(1) LEGISLATIVE FINDING.—The Legislature finds that the proper management of greenspace areas, including, without limitation, the urban forest, greenways, private and public forest preserves, wetlands, and aquatic zones, is essential to the state’s environment and economy and to the health and safety of its residents and visitors. The Legislature also finds that the limitation and control of nonindigenous plants and tree replacement and maintenance are vital to achieving the natural systems and recreational lands goals and policies of the state pursuant to s. 187.201(9), the State Comprehensive Plan. It is the intent of this section to enable local governments to establish a mechanism to provide dedicated funding for the aforementioned activities, when deemed necessary by a county or municipality. (2) In addition to any other funding mechanisms legally available to counties and municipalities to control invasive, nonindigenous aquatic or upland plants and manage urban forest resources, a county or municipality may create one or more green utilities or adopt fees sufficient to plan, restore, and manage urban forest resources, greenways, forest preserves, wetlands, and other aquatic zones and create a stewardship grant program for private natural areas. Counties or municipalities may create, alone or in cooperation with other counties or municipalities pursuant to the Florida Interlocal Cooperation Act of 1969, s. 163.01, one or more greenspace management districts to fund the planning, management, operation, and administration of a greenspace management program. The fees shall be collected on a voluntary basis as set forth by the county or municipality and calculated to generate sufficient funds to plan, manage, operate, and administer a greenspace management program. Private natural areas assessed according to s. 193.501 would qualify for stewardship grants.
(3) This section shall only apply to counties with a population of 500,000 or more and municipalities with a population of 200,000 or more.
(4) Nothing in this section shall authorize counties or municipalities to require any nongovernmental entity to collect the fee described in subsection (2) on their behalf.