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2012 Florida Statutes

Chapter 582
SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION
CHAPTER 582
CHAPTER 582
SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION
582.01 Definitions.
582.02 Lands a basic asset of state.
582.03 Consequence of soil erosion.
582.04 Appropriate corrective methods.
582.05 Legislative policy for conservation.
582.055 Powers and duties of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; rules.
582.06 Soil and Water Conservation Council; powers and duties.
582.08 Additional powers of department.
582.09 Administrative officer of soil and water conservation.
582.10 Creation of soil and water conservation districts.
582.11 Hearing upon question of creation; notice, etc.
582.12 Referendum for creation.
582.13 Expenses of referendum.
582.14 Results of referendum; publication, etc.
582.15 Organization of district, etc.
582.16 Addition of territory to district or removal of territory therefrom.
582.17 Presumption as to establishment.
582.18 Election of supervisors of each district.
582.19 Qualifications and tenure of supervisors.
582.20 Powers of districts and supervisors.
582.21 Adoption of land use regulations.
582.22 Regulations; contents.
582.23 Performance of work under the regulations by the supervisors.
582.24 Board of adjustment.
582.25 Rules of procedure of board.
582.26 Petition to board to vary from regulations.
582.28 Cooperation between districts.
582.29 State agencies to cooperate.
582.30 Discontinuance of districts; referendum; commissioner’s authority.
582.31 Certification of results of referendum; dissolution.
582.32 Effect of dissolution.
582.331 Establishment of watershed improvement districts within soil and water conservation districts authorized.
582.34 Petition for establishment; provisions.
582.35 Notice and hearing on petition; determination of need for district; boundaries.
582.36 Determination of feasibility of proposed district; referendum.
582.37 Consideration of results of referendum; declaration of organization of district.
582.38 Organization of district; certification to clerks of circuit courts; limitation on tax rate.
582.39 Establishment of watershed improvement district situated in more than one soil and water conservation district.
582.40 Change of district boundaries; additions, detachments, transfers of land from one district to another; change of district name.
582.41 Board of directors of district.
582.42 Officers, agents, and employees; surety bonds; annual audit.
582.43 Status and general powers of districts; power to levy tax; power to construct, operate, improve and maintain works of improvement; power to obtain necessary lands or interests therein.
582.44 Levy of taxes; procedure, etc.
582.45 Fiscal powers of governing body; bonds, etc.
582.46 Additional powers and authority.
582.47 Watershed improvement district to coordinate work with flood control districts.
582.48 Discontinuance of watershed improvement district.
582.49 Discontinuance of soil and water conservation district.
582.01 Definitions.Wherever used or referred to in this chapter unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
(1) “District” or “soil conservation district” or “soil and water conservation district” means a governmental subdivision of this state, and a body corporate and politic, organized in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, for the purpose, with the powers, and subject to the provisions set forth in this chapter. The term “district” or “soil conservation district,” when used in this chapter, means and includes a “soil and water conservation district.” All districts heretofore or hereafter organized under this chapter shall be known as soil and water conservation districts and shall have all the powers set out herein.
(2) “Supervisor” means one of the members of the governing body of a district, elected in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
(3)(a) “Department” means the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
(b) “Council” means the Soil and Water Conservation Council.
(c) “Commissioner” means Commissioner of Agriculture.
(4) “Landowner” or “owner of land” includes any person who shall hold legal or equitable title to any lands lying within a district organized under the provisions of this chapter.
(5) “Land occupier” or “occupier of land” includes any person, other than the owner, who shall be in possession of any lands lying within a district organized under the provisions of this chapter, whether as lessee, renter, tenant, or otherwise.
(6) “Qualified elector” includes any person qualified to vote in general elections under the constitution and statutes of this state.
(7) “Due notice,” in addition to notice required pursuant to the provisions of chapter 120, means notice published at least twice, with an interval of at least 7 days between the two publication dates, in a newspaper or other publication of general circulation within the appropriate area or, if no such publication of general circulation be available, by posting at a reasonable number of conspicuous places within the appropriate area, such posting to include, where possible, posting at public places where it may be customary to post notices concerning county or municipal affairs generally. At any hearing held pursuant to such notice, at the time and place designated in such notice, adjournment may be made from time to time without the necessity of renewing such notice for such adjourned dates.
(8) “Administrative officer” means the administrative officer of soil and water conservation created by s. 582.09.
History.s. 3, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 1, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(474); s. 1, ch. 65-334; s. 1, ch. 67-207; s. 1, ch. 70-392; s. 1, ch. 74-53; s. 6, ch. 78-95; s. 4, ch. 78-323; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-129; s. 1, ch. 82-46; s. 2, ch. 83-265; ss. 1, 3, 4, ch. 87-25; s. 5, ch. 91-429.
582.02 Lands a basic asset of state.The farm, forest and grazing lands of the state are among the basic assets of the state and the preservation of these lands is necessary to protect and promote the health, safety, and general welfare of its people; improper land use practices have caused and have contributed to, and are now causing and contributing to a progressively more serious erosion of the farm and grazing lands of this state by fire, wind and water; the breaking of natural grass, plant, and forest cover has interfered with the natural factors of soil stabilization, causing loosening of soil and exhaustion of humus, and developing a soil condition that favors erosion; the top soil is being burned, washed and blown out of fields and pastures; there has been an accelerated washing of sloping fields; these processes of erosion by fire, wind and water speed up with removal of absorptive topsoil, causing exposure of less absorptive and less protective but more erosive subsoil; failure by any landowner or occupier to conserve the soil and control erosion upon her or his lands causes destruction by burning, washing and blowing of soil and water from her or his lands onto other lands and makes the conservation of soil and control erosion of such other lands difficult or impossible.
