Florida Senate - 2020 SB 1042 By Senator Albritton 26-01332-20 20201042__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to aquatic preserves; creating s. 3 258.3991, F.S.; creating the Nature Coast Aquatic 4 Preserve; designating the preserve for inclusion in 5 the aquatic preserve system; describing the boundaries 6 of the preserve; outlining the authority of the Board 7 of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund in 8 respect to the preserve; requiring the board to adopt 9 rules; prohibiting the establishment and management of 10 the preserve from infringing upon the riparian rights 11 of upland property owners adjacent to or within the 12 preserve; providing civil penalties; providing 13 applicability; providing an effective date. 14 15 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 16 17 Section 1. Section 258.3991, Florida Statutes, is created 18 to read: 19 258.3991 Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve.— 20 (1) DESIGNATION.—The area described in subsection (2) which 21 lies within Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus Counties, is designated 22 by the Legislature for inclusion in the aquatic preserve system 23 under the Florida Aquatic Preserve Act of 1975 and shall be 24 known as the “Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve.” It is the intent 25 of the Legislature that the Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve be 26 preserved in an essentially natural condition so that its 27 biological and aesthetic values may endure for the enjoyment of 28 future generations. 29 (2) BOUNDARIES.—For the purposes of this section, the 30 Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve consists of the state-owned 31 submerged lands lying west of the right-of-way of U.S. Highway 32 19 within the boundaries of Pasco County, as described in s. 33 7.51, Hernando County, as described in s. 7.27, and Citrus 34 County, as described in s. 7.09, to the south boundary of St. 35 Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve, as described in s. 258.39(20), 36 and the westerly projection thereof, and also including all the 37 state-owned submerged lands within Citrus County lying west of 38 the west boundary of St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve, lying 39 north of the westerly projection of the south boundary of St. 40 Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve, and lying south of a line 41 extending westerly along northerly coordinate 1663693 feet, 42 Florida West Zone (NAD83), where the northern and southern 43 boundaries of the Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve will be 44 continuous with the southern boundary of the Big Bend Seagrasses 45 Aquatic Preserve and the northern boundary of the Pinellas 46 County Aquatic Preserve, respectively. 47 (3) AUTHORITY OF TRUSTEES.—The Board of Trustees of the 48 Internal Improvement Trust Fund shall maintain the aquatic 49 preserve subject to the following: 50 (a) The board may not approve or consummate the further 51 sale, transfer, or lease of sovereign submerged lands in the 52 preserve, except upon a showing of extreme hardship on the part 53 of the applicant and a determination by the board that such 54 sale, transfer, or lease is in the public interest. 55 (b) The board may not approve the further dredging or 56 filling of submerged lands of the preserve except: 57 1. Minimum dredging and spoiling of submerged lands may be 58 authorized for existing public navigation projects, as a public 59 necessity, or for preservation of the preserve according to the 60 expressed intent of this section. 61 2. Other alterations of the physical conditions of the 62 submerged lands, including the placement of riprap, may be 63 authorized as necessary to enhance the quality and utility of 64 the aquatic preserve. 65 3. The board may authorize minimum dredging and filling of 66 the submerged lands for the construction and maintenance of 67 marinas, piers, or docks and the maintenance of existing 68 attendant navigation channels and access roads. Such projects 69 may be authorized only upon a specific finding by the board that 70 there is assurance that the project will be constructed and 71 operated in a manner that will not adversely affect the water 72 quality, valuable habitats, and utility of the preserve. This 73 subparagraph does not authorize the connection of upland canals 74 to the waters of the preserve. 75 4. The board may authorize the dredging of submerged lands 76 if the board determines that such dredging is necessary to 77 eliminate conditions hazardous to the public health or to 78 eliminate stagnant waters, islands, and spoil banks, and that 79 such dredging would enhance the aesthetic and environmental 80 quality, habitats, and utility of the preserve and is clearly in 81 the public interest as determined by the board. 82 (c) Before approving any dredging or filling as provided in 83 paragraph (b), the board must give public notice of such 84 dredging and filling as required under s. 253.115. 85 (d) There may not be any drilling of wells, excavation for 86 shell or minerals, or erection of structures other than docks 87 within the preserve unless such activity is associated with 88 activity that is authorized under this section. 89 (e) The board may not approve the seaward relocation of 90 bulkhead lines or the further establishment of bulkhead lines 91 except when a proposed bulkhead line is located at the line of 92 mean high water along the shoreline. Construction, replacement, 93 or relocation of a seawall is prohibited without the approval of 94 the board, which approval may be granted only if riprap 95 construction is used in the seawall. The board may grant 96 approval under this paragraph by a letter of consent. 97 (f) Notwithstanding this section, the board may, for lands 98 lying within the preserve: 99 1. Enter into agreements for and establish lines 100 delineating sovereignty and privately owned lands. 101 2. Enter into agreements for the exchange of, and exchange, 102 sovereignty lands for privately owned lands. 103 3. Accept gifts of land within or contiguous to the 104 preserve. 105 4. Negotiate or enter into agreements with owners of lands 106 contiguous to public lands for any public or private use of any 107 of such lands. 108 5. Take any action that is convenient or necessary to 109 accomplish any of the acts and matters authorized under this 110 paragraph. 111 6. Conduct restoration and enhancement efforts in the 112 preserve and its tributaries. 113 7. Stabilize eroding shorelines of the preserve and its 114 tributaries which are contributing to turbidity by planting 115 natural vegetation to the greatest extent feasible and placing 116 riprap, as determined by Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus Counties in 117 conjunction with the Department of Environmental Protection. 118 (4) RULES.— 119 (a) The board shall adopt and enforce reasonable rules to 120 carry out this section and to provide: 121 1. Additional preserve management criteria as necessary to 122 accommodate special circumstances. 123 2. Regulation of human activity within the preserve in such 124 a manner as not to interfere unreasonably with lawful and 125 traditional public uses of the preserve, such as sport fishing, 126 commercial fishing, boating, and swimming. 127 (b) Other uses of the preserve, or human activity within 128 the preserve, although not originally contemplated, may be 129 authorized by the board, but only subsequent to a formal finding 130 of compatibility with the purposes of this section. 131 (5) RIPARIAN RIGHTS.—The establishment or the management of 132 the preserve may not operate to infringe upon the riparian 133 rights of upland property owners adjacent to or within the 134 preserve. Reasonable improvement for ingress and egress, 135 mosquito control, shore protection, public utility expansion, 136 and similar purposes may be authorized by the board or the 137 Department of Environmental Protection, subject to any other 138 applicable laws under the jurisdiction of other agencies. 139 However, before approving any such improvements, the board or 140 the department must give public notice as required under s. 141 253.115. 142 (6) ENFORCEMENT.—This section may be enforced in accordance 143 with s. 403.412. In addition, the Department of Legal Affairs 144 may bring an action for civil penalties of $5,000 per day 145 against a person as defined in s. 1.01(3) who violates this 146 section or any rule or regulation issued hereunder. 147 (7) APPLICABILITY.—This section is subject to the Florida 148 Electrical Power Plant Siting Act, as described in ss. 403.501 149 403.518. 150 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.