Florida Senate - 2017 SB 1624 By Senator Farmer 34-00831A-17 20171624__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to coral reefs; defining terms; 3 establishing the Southeast Florida Coral Reef 4 Ecosystem Protection Area; requiring the Coral Reef 5 Conservation Program, in coordination with the Fish 6 and Wildlife Conservation Commission, to develop a 7 comprehensive management plan for the area using and 8 building on previous stakeholder engagement and public 9 comment; requiring the reef program and commission to 10 seek public comment on the proposed plan; providing 11 requirements for the plan; requiring the Department of 12 Environmental Protection to submit the proposed plan 13 to the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement 14 Trust Fund; providing an effective date. 15 16 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 17 18 Section 1. Southeast Florida Coral Reef Ecosystem 19 Protection Area.— 20 (1) As used in this section, the term: 21 (a) “Commission” means the Fish and Wildlife Conservation 22 Commission. 23 (b) “Department” means the Department of Environmental 24 Protection. 25 (c) “Protection area” means the Southeast Florida Coral 26 Reef Ecosystem Protection Area established in this section. 27 (d) “Reef program” means the Department of Environmental 28 Protection’s Coral Reef Conservation Program. 29 (2) There is established the Southeast Florida Coral Reef 30 Ecosystem Protection Area. The protection area shall consist of 31 the sovereignty submerged lands and state waters offshore of 32 Broward, Martin, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties from St. 33 Lucie Inlet to the northern boundary of the Biscayne National 34 Park. 35 (3) The reef program, in partnership with the commission, 36 shall, by December 31, 2018, develop a comprehensive management 37 plan for the protection area. 38 (4) The reef program, in developing the comprehensive 39 management plan along with the commission, shall include and 40 build on previous stakeholder engagement in and public comment 41 on the reef program which were solicited through the Southeast 42 Florida Coral Reef Initiative, the Southeast Florida Coastal 43 Ocean Taskforce, the reef program Technical Advisory Committee, 44 the Our Florida Reefs Community Working Groups, and other 45 efforts. The reef program, in coordination with the commission, 46 shall solicit public comment on its proposed comprehensive 47 management plan and hold public hearings throughout Southeast 48 Florida before submitting its proposed comprehensive management 49 plan to the department. 50 (5)(a) The portion of the comprehensive management plan 51 which is led by the reef program must include measures to 52 improve the coral reef ecosystem of the protection area, 53 including: 54 1. Improvement of water quality, reef fish assemblages, and 55 the coral reef and its associated habitats; and 56 2. Reduction of cumulative impacts of the multiple 57 stressors on the coral reef and its associated habitats. 58 (b) The commission shall lead the portion of the 59 comprehensive management plan which addresses fisheries 60 management. 61 (6) By March 1, 2019, the department shall submit the 62 proposed comprehensive management plan to the Board of Trustees 63 of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund for adoption. 64 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.