History.s. 2, ch. 18144, 1937; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(473); s. 924, ch. 97-103.
582.03 Consequence of soil erosion.The consequences of such soil erosion in the form of soil washing and soil blowing are the silting and sedimentation of stream channels, reservoirs, dams, ditches, and harbors; the loss of fertile soil material in dust storms; the piling up of soil on lower slopes, and its deposit over alluvial plains; the reduction in productivity or outright ruin of rich bottom lands by overwash or poor subsoil material, sand; deterioration of soil and its fertility, deterioration of crops grown thereon, and declining acre yields despite development of scientific processes for increasing such yields; loss of soil and water which causes destruction of food and cover for wildlife; a blowing and washing of soil into streams which silts over spawning beds, and destroys water plants, diminishing the food supply of fish; a diminishing of the underground water reserve, which causes water shortages, intensifies periods of drought, and causes crop failure; and increase in the speed and volume of rainfall runoff, causing severe and increasing floods, which bring suffering, disease, and death; impoverishment of families attempting to farm eroding and eroded lands; damage to roads, highways, railways, farm buildings, and other property from floods and from dust storms; and losses in navigation, hydroelectric power, municipal water supply, drainage facilities, irrigation developments, farming and grazing.
History.s. 2, ch. 18144, 1937; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(473); s. 1, ch. 65-334.
582.04 Appropriate corrective methods.To control or prevent soil erosion and prevent floodwater and sediment damages, and further the conservation, development and utilization of soil and water resources and the disposal of water, it is necessary that land use practices contributing to soil wastage and soil erosion be discouraged and discontinued, and appropriate soil-conserving land use practices and works of improvement for flood prevention or the conservation, development and utilization of soil and water resources and the disposal of water be adopted and carried out; among the works of improvement and procedures necessary for widespread adoption, are the carrying on of engineering operations, such as the construction of terraces, terrace outlets, check-dams, desilting basins, floodwater retarding structures, channel improvements, floodways, dikes, ponds, ditches, and the like; the utilization of strip-cropping, lister furrowing, contour cultivating, and contour furrowing; land drainage; land irrigation, seeding and planting of waste, sloping, abandoned, or eroded lands to water conserving and erosion-preventing plants, trees, and grasses; forestation and reforestation; rotation of crops; soil stabilization with trees, grasses, legumes, and other thick-growing, soil-holding crops; the addition of soil amendments, manurial materials and fertilizers for the correction of soil deficiencies or for the promotion of increased growth of soil protecting crops; retardation of runoff by increasing absorption of rainfall; retirement from cultivation of steep, highly erosive areas and areas now badly gullied or otherwise eroded; fish and wildlife or recreational developments; and control of artesian wells.
History.s. 2, ch. 18144, 1937; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(473); s. 1, ch. 65-334; s. 1, ch. 69-235.
582.05 Legislative policy for conservation.It is the policy of the Legislature to provide for control and prevention of soil erosion, and for the prevention of floodwater and sediment damages, and for furthering the conservation, development and utilization of soil and water resources, and the disposal of water, and thereby to preserve natural resources, control floods, prevent impairment of dams and reservoirs, assist in maintaining the navigability of rivers and harbors, preserve wildlife, protect the tax base, protect public lands, and protect and promote the health, safety and general welfare of the people of this state.
History.s. 2, ch. 18144, 1937; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(473); s. 1, ch. 65-334; s. 2, ch. 69-235.
582.055 Powers and duties of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; rules.
(1) The provisions of this chapter shall be administered by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
(2) The department is authorized to adopt rules to implement, make specific, and interpret the provisions of this chapter.
(3) The department is authorized to receive gifts, appropriations, materials, equipment, lands, and facilities and to manage, operate, and disburse them for the use and benefit of the soil and water conservation districts of the state.
(4) The department shall provide for an annual audit of the accounts of receipts and disbursements.
(5) The department may furnish information and call upon any state or local agencies for cooperation in carrying out the provisions of this chapter.
History.s. 2, ch. 70-392; s. 44, ch. 98-34.
582.06 Soil and Water Conservation Council; powers and duties.
(1) COMPOSITION.
(a) The Soil and Water Conservation Council is created in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and shall be composed of 7 members who have been involved in the practice of soil or water conservation, or in the development or implementation of interim measures or best management practices related thereto, and who have been engaged in agriculture or an occupation related to the agricultural industry for at least 5 years at the time of their appointment.
(b) All members shall be appointed by the commissioner.
(c) Members shall serve 4-year terms or until their successors are duly qualified and appointed. If a vacancy occurs, it shall be filled for the remainder of the term in the manner of an initial appointment.
(2) POWERS AND DUTIES; MEETINGS; PROCEDURES; RECORDS.The meetings, powers and duties, procedures, and recordkeeping of the Soil and Water Conservation Council shall be governed by the provisions of s. 570.0705 relating to advisory committees established within the department.
