghamiana windbreak showing the location and identification to species of all existing Casuarina spp.
(d) Nurseries authorized to produce Casuarina cunninghamiana must obtain a special permit from the department certifying that the plants have been vegetatively propagated from sexually mature male source trees currently grown in the state. The importation of Casuarina cunninghamiana from any area outside the state to be used as a propagation source tree is prohibited. Each male source tree must be registered by the department as being a horticulturally true-to-type male plant and be labeled with a source tree registration number. Each nursery application for a special permit shall be accompanied by a fee in an amount determined by the department, by rule, not to exceed $200. Special permits shall be renewed annually. The department shall, by rule, set the amount of an annual fee, not to exceed $50, for each Casuarina cunninghamiana registered as a source tree. The source tree registration numbers of the parent plants must be documented on each invoice or other certification documentation provided to the buyer.
(e) All Casuarina cunninghamiana must be destroyed by the property owner within 6 months after:
1. The property owner takes permanent action to no longer use the site for commercial citrus production;
2. The site has not been used for commercial citrus production for a period of 5 years; or
3. The department determines that the Casuarina cunninghamiana on the site has become invasive. This determination shall be based on, but not limited to, the recommendation of the Noxious Weed and Invasive Plant Review Committee and the Department of Environmental Protection and in consultation with a representative of the citrus industry who has a Casuarina cunninghamiana windbreak.
If the owner or person in charge refuses or neglects to comply, the director or her or his authorized representative may, under authority of the department, proceed to destroy the plants. The expense of the destruction shall be assessed, collected, and enforced against the owner by the department. If the owner does not pay the assessed cost, the department may record a lien against the property.
(f) The use of Casuarina cunninghamiana for windbreaks does not preclude the department from issuing permits for the research or release of biological control agents to control Casuarina spp. pursuant to s. 581.083. (g) The use of Casuarina cunninghamiana for windbreaks may not restrict or interfere with any other agency or local government effort to manage or control noxious weeds or invasive plants, including Casuarina cunninghamiana. An agency or local government may not remove any Casuarina cunninghamiana planted as a windbreak under special permit issued by the department.
1. Upon obtaining a permit, the permitholder must annually maintain the Casuarina cunninghamiana authorized by a special permit as required in the permit. If the permitholder ceases to maintain the Casuarina cunninghamiana as required by the special permit, if the permit expires, or if the permitholder ceases to abide by the conditions of the special permit, the permitholder must remove and destroy the Casuarina cunninghamiana in a timely manner as specified in the permit.
2. If the department:
a. Determines that the permitholder is no longer maintaining the Casuarina cunninghamiana subject to the special permit and has not removed and destroyed the Casuarina cunninghamiana authorized by the special permit;
b. Determines that the continued use of Casuarina cunninghamiana as windbreaks presents an imminent danger to public health, safety, or welfare; or
c. Determines that the permitholder has exceeded the conditions of the authorized special permit,
the department may issue an immediate final order, which shall be immediately appealable or enjoinable pursuant to chapter 120, directing the permitholder to immediately remove and destroy the Casuarina cunninghamiana authorized to be planted under the special permit. A copy of the immediate final order shall be mailed to the permitholder.
3. If, upon issuance by the department of an immediate final order to the permitholder, the permitholder fails to remove and destroy the Casuarina cunninghamiana subject to the special permit within 60 days after issuance of the order, or such shorter period as is designated in the order as public health, safety, or welfare requires, the department may remove and destroy the Casuarina cunninghamiana that are the subject of the special permit. If the permitholder makes a written request to the department for an extension of time to remove and destroy the Casuarina cunninghamiana that demonstrates specific facts showing why the Casuarina cunninghamiana could not reasonably be removed and destroyed in the applicable timeframe, the department may extend the time for removing and destroying Casuarina cunninghamiana subject to a special permit. The reasonable costs and expenses incurred by the department for removing and destroying Casuarina cunninghamiana subject to a special permit shall be paid out of the Citrus Inspection Trust Fund and shall be reimbursed by the party to which the immediate final order is issued. If the party to which the immediate final order has been issued fails to reimburse the state within 60 days, the department may record a lien on the property. The lien shall be enforced by the department.
4. In order to carry out the purposes of this paragraph, the department or its agents may require a permitholder to provide verified statements of the planted acreage subject to the special permit and may review the permitholder’s business or planting records at her or his place of business during normal business hours in order to determine the acreage planted. The failure of a permitholder to furnish such statement or to make such records available is cause for suspension of the special permit. If the department finds such failure to be willful, the special permit may be revoked.