(1) There is created within the department the Florida Greenways and Trails Council which shall advise the department in the execution of the department’s powers and duties under this chapter. The council shall be composed of 20 members, consisting of:
(a)1. Five members appointed by the Governor, with two members representing the trail user community, two members representing the greenway user community, and one member representing private landowners.
2. Three members appointed by the President of the Senate, with one member representing the trail user community and two members representing the greenway user community.
3. Three members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, with two members representing the trail user community and one member representing the greenway user community.
Those eligible to represent the trail user community shall be chosen from, but not be limited to, paved trail users, hikers, off-road bicyclists, users of off-highway vehicles, paddlers, equestrians, disabled outdoor recreational users, and commercial recreational interests. Those eligible to represent the greenway user community shall be chosen from, but not be limited to, conservation organizations, nature study organizations, and scientists and university experts.
(b) The 9 remaining members shall include:
1. The Secretary of Environmental Protection or a designee.
2. The executive director of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or a designee.
3. The Secretary of Transportation or a designee.
4. The Director of the Florida Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services or a designee.
5. The director of the Division of Historical Resources of the Department of State or a designee.
6. A representative of the water management districts. Membership on the council shall rotate among the five districts. The districts shall determine the order of rotation.
7. A representative of a federal land management agency. The Secretary of Environmental Protection shall identify the appropriate federal agency and request designation of a representative from the agency to serve on the council.
8. A representative of the regional planning councils to be appointed by the Secretary of Environmental Protection. Membership on the council shall rotate among the seven regional planning councils. The regional planning councils shall determine the order of rotation.
9. A representative of local governments to be appointed by the Secretary of Environmental Protection. Membership shall alternate between a county representative and a municipal representative.
(2) The department shall provide necessary staff assistance to the council.
(3) The term of all appointees shall be for 2 years unless otherwise specified. The appointees of the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives may be reappointed for no more than four consecutive terms. The representatives of the water management districts, regional planning councils, and local governments may be reappointed for no more than two consecutive terms. All other appointees shall serve until replaced.
(4) The duties of the council shall include the following:
(a) Facilitate a statewide system of interconnected landscape linkages, conservation corridors, greenbelts, recreational corridors and trails, scenic corridors, utilitarian corridors, reserves, regional parks and preserves, ecological sites, and cultural/historic/recreational sites using land-based trails that connect urban, suburban, and rural areas of the state and facilitate expansion of the statewide system of freshwater and saltwater paddling trails.
(b) Recommend priorities for critical links in the Florida Greenways and Trails System.
(c) Review recommendations of the office for acquisition funding under the Florida Greenways and Trails Program and recommend to the Secretary of Environmental Protection which projects should be acquired.
(d) Review designation proposals for inclusion in the Florida Greenways and Trails System.
(e) Encourage public-private partnerships to develop and manage greenways and trails.
(f) Review progress toward meeting established benchmarks and recommend appropriate action.
(g) Make recommendations for updating and revising the implementation plan for the Florida Greenways and Trails System.
(h) Promote greenways and trails support organizations.
(i) Support the Florida Greenways and Trails System through intergovernmental coordination, budget recommendations, advocacy, education, and any other appropriate way.
(5) The council shall establish procedures for conducting its affairs in execution of the duties and responsibilities stated in this section, which operating procedures shall include determination of a council chair and other appropriate operational guidelines. The council shall meet at the call of the chair, or at such times as may be prescribed by its operating procedures. The council may establish committees to conduct the work of the council and the committees may include nonmembers as appropriate.
(6) A vacancy on the council shall be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term in the same manner as the original appointment. Members whose terms have expired may continue to serve until replaced or reappointed.
(7) Members of the council may not receive any compensation for their services but are entitled to receive reimbursement for per diem and travel expenses incurred in the performance of their duties, as provided in s. 112.061.