History.s. 4, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 2, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(475); s. 1, ch. 28094, 1953; s. 24, ch. 57-1; s. 19, ch. 63-400; s. 2, ch. 67-207; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 3, ch. 69-235; s. 3, ch. 70-392; s. 1, ch. 70-439; s. 16, ch. 77-108; s. 6, ch. 78-95; s. 1, ch. 78-261; s. 4, ch. 78-323; ss. 1, 2, 3, ch. 81-129; s. 1, ch. 82-46; s. 2, ch. 83-265; ss. 2, 3, 4, ch. 87-25; s. 5, ch. 91-429; s. 62, ch. 93-169; s. 27, ch. 94-335; s. 1, ch. 2003-97; s. 8, ch. 2006-289; s. 35, ch. 2012-190.
Note.Former s. 582.07.
582.08 Additional powers of department.The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall have the following additional duties and powers:
(1) To offer such assistance as may be appropriate to the supervisors of soil and water conservation districts, organized as provided in s. 582.10, in the carrying out of any of their powers and programs.
(2) To keep the supervisors of each of the several districts organized under the provisions of this chapter informed of the activities and experience of all other such districts, and to facilitate an interchange of advice and experience between such districts and cooperation between them.
(3) To coordinate the programs of the several soil and water conservation districts so organized so far as this may be done by advice and consultation.
(4) To secure the cooperation and assistance of the United States and any of its agencies, and of agencies and counties of this state, in the work of such districts, including the receipt and expenditure of state, federal, and other funds or other contributions.
(5) To disseminate information throughout the state concerning the activities and programs of the soil and water conservation districts so organized and to encourage the formation of such districts in areas where their organization is desirable.
History.s. 4, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 2, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(475); s. 3, ch. 67-207; s. 4, ch. 69-235; s. 4, ch. 70-392.
582.09 Administrative officer of soil and water conservation.The department may employ an administrative officer of soil and water conservation, and such technical experts and such other employees, permanent and temporary, as it may require and shall determine their qualifications, duties, and compensation.
History.s. 4, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 2, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(475); s. 3, ch. 67-207; s. 5, ch. 70-392.
582.10 Creation of soil and water conservation districts.
(1) Any 10 percent of owners of land lying within the limits of the territory proposed to be organized into a district may file a petition with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, asking that a soil and water conservation district be organized to function in the territory described in the petition. Such petition shall set forth:
(a) The proposed name of said district.
(b) That there is need, in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare, for a soil and water conservation district to function in the territory described in the petition.
(c) A description of the territory proposed to be organized as a district, which description shall not be required to be given by metes and bounds or by legal subdivisions, but shall be deemed sufficient if generally accurate.
(d) A request that the department duly define the boundaries for such district; that a referendum be held within the territory so defined on the question of the creation of a soil and water conservation district in such territory; and that the department determine that such a district be created.
(2) Where more than one petition is filed covering parts of the same territory the department may consolidate all or any petitions.
History.s. 5, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 3, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(476); s. 3, ch. 67-207; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 2, ch. 2003-97.
582.11 Hearing upon question of creation; notice, etc.Within 30 days after such a petition has been filed with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, it shall cause due notice to be given of a proposed hearing upon the question of the desirability and necessity, in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare, of the creation of such district, upon the question of the appropriate boundaries to be assigned to such district, upon the propriety of the petition and other proceedings taken under this chapter, and upon all questions relevant to such inquiries. All owners and occupiers of land within the limits of the territory described in the petition, and of lands within any territory considered for addition to such described territory, and all other interested parties, shall have the right to attend such hearings and to be heard. If it shall appear upon the hearing that it may be desirable to include within the proposed district territory outside of the area within which due notice of the hearing has been given, the hearing shall be adjourned and due notice of further hearing shall be given throughout the entire area considered for inclusion in the district and such further hearing held. After such hearing, if the department shall determine, upon the facts presented at such hearing and upon such other relevant facts and information as may be available that there is need, in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare, for a soil and water conservation district to function in the territory considered at the hearing, it shall make and record such determination, and shall define, by metes and bounds or by legal subdivisions, the boundaries of such district. In making such determination and in defining such boundaries, the department shall give due weight and consideration to the topography of the area considered and of the state, the composition of soils therein, the distribution of erosion, the prevailing land use practices, the desirability and necessity of including within the boundaries the particular lands under consideration and the benefits such lands may receive from being included within such boundaries, the relation of the proposed area to existing watersheds and agricultural regions, and to other soil and water conservation districts already organized or proposed for organization under the provisions of this chapter, and such other physical, geographical, and economic factors as are relevant, having due regard to the legislative determinations set forth in this chapter. The territory to be included within such boundaries need not be contiguous. If the department shall determine after such hearing, after due consideration of the said relevant facts, that there is no need for a soil and water conservation district to function in the territory considered at the hearing, it shall make and record such determination and shall deny the petition. After 6 months shall have expired from the date of the denial of any such petition, subsequent petitions covering the same or substantially the same territory may be filed as aforesaid and new hearings held and determinations made thereon.
History.s. 5, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 3, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(476); s. 3, ch. 67-207; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106.
