Florida Senate - 2021 COMMITTEE AMENDMENT Bill No. CS for SB 976 Ì380062yÎ380062 LEGISLATIVE ACTION Senate . House . . . . . ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— The Committee on Appropriations (Brodeur) recommended the following: 1 Senate Amendment (with title amendment) 2 3 Delete everything after the enacting clause 4 and insert: 5 Section 1. Section 259.1055, Florida Statutes, is created 6 to read: 7 259.1055 Florida wildlife corridor.— 8 (1) SHORT TITLE.—This section may be cited as the “The 9 Florida Wildlife Corridor Act.” 10 (2) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.—The Legislature finds that this 11 state’s population is growing rapidly and that lands and waters 12 that provide this state’s green infrastructure and vital habitat 13 for wide-ranging wildlife, such as the Florida panther, need to 14 be preserved and protected. The Legislature further finds that 15 the Florida wildlife corridor is an existing physical, 16 geographically defined area consisting of more than 18 million 17 acres of land, 10 million of which are conservation lands. 18 (3) PURPOSE.—The purpose of this act, and of the Florida 19 wildlife corridor itself, is to create incentives for 20 conservation and sustainable development while sustaining and 21 conserving the green infrastructure that is the foundation of 22 this state’s economy and quality of life by doing all of the 23 following: 24 (a) Maintaining wildlife access to the habitats needed to 25 allow for migration of and genetic exchange amongst regional 26 wildlife populations. 27 (b) Preventing fragmentation of wildlife habitats. 28 (c) Protecting the headwaters of major watersheds, 29 including the Everglades and the St. Johns River. 30 (d) Providing ecological connectivity of the lands needed 31 for flood and sea-level rise resiliency and large-scale 32 ecosystem functions, such as water management and prescribed 33 burns essential for land management and restoration. 34 (e) Preserving and protecting land and waters that are not 35 only vital to wildlife but are critical to this state’s 36 groundwater recharge and that serve as watersheds that provide 37 drinking water to most Floridians and help maintain the health 38 of downstream coastal estuaries. 39 (f) Providing for wildlife crossings for the protection and 40 safety of wildlife and the traveling public. 41 (g) Helping to sustain this state’s working ranches, farms, 42 and forests that provide compatible wildlife habitats while 43 sustaining rural prosperity and agricultural production. 44 (4) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term: 45 (a) “Conserved lands” means federal, state, or local lands 46 owned or managed for conservation purposes, including, but not 47 limited to, federal, state, and local parks; federal and state 48 forests; wildlife management areas; wildlife refuges; military 49 bases and airports with conservation lands; properties owned by 50 land trusts and managed for conservation; and privately owned 51 land with a conservation easement, including, but not limited 52 to, ranches, forestry operations, and groves. 53 (b) “Department” means the Department of Environmental 54 Protection. 55 (c) “Florida Ecological Greenways Network” is a 56 periodically updated model developed to delineate large 57 connected areas of statewide ecological significance. 58 (d) “Florida wildlife corridor” means the conserved lands 59 and opportunity areas defined by the department as priority one, 60 two, and three categories of the Florida Ecological Greenways 61 Network. 62 (e) “Opportunity area” means those lands and waters within 63 the Florida wildlife corridor which are not conserved lands and 64 the green spaces within the Florida wildlife corridor which lack 65 conservation status, are contiguous to or between conserved 66 lands, and provide an opportunity to develop the Florida 67 wildlife corridor into a statewide conservation network. 68 (f) “Wildlife” has the same meaning as in Article II of the 69 Wildlife Violator Compact Act, s. 379.2255. 70 (g) “Wildlife corridor” means a network of connected 71 wildlife habitats required for the long-term survival of and 72 genetic exchange amongst regional wildlife populations which 73 serves to prevent fragmentation by providing ecological 74 connectivity of the lands needed to furnish adequate habitats 75 and allow safe movement and dispersal. 76 (h) “Wildlife crossing” means a landscape design element 77 that connects two or more patches of wildlife habitat and that 78 is meant to function as a safe conduit for wildlife over or 79 beneath roads, waters, and other barriers to wildlife movement 80 and that is designed to protect Florida panther and other 81 critical wildlife habitat corridor connections and to reduce 82 motor vehicle collisions with wildlife, reduce the likelihood of 83 injuries and mortalities to humans and wildlife from such 84 collisions, and to reduce the potential for damage to motor 85 vehicles from such collisions. 86 (5) DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT.—The department shall: 87 (a) Encourage all state, regional, and local agencies that 88 acquire lands, including, but not limited to, the Fish and 89 Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Department of 90 Transportation, to include in their land-buying efforts the 91 acquisition of sufficient legal interest in opportunity areas to 92 ensure the continued viability of the Florida wildlife corridor. 93 (b) Encourage investment in conservation easements 94 voluntarily entered into by private landowners to conserve 95 opportunity areas. 96 (c) Encourage state land-buying agencies and state land 97 management agencies to consider the conservation of opportunity 98 areas as a multi-phased project for the purpose of listing, 99 acquisition, and management. 