Florida Senate - 2022 SB 864 By Senator Ausley 3-00789B-22 2022864__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to a cost-share program for 3 agriculture, shellfish aquaculture, and timber 4 operations; providing a short title; creating s. 5 570.891, F.S.; providing legislative findings; 6 establishing a cost-share program within the 7 Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; 8 requiring the program, subject to legislative 9 appropriation, to provide funds equal to a specified 10 percentage of the value of environmental services that 11 the agriculture, shellfish aquaculture, and timber 12 industries provide; requiring the department to 13 conduct a study to determine the value of such 14 environmental services, in consultation with certain 15 entities; requiring the department to cooperate with 16 certain entities to promote the cost-share program and 17 prioritize distributions to certain communities; 18 requiring the department to update certain materials 19 with information on participation in the cost-share 20 program; requiring the department to adopt rules; 21 providing an effective date. 22 23 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 24 25 Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Protecting 26 Florida’s Natural Resources Act.” 27 Section 2. Section 570.891, Florida Statutes, is created to 28 read: 29 570.891 Agriculture, shellfish aquaculture, and timber 30 operations cost-share program.— 31 (1) The Legislature finds that: 32 (a) Maintaining healthy and sustainable agriculture, 33 shellfish aquaculture, and timber industries is vital to this 34 state’s economy, environment, and natural resources, including 35 making significant environmental contributions to water quality 36 and quantity, air purification, carbon sequestration, coastal 37 resilience, and habitat for threatened and endangered wildlife 38 species. 39 (b) The continued expansion of urban and coastal areas has 40 increased pressure on the agriculture and timber industries, and 41 in recent years there has been a significant decrease in 42 agricultural and timber acreage. 43 (c) Water quality and quantity problems in this state’s 44 coastal waters have harmed the aquaculture industry, 45 specifically shellfish farming. Filter feeder shellfish, such as 46 oysters, hard clams, and sunray venus clams, are beneficial to 47 this state’s imperiled seagrass. 48 (d) To ensure healthy and sustainable agriculture, 49 shellfish aquaculture, and timber industries, a cost-share 50 program is necessary to provide incentives to the owners within 51 these industries to continue activities that are beneficial to 52 water quality and quantity, air purification, carbon 53 sequestration, nutrient remediation, coastal resilience, and 54 habitat for threatened and endangered wildlife species. 55 (2) A cost-share program is established within the 56 Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Subject to the 57 appropriation of funds by the Legislature, the program shall 58 reimburse the owners of agriculture, shellfish aquaculture, and 59 timber operations for up to 75 percent of the value of the 60 environmental resources and services provided by such 61 industries. 62 (3) The department shall do all of the following: 63 (a) In consultation with the Florida Sea Grant and the 64 University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural 65 Sciences, conduct a study to determine the value of 66 environmental services, such as water recharge, stormwater 67 filtration, wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, nutrient 68 remediation, coastal resilience and flood protection, and air 69 quality benefits, provided by the agriculture, shellfish 70 aquaculture, and timber industries. 71 (b) In cooperation with the University of Florida Shellfish 72 Aquaculture Research and Extension Program, the Wakulla 73 Environmental Institute, and the Florida Agricultural and 74 Mechanical University College of Agriculture and Food Sciences, 75 promote the cost-share program and prioritize distribution of 76 assistance to low-income communities, historically under 77 resourced communities of color, and rural communities impacted 78 by Hurricane Michael in 2018. 79 (c) Update all relevant brochures, websites, and marketing 80 materials to provide information on participation in the cost 81 share program. 82 (d) Adopt rules to implement this section. 83 Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2022.