582.12 Referendum for creation.After the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has made and recorded a determination that there is need, in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare, for the organization of a district in a particular territory and has defined the boundaries thereof, it shall consider the question whether the operation of a district within such boundaries with the powers conferred upon soil and water conservation districts in this chapter is administratively practicable and feasible. To assist the department in the determination of such administrative practicability and feasibility, the department, within a reasonable time after entry of the finding that there is need for the organization of the proposed district and the determination of the boundaries thereof, shall hold a referendum within the proposed district upon the proposition of the creation of the district, and cause due notice of such referendum to be given. The question shall be submitted by ballots upon which the words “For creation of a soil and water conservation district of the lands below described and lying in the County (ies) of  ,  , (and)  ” and “Against creation of a soil and water conservation district of the lands below described and lying in the County (ies) of   (and)  ” shall appear with a square before each proposition and a direction to insert an X mark in the square before one or the other of said propositions as the voter may favor or oppose creation of such district. The ballot shall set forth the boundaries of such proposed district as determined by the department. All owners of lands lying within the boundaries of the territory, as determined by the department, shall be eligible to vote in such referendum. Only such landowners shall be eligible to vote.
History.s. 5, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 3, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(476); s. 3, ch. 67-207; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106.
582.13 Expenses of referendum.The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall pay all expenses for the issuance of such notices and the conduct of such hearings and referenda, and shall supervise the conduct of such hearings and referenda. It shall issue appropriate regulations governing the conduct of such hearings and referenda, and providing for the registration prior to the date of the referendum of all eligible voters, or prescribing some other appropriate procedure for the determination of those eligible as voters in such referendum. No informalities in the conduct of such referendum or in any matters relating thereto shall invalidate said referendum or the result thereof if notice thereof shall have been given substantially as provided in s. 582.12, and said referendum shall have been fairly conducted.
History.s. 5, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 3, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(476); ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106.
582.14 Results of referendum; publication, etc.The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall publish the result of such referendum and shall thereafter consider and determine whether the operation of the district within the defined boundaries is administratively practicable and feasible. If the department shall determine that the operation of such district is not administratively practicable and feasible, it shall record such determination and deny the petition. If the department shall determine that the operation of such district is administratively practicable and feasible, it shall record such determination and shall proceed with the organization of the district in the manner hereinafter provided. In making such determination the department shall give due regard and weight to the attitude of the owners and occupiers of lands lying within the defined boundaries, the number of landowners eligible to vote in such referendum who shall have voted, the proportion of the votes cast in such referendum in favor of the creation of the district to the total number of votes cast, the approximate wealth and income of the landowners and occupiers of the proposed district, the probable expense of carrying on erosion-control operations within such district, and such other economic and social factors as may be relevant to such determination having due regard to the legislative determinations set forth in this chapter; provided, however, that the department shall not determine that the operation of the proposed district within the defined boundaries is administratively practicable and feasible unless at least a majority of the votes cast in the referendum upon the proposition of creation of the district shall have been cast in favor of the creation of such district.
History.s. 5, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 3, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(476); ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106.
582.15 Organization of district, etc.
(1) If the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall determine that the operation of the proposed district within the defined boundaries is administratively practicable and feasible, any five of the petitioners who signed the petition for the creation of the proposed district may present to the Department of State an application signed by them which shall set forth (and such application need contain no details other than the mere recitals):
(a) That a petition for the creation of the district was filed with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, and that the proceedings specified in this chapter were taken pursuant to such petition; that the application is being filed in order to complete the organization of the district under this chapter;
(b) The name which is proposed for the district; and
(c) The location selected by the department to be the principal office of the supervisors of the district.

The application shall be accompanied by a statement by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which shall certify (and such statement need contain no detail other than the mere recitals) that a petition was filed, notice issued, and hearing held as aforesaid; that the department did duly determine that there is need, in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare, for a soil and water conservation district to function in the proposed territory and did define the boundaries thereof, that notice was given and a referendum held on the question of the creation of such district, and that the result of such referendum showed a majority of the votes cast in such referendum to be in favor of the creation of the district; that thereafter the department did duly determine that the operation of the proposed district is administratively practicable and feasible. The said statement shall set forth the boundaries of the district as they have been defined by the department.

(2) The Department of State shall examine the application and statement and, if it finds that the name proposed for the district is not identical with that of any other soil and water conservation district of this state or so nearly similar as to lead to confusion or uncertainty, it shall receive and file them and shall record them in an appropriate book of record in its office. If the Department of State shall find that the name proposed for the district is identical with that of any other soil and water conservation district of this state, or so nearly similar as to lead to confusion and uncertainty, it shall certify such fact to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and to the five petitioners and the petitioners shall thereupon submit to the Department of State a new name for the said district not subject to such defects. Upon receipt of such new name, free of such defects, the Department of State shall record the application and statement, with the name so modified, in an appropriate book of record in its office. The Department of State shall make and issue a certificate under the seal of the state, of the due organization of the said district, and shall record such certificate with the application and statement. The boundaries of such district shall include the territory as determined by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
(3) After 6 months shall have expired from the date of entry of a determination by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that operation of a proposed district is not administratively practicable and feasible, and denial of a petition pursuant to such determination, subsequent petitions may be filed as aforesaid, and action taken thereon in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
History.s. 5, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 3, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(476); s. 7, ch. 22858, 1945; s. 1, ch. 25407, 1949; s. 3, ch. 67-207; ss. 10, 14, 35, ch. 69-106.