100 (d) Consider the inclusion of private funds to supplement 101 the state’s contribution in its efforts to acquire a fee or 102 less-than-fee interest in lands that contain recognized 103 opportunity areas and conserved lands in the Florida wildlife 104 corridor. 105 (e) Seek opportunities to attract new sources of federal 106 funding and to strengthen existing programs to protect and 107 conserve the Florida wildlife corridor. 108 (f) Encourage private landowners, through existing and 109 future incentives and liability protections, to continue to 110 allow their private property to be used for the preservation and 111 enhancement of the Florida wildlife corridor. 112 (g) Encourage new approaches and novel financing mechanisms 113 for long-term protection of the Florida wildlife corridor, 114 including, but not limited to, public-private partnerships; 115 payments for ecosystem services; blended financing for growth, 116 resilience, and green infrastructure; and support for the 117 sustainable growth of agriculture. 118 (h) Encourage state and local agencies with economic and 119 ecotourism development responsibilities to recognize the 120 importance of the Florida wildlife corridor in encouraging 121 public access to wildlife areas and bringing nature-based 122 tourism to local communities and to support acquisition and 123 development activities for preservation and enhancement of the 124 Florida wildlife corridor. 125 (i) Encourage private investment in ecotourism focused on 126 the Florida wildlife corridor. 127 (j) Encourage the protection, preservation, and enhancement 128 of the natural value of the Florida wildlife corridor for 129 current and future residents of this state. 130 (6) RESTRICTIONS.—A local or state governmental entity may 131 not restrict proposed future activities on private properties 132 designated within the Florida wildlife corridor boundaries based 133 upon the property’s inclusion in the Florida wildlife corridor 134 area. 135 Section 2. (1) The St. Johns River Water Management 136 District, in consultation with the Department of Environmental 137 Protection, Seminole County, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation 138 Commission, and the Department of Transportation, shall issue a 139 report by December 31, 2021, that includes information and 140 updates regarding the implementation of recommendations from the 141 Little Wekiva Watershed Management Plan Final Report dated 142 November 2005. The report must include, but not be limited to, 143 the following information: a description of all projects or 144 recommendations included in the report that have been 145 implemented and their completion dates, an analysis of how the 146 projects or recommendations achieved the results included in the 147 report, an analysis of costs for ongoing operation and 148 maintenance of the constructed projects completed, a list of 149 permit violations which may have contributed to sediment buildup 150 north of S.R. 436, an analysis of any new projects that may 151 benefit the watershed, and recommendations and cost estimates 152 for future studies or projects that may be necessary to identify 153 new or potentially significant contributors of sediment 154 accumulation in the Little Wekiva River. 155 (2)(a) The Department of Environmental Protection and the 156 water management district shall immediately review, with the 157 goal of identifying significant contributors of sediment 158 accumulation, any permits which the water management district 159 has determined may have contributed to sediment buildup north of 160 S.R. 436 to assess whether the permittee is in violation of any 161 permit conditions. Appropriate action to resolve compliance 162 issues shall be undertaken pursuant to chapter 373 if the 163 department or the water management district discovers a 164 violation of any permit condition. 165 (b) As part of the review, the Department of Environmental 166 Protection and the water management district shall review known 167 violations of such permits since 2018, and attempt to determine, 168 using existing information, what effects such violations may 169 have had on sediment accumulation in the Little Wekiva River. 170 Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2021. 171 172 ================= T I T L E A M E N D M E N T ================ 173 And the title is amended as follows: 174 Delete everything before the enacting clause 175 and insert: 176 A bill to be entitled 177 An act relating to the protection of ecological systems; 178 creating s. 259.1055, F.S.; providing a short title; providing 179 legislative findings and a purpose for the Florida Wildlife 180 Corridor Act; defining terms; requiring the Department of 181 Environmental Protection to take certain actions to support the 182 Florida wildlife corridor; prohibiting proposed future 183 activities on private properties within the Florida wildlife 184 corridor from being restricted by local or state governmental 185 entities; requiring the St. Johns River Water Management 186 District, in consultation with the Department of Environmental 187 Protection, Seminole County, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation 188 Commission, and the Department of Transportation, to issue a 189 report that includes information and updates regarding the 190 implementation of recommendations from the Little Wekiva 191 Watershed Management Plan Final Report dated November 2005 by a 192 specified date; requiring the Department of Environmental 193 Protection and the water management district to review certain 194 permits along the Little Wekiva River; requiring certain 195 enforcement actions to be taken against noncompliant permittees; 196 providing an effective date.