259.101 Florida Preservation 2000 Act.

(1) SHORT TITLE.–This section may be cited as the “Florida Preservation 2000 Act.”

(2) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.–The Legislature finds and declares that:

(a) The alteration and development of Florida’s natural areas to accommodate its rapidly growing population have contributed to the degradation of water resources, the fragmentation and destruction of wildlife habitats, the loss of recreation space, and the diminishment of wetlands and forests.

(b) Imminent development of Florida’s remaining natural areas and continuing increases in land values necessitate an aggressive program of public land acquisition during the next decade to preserve the quality of life that attracts so many people to Florida.

(c) Acquisition of public lands, in fee simple or in any lesser interest, should be based on a comprehensive assessment of Florida’s natural resources and planned so as to protect the integrity of ecological systems and to provide multiple benefits, including preservation of fish and wildlife habitat, recreation space, and water recharge areas. Governmental agencies responsible for public land acquisition should work together to purchase lands jointly and to coordinate individual purchases within ecological systems.

(d) One of the purposes of the Florida Communities Trust program is to acquire, protect, and preserve open space and recreation properties within urban areas where pristine animal and plant communities no longer exist. These areas are often overlooked in other programs because of their smaller size and proximity to developed property. These smaller parcels are, however, critically important to the quality of life in these urban areas for the residents who live there as well as to the many visitors to the state. The trust shall consider projects submitted by local governments which further the goals, objectives, and policies of the conservation, recreation and open space, or coastal elements of their local comprehensive plans or which serve to conserve natural resources or resolve land use conflicts.

(e) South Florida’s water supply and unique natural environment depend on the protection of lands buffering the East Everglades and the Everglades water conservation areas.

In addition, the Legislature recognizes the conflicting desires of the citizens of this state to prosper through economic development and to preserve the natural areas of Florida that development threatens to claim. The Legislature further recognizes the urgency of acquiring natural areas in the state for preservation, yet acknowledges the difficulty of ensuring adequate funding for accelerated acquisition in light of other equally critical financial needs of the state. It is the Legislature’s desire and intent to fund the implementation of the Florida Preservation 2000 Act for each of the 10 years of the program’s duration and to do so in a fiscally responsible manner.

(3) LAND ACQUISITION PROGRAMS SUPPLEMENTED.–Less the costs of issuance, the costs of funding reserve accounts, and other costs with respect to the bonds, the proceeds of bonds issued pursuant to this act shall be deposited into the Florida Preservation 2000 Trust Fund created by s. 375.045. In fiscal year 2000-2001, for each Florida Preservation 2000 program described in paragraphs (a)-(g), that portion of each program’s total remaining cash balance which, as of June 30, 2000, is in excess of that program’s total remaining appropriation balances shall be redistributed by the department and deposited into the Save Our Everglades Trust Fund for land acquisition. For purposes of calculating the total remaining cash balances for this redistribution, the Florida Preservation 2000 Series 2000 bond proceeds, including interest thereon, and the fiscal year 1999-2000 General Appropriations Act amounts shall be deducted from the remaining cash and appropriation balances, respectively. The remaining proceeds shall be distributed by the Department of Environmental Protection in the following manner:

(a) Fifty percent to the Department of Environmental Protection for the purchase of public lands as described in s. 259.032. Of this 50 percent, at least one-fifth shall be used for the acquisition of coastal lands.

(b) Thirty percent to the Department of Environmental Protection for the purchase of water management lands pursuant to s. 373.59, to be distributed among the water management districts as provided in that section. Funds received by each district may also be used for acquisition of lands necessary to implement surface water improvement and management plans or for acquisition of lands necessary to implement the Everglades Construction Project authorized by s. 373.4592.

(c) Ten percent to the Department of Community Affairs to provide land acquisition grants and loans to local governments through the Florida Communities Trust pursuant to part III of chapter 380. From funds allocated to the trust, $3 million annually shall be used by the Division of State Lands within the Department of Environmental Protection to implement the Green Swamp Land Protection Initiative specifically for the purchase of conservation easements, as defined in s. 380.0677(4), of lands, or severable interests or rights in lands, in the Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern. From funds allocated to the trust, $3 million annually shall be used by the Monroe County Comprehensive Plan Land Authority specifically for the purchase of any real property interest in either those lands subject to the Rate of Growth Ordinances adopted by local governments in Monroe County or those lands within the boundary of an approved Conservation and Recreation Lands project located within the Florida Keys or Key West Areas of Critical State Concern; however, title to lands acquired within the boundary of an approved Conservation and Recreation Lands project may, in accordance with an approved joint acquisition agreement, vest in the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund. Of the remaining funds allocated to the trust after the above transfers occur, one-half shall be matched by local governments on a dollar-for-dollar basis. To the extent allowed by federal requirements for the use of bond proceeds, the trust shall expend Preservation 2000 funds to carry out the purposes of part III of chapter 380.

(d) Two and nine-tenths percent to the Department of Environmental Protection for the purchase of inholdings and additions to state parks. For the purposes of this paragraph, “state park” means all real property in the state under the jurisdiction of the Division of Recreation and Parks of the department, or which may come under its jurisdiction.

(e) Two and nine-tenths percent to the Division of Forestry of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to fund the acquisition of state forest inholdings and additions pursuant to s. 589.07.

(f) Two and nine-tenths percent to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to fund the acquisition of inholdings and additions to lands managed by the commission which are important to the conservation of fish and wildlife.

(g) One and three-tenths percent to the Department of Environmental Protection for the Florida Greenways and Trails Program, to acquire greenways and trails or greenways and trails systems pursuant to chapter 260, including, but not limited to, abandoned railroad rights-of-way and the Florida National Sc

Legislative History

s. 1, ch. 90-217; s. 2, ch. 91-62; s. 7, ch. 91-80; s. 1, ch. 91-192; s. 5, ch. 92-288; s. 64, ch. 93-206; s. 3, ch. 94-115; s. 3, ch. 94-212; s. 17, ch. 94-240; s. 104, ch. 94-356; s. 1, ch. 95-334; s. 4, ch. 95-349; s. 6, ch. 96-389; s. 37, ch. 97-153; ss. 9, 10, ch. 97-164; s. 13, ch. 98-336; s. 35, ch. 99-13; s. 20, ch. 99-247; s. 2, ch. 2000-129; s. 31, ch. 2000-152; s. 40, ch. 2000-158; s. 10, ch. 2000-170; s. 7, ch. 2000-197; s. 47, ch. 2001-61; ss. 36, 37, ch. 2001-254; s. 13, ch. 2001-275; s. 8, ch. 2003-265.