582.16 Addition of territory to district or removal of territory therefrom.Petitions for including additional territory or removing territory within an existing district may be filed with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the proceedings provided for in this chapter in the case of petitions to organize a district shall be observed in the case of petitions for such inclusion or removal. The department shall prescribe the form for such petition, which shall be as nearly as may be in the form prescribed in this chapter for petitions to organize a district. If the petition is signed by a majority of the landowners of such area, no referendum need be held. In referenda upon petitions for such inclusions or removals, all owners of land lying within the proposed area to be added or removed shall be eligible to vote.
History.s. 5, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 3, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(476); s. 2, ch. 25407, 1949; s. 3, ch. 67-207; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106.
582.17 Presumption as to establishment.In any suit, action or proceeding involving the validity or enforcement of, or relating to, any contract, proceeding, or action of the district, the district shall be deemed to have been established in accordance with the provisions of this chapter upon proof of the issuance of the aforesaid certificate by the Department of State. A copy of such certificate duly certified by the Department of State shall be admissible in evidence in any such suit, action, or proceeding and shall be proof of the filing and contents thereof.
History.s. 5, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 3, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(476); ss. 10, 35, ch. 69-106.
582.18 Election of supervisors of each district.
(1) The election of supervisors for each soil and water conservation district shall be held every 2 years. The elections shall be held at the time of the general election provided for by s. 100.041. The office of the supervisor of a soil and water conservation district is a nonpartisan office, and candidates for such office are prohibited from campaigning or qualifying for election based on party affiliation.
(a) Each candidate for supervisor for such district shall qualify as directed by chapter 99.
(b) Each nominee who collects or expends campaign contributions shall conduct her or his campaign for supervisor of a soil and water conservation district in accordance with the provisions of chapter 106. Candidates who neither receive contributions nor make expenditures, other than expenditures for verification of signatures on petitions, are exempt from the provisions of chapter 106 requiring establishment of bank accounts and appointment of a campaign treasurer, but shall file periodic reports as required by s. 106.07.
(c) The names of all nominees on behalf of whom such nominating petitions have been filed shall appear upon ballots in accordance with the general election laws. All qualified electors residing within the district shall be eligible to vote in such election. The candidates who receive the largest number of the votes cast from each group of candidates in such election shall be the elected supervisors from such group for such district. In the case of a newly created district participating in a regular election for the first time, three groups of candidates shall be elected for terms of 4 years, and two groups shall be elected for initial terms of 2 years. Each candidate elected shall assume office on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January following the election.
(2) After the issuance of a certificate of organization of a soil and water conservation district by the Department of State, or in the event of a vacancy resulting from death, resignation, removal, or otherwise, each vacancy shall be filled by appointment by the remaining supervisors of the district until the next regular election.
History.s. 6, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 4, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(477); s. 2, ch. 28094, 1953; s. 3, ch. 67-207; ss. 10, 14, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 72-114; s. 2, ch. 74-53; s. 2, ch. 78-261; s. 42, ch. 84-302; s. 45, ch. 90-315; s. 925, ch. 97-103; s. 31, ch. 2001-40; s. 88, ch. 2002-1; s. 54, ch. 2007-30.
582.19 Qualifications and tenure of supervisors.
(1) The governing body of the district shall consist of five supervisors, elected as provided hereinabove.
(2) The supervisors shall designate a chair and may, from time to time, change such designation by majority vote. The term of office of each supervisor shall be 4 years, except that two supervisors shall be elected to serve for initial terms of 2 years, respectively, from the date of their election as provided in this chapter. A supervisor shall hold office until her or his successor has been elected and qualified. The selection of successors to fill an unexpired term shall be in accordance with s. 582.18(2). Selection for a full term in a newly created district shall be by election of the qualified electors of the district. A majority of the supervisors shall constitute a quorum and the concurrence of a majority of the supervisors in any matter within their duties shall be required for its determination. A supervisor shall receive no compensation for her or his services, but she or he shall, with approval of the supervisors of the district, be reimbursed for travel expenses as provided in s. 112.061.
(3) The supervisors may utilize the services of the county agricultural agents and the facilities of the county agricultural agents’ offices insofar as practicable and feasible and may employ such additional employees and agents, permanent and temporary, as they may require, and determine their qualifications, duties and compensation. The supervisors may delegate to their chair, to one or more supervisors, or to one or more agents, or employees such powers and duties as they may deem proper. The supervisors shall furnish to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, upon request, copies of such rules, regulations, orders, contracts, forms and other documents as they shall adopt or employ, and such other information concerning their activities as it may require in the performance of its duties under this chapter.
(4) The supervisors shall provide for the execution of surety bonds for all employees and officers who shall be entrusted with funds or property; shall provide for the keeping of a full and accurate record of all proceedings and of all resolutions, regulations, and others issued or adopted; and shall provide for an annual audit of the accounts of receipts and disbursements. Any supervisors may be removed by the Governor of this state upon notice and hearing, for neglect of duty or malfeasance in office, but for no other reason.
(5) The supervisors may invite the legislative body of any municipality or county located within or near the territory comprised within the district to designate a representative to advise and consult with the supervisors of the district on all questions of program and policy which may affect the property, water supply, or other interest of such municipality or county.
