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.
   23  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   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         570.891Agriculture, 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.