History.s. 7, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 5, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(478); s. 3, ch. 28094, 1953; s. 19, ch. 63-400; s. 3, ch. 67-207; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 3, ch. 74-53; s. 926, ch. 97-103.
582.20 Powers of districts and supervisors.A soil and water conservation district organized under the provisions of this chapter shall constitute a governmental subdivision of this state, and a public body corporate and politic, exercising public powers, and such district and the supervisors thereof, shall have the following powers, in addition to others granted in other sections of this chapter:
(1) To conduct surveys, investigations, and research relating to the character of soil erosion and floodwater and sediment damages, to the conservation, development and utilization of soil and water resources and the disposal of water, and to the preventive and control measures and works of improvement needed; to publish the results of such surveys, investigations, or research; and to disseminate information concerning such preventive and control measures and works of improvement; provided, however, that in order to avoid duplication of research activities, no district shall initiate any research program except in cooperation with the government of this state or any of its agencies, or with the United States or any of its agencies;
(2) To conduct demonstrational projects within the district’s boundaries, territory within another district’s boundaries subject to the other district’s approval, or territory not contained within any district’s boundaries on lands owned or controlled by this state or any of its agencies, with the cooperation of the agency administering and having jurisdiction thereof, and on any other lands within the district’s boundaries, territory within another district’s boundaries subject to the other district’s approval, or territory not contained within any district’s boundaries upon obtaining the consent of the owner and occupiers of such lands or the necessary rights or interests in such lands, in order to demonstrate by example the means, methods, and measures by which soil and soil resources may be conserved, and soil erosion in the form of soil blowing and soil washing may be prevented and controlled, and works of improvement for flood prevention or the conservation, development and utilization of soil and water resources, and the disposal of water may be carried out;
(3) To carry out preventive and control measures and works of improvement for flood prevention or the conservation, development and utilization of soil and water resources, and the disposal of water within the district’s boundaries, territory within another district’s boundaries subject to the other district’s approval, or territory not contained within any district’s boundaries, including, but not limited to, engineering operations, methods of cultivation, the growing of vegetation, changes in use of land, and the measures listed in s. 582.04 on lands owned or controlled by this state or any of its agencies, with the cooperation of the agency administering and having jurisdiction thereof, and on any other lands within the district’s boundaries, territory within another district’s boundaries subject to the other district’s approval, or territory not contained within any district’s boundaries upon obtaining the consent of the owner and the occupiers of such lands or the necessary rights or interests in such lands;
(4) To cooperate, or enter into agreements with, and within the limits of appropriations duly made available to it by law, to furnish financial or other aid to, any agency, governmental or otherwise, or any owner or occupier of lands within the district’s boundaries, territory within another district’s boundaries subject to the other district’s approval, or territory not contained within any district’s boundaries, in the carrying on of erosion control or prevention operations and works of improvement for flood prevention or the conservation, development and utilization, of soil and water resources and the disposal of water within the district’s boundaries, territory within another district’s boundaries subject to the other district’s approval, or territory not contained within any district’s boundaries, subject to such conditions as the supervisors may deem necessary to advance the purposes of this chapter;
(5) To obtain options upon and to acquire, by purchase, exchange, lease, gift, grant, bequest, devise or otherwise, any property, real or personal, or rights or interests therein; to maintain, administer, and improve any properties acquired, to receive income from such properties and to expend such income in carrying out the purposes and provisions of this chapter; and to sell, lease, or otherwise dispose of any of its property or interests therein in furtherance of the purposes and the provisions of this chapter;
(6) To make available, on such terms as it shall prescribe, to landowners and occupiers within the district’s boundaries, territory within another district’s boundaries subject to the other district’s approval, or territory not contained within any district’s boundaries, agricultural and engineering machinery and equipment, fertilizer, seeds and seedlings, and such other material or equipment, as will assist such landowners and occupiers to carry on operations upon their lands for the conservation of soil resources and for the prevention or control of soil erosion and for flood prevention or the conservation, development and utilization, of soil and water resources and the disposal of water;
(7) To construct, improve, operate and maintain such structures as may be necessary or convenient for the performance of any of the operations authorized in this chapter;
(8) To develop comprehensive plans for the conservation of soil and water resources and for the control and prevention of soil erosion and for flood prevention or the conservation, development and utilization of soil and water resources, and the disposal of water within the district’s boundaries, territory within another district’s boundaries subject to the other district’s approval, or territory not contained within any district’s boundaries, which plans shall specify in such detail as may be possible the acts, procedures, performances, and avoidances which are necessary or desirable for the effectuation of such plans, including the specification of engineering operations, methods of cultivation, the growing of vegetation, cropping programs, tillage practices, and changes in use of land; control of artesian wells; and to publish such plans and information and bring them to the attention of owners and occupiers of lands within the district’s boundaries, territory within another district’s boundaries subject to the other district’s approval, or territory not contained within any district’s boundaries;
(9) To take over, by purchase, lease, or otherwise, and to administer any soil-conservation, erosion-control, erosion-prevention project, or any project for flood-prevention or for the conservation, development and utilization of soil and water resources, and the disposal of water, located within the district’s boundaries, territory within another district’s boundaries subject to the other district’s approval, or territory not contained within any district’s boundaries, undertaken by the United States or any of its agencies, or by this state or any of its agencies; to manage as agent of the United States or any of its agencies, or of the state or any of its agencies, any soil-conservation, erosion-control, erosion-prevention, or any project for flood-prevention or for the conservation, development, and utilization of soil and water resources, and the disposal of water within the district’s boundaries, territory within another district’s boundaries subject to the other district’s approval, or territory not contained within any district’s boundaries; to act as agent for the United States, or any of its agencies, or for the state or any of its agencies, in connection with the acquisition, construction, operation or administration of any soil-conservation, erosion-control, erosion-prevention, or any project for flood-prevention or for the conservation, development and utilization of soil and water resources, and the disposal of water within the district’s boundaries, territory within another district’s boundaries subject to the other district’s approval, or territory not contained within any district’s boundaries; to accept donations, gifts, and contributions in money, services, materials, or otherwise, from the United States or any of its agencies, or from this state or any of its agencies, or from others, and to use or expend such moneys, services, materials or other contributions in carrying on its operations;
(10) To sue and be sued in the name of the district; to have a seal, which seal shall be judicially noticed; to have perpetual succession unless terminated as provided in this chapter; to make and execute contracts and other instruments necessary or convenient to the exercise of its powers; upon a majority vote of the supervisors of the district, to borrow money and to execute promissory notes and other evidences of indebtedness in connection therewith, and to pledge, mortgage, and assign the income of the district and its personal property as security therefor, the notes and other evidences of indebtedness to be general obligations only of the district and in no event to constitute an indebtedness for which the faith and credit of the state or any of its revenues are pledged; to make, amend, and repeal rules and regulations not inconsistent with this chapter to carry into effect its purposes and powers.
(11) As a condition to the extending of any benefits under this chapter to, or the performance of work upon, any lands not owned or controlled by this state or any of its agencies, the supervisors may require contributions in money, services, materials, or otherwise to any operations conferring such benefits, and may require landowners and occupiers to enter into and perform such agreements or covenants as to the permanent use of such lands as will tend to prevent or control erosion and prevent floodwater and sediment damages thereon;
(12) No provisions with respect to the acquisition, operation, or disposition of property by public bodies of this state shall be applicable to a district organized hereunder unless the Legislature shall specifically so state. The property and property rights of every kind and nature acquired by any district organized under the provisions of this chapter shall be exempt from state, county, and other taxation.
History.s. 8, ch. 18144, 1937; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(479); s. 7, ch. 22858, 1945; s. 2, ch. 65-334; s. 3, ch. 67-207; s. 5, ch. 69-235; s. 36, ch. 2012-190.
582.21 Adoption of land use regulations.
(1) The supervisors of any district shall have authority to formulate regulations governing the use of lands within the district in the interest of conserving soil and soil resources, and preventing and controlling soil erosion. The supervisors may conduct such public meetings and public hearings upon tentative regulations as may be necessary to assist them in this work. The supervisors shall not have authority to adopt such land use regulations until after they shall have caused due notice to be given of their intention to conduct a referendum for submission of such regulations to the owners of lands lying within the boundaries of the district, for their indication of approval or disapproval of such proposed regulations, and until after the supervisors have considered the result of such referendum. Copies of such proposed regulations shall be available for the inspection of all eligible voters during the period between publication of such notice and the date of the referendum. The notices of the referendum shall recite the contents of such proposed regulations, or shall state where copies of such proposed regulations may be examined. The question shall be submitted by ballots, upon which the words “For approval of proposed land use regulations for the conservation of soil and prevention of erosion” and “Against approval of proposed land use regulations for conservation of soil and prevention of erosion” shall appear, with a square before each proposition and a direction to insert an X mark in the square before one or the other of said propositions as the voter may favor or oppose approval of such proposed regulations. The supervisors shall supervise such referendum, shall prescribe appropriate regulations governing the conduct thereof, and shall publish the result thereof. All owners of lands within the district shall be eligible to vote in such referendum. Only such landowners shall be eligible to vote. No informalities in the conduct of such referendum or in any matters relating thereto shall invalidate said referendum or the result thereof if notice thereof shall have been given substantially as herein provided and said referendum shall have been fairly conducted.
(2) The supervisors shall not adopt such proposed regulations unless at least a majority of the votes cast in such referendum shall have been cast for approval of the said proposed regulations. The approval of the proposed regulations by a majority of the votes cast in such referendum shall not be deemed to require the supervisors to adopt such proposed regulations. Land use regulations adopted pursuant to the provisions of this section by the supervisors of any district shall be binding and obligatory upon all owners and occupiers of land within such districts.
(3) Land use regulations adopted pursuant to the provisions of this section shall not be amended, supplemented, or repealed except in accordance with the procedure prescribed in this section for adoption of land use regulations. Referenda of adoption, amendment, supplementation, or repeal of land use regulations shall not be held more often than once in 6 months.
History.s. 9, ch. 18144, 1937; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(480); s. 6, ch. 78-95.
582.22 Regulations; contents.The regulations to be adopted by the supervisors under the provisions of this chapter may include:
(1) Provisions requiring the carrying out of necessary engineering operations, including the construction of terraces, terrace outlets, check dams, dikes, ponds, ditches, and other necessary structures;
(2) Provisions requiring observance of particular methods of cultivation including contour cultivating, contour furrowing, lister furrowing, sowing, planting, strip-cropping, changes in cropping systems, seeding, and planting of lands to water-conserving and erosion-preventing plants, trees and grasses, forestation, and reforestation;
(3) Specifications of cropping programs and tillage practices to be observed;
(4) Provisions requiring the retirement from cultivation of highly erosive areas or of areas on which erosion may not be adequately controlled if cultivation is carried on;
(5) Provisions for such other means, measures, operations and programs as may assist conservation of soil resources and prevent or control soil erosion in the district, having due regard to the legislative findings set forth in this chapter.

The regulations shall be uniform throughout the territory comprised within the district except that the supervisors may classify the lands within the district with reference to such factors as soil type, degree of slope, degree of erosion threatened or existing, cropping and tillage practices in use, and other relevant factors, and may provide regulations varying with the type or class of land affected, but uniform as to all lands within each class or type. Copies of land use regulations adopted under the provisions of this chapter shall be printed and made available to all owners and occupiers of lands lying within the district.

History.s. 9, ch. 18144, 1937; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(480).
582.23 Performance of work under the regulations by the supervisors.
(1) The supervisors may go upon any lands within the district to determine whether land use regulations adopted are being observed. Where the supervisors of any district shall find that any of the provisions of land use regulations adopted are not being observed on particular lands, and that such nonobservance tends to increase erosion on such lands and is interfering with the prevention or control of erosion on other lands within the district, the supervisors may present to the circuit court for the county or counties within which the lands of the defendant may lie, a petition, duly verified, setting forth the adoption of the land use regulations, the failure of the defendant landowner or occupier to observe such regulations, and to perform particular work, operations, or avoidances as required thereby, and that such nonobservance tends to increase erosion on such lands and is interfering with the prevention or control of erosion on other lands within the district, and praying the court to require the defendant to perform the work, operations, or avoidances within a reasonable time and to order that if the defendant shall fail so to perform the supervisors may go on the land, perform the work or other operations or otherwise bring the condition of such lands into conformity with the requirements of such regulations, and recover the costs and expenses thereof, with interest, from the owner of such land. Upon the presentation of such petition the court shall cause process to be issued against the defendant, and shall hear the case. If it shall appear to the court that testimony is necessary for the proper disposition of the matter, it may take evidence or appoint a special magistrate to take such evidence as it may direct and report the same to the court within her or his findings of fact and conclusions of law, which shall constitute a part of the proceedings upon which the determination of the court shall be made.
(2) The court may dismiss the petition; or it may require the defendant to perform the work, operations, or avoidances, and may provide that upon the failure of the defendant to initiate such performance within the time specified in the order of the court, and to prosecute the same to completion with reasonable diligence, the supervisors may enter upon the lands involved and perform the work or operations, or otherwise bring the conditions of such lands into conformity with the requirements of the regulations and recover the costs and expenses thereof, with interest at the rate of 5 percent per annum, from the owner of such lands.
(3) The court shall retain the jurisdiction of the case until after the work has been completed. Upon completion of such work pursuant to such order of the court the supervisors may file a petition with the court, a copy of which shall be served upon the defendant in the case, stating the costs and expenses sustained by them in the performance of the work and praying judgment therefor with interest. The court shall have jurisdiction to enter judgment for the amount of such costs and expenses, with interest at the rate of 5 percent per annum until paid, together with the costs of suit, including a reasonable attorney’s fee to be fixed by the court.
History.s. 10, ch. 18144, 1937; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(481); s. 26, ch. 73-334; s. 927, ch. 97-103; s. 92, ch. 2004-11.
582.24 Board of adjustment.Where the supervisors of any district organized under the provisions of this chapter shall adopt an ordinance prescribing land use regulations, said supervisors shall constitute, and be ex officio members of, a board of adjustment to hear and consider petitions which may be submitted to such board by any landowner in the district praying for relief from any of the provisions of the said land use regulations.
History.s. 11, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 6, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(482).
582.25 Rules of procedure of board.The board of adjustment shall adopt rules to govern its procedures, which rules shall be in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and with the provisions of any ordinance adopted pursuant to this chapter. The board shall designate a chair from among its members, and may, from time to time, change such designation. Meetings of the board shall be held at the call of the chair and at such other times as the board may determine. Any three members of the board shall constitute a quorum. The chair, or in her or his absence such other member of the board as she or he may designate to serve as acting chair, may administer oaths and compel the attendance of witnesses. All meetings of the board shall be open to the public. The board shall keep a full and accurate record of all proceedings and of all documents filed in its office, which shall be a public record.
History.s. 11, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 6, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(482); s. 928, ch. 97-103.
582.26 Petition to board to vary from regulations.Any landowner or occupier may file a petition with the board of adjustment alleging that there are great practical difficulties or unnecessary hardship in the way of her or his carrying out upon her or his lands the strict letter of the land use regulations prescribed by ordinance approved by the supervisors and praying the board to authorize a variance from the terms of the land use regulations in the application of such regulations to the lands occupied by the petitioner. Copies of such petition shall be filed by the petitioner with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall have the right to appear and be heard at such hearing. Any owner or occupier of lands lying within the district who shall object to the authorizing of the variance prayed for may intervene and become a party to the proceedings. If the board shall determine that there are great practical difficulties or unnecessary hardship in the way of applying the strict letter of any of the land use regulations upon the lands of the petitioner, it shall have power by order to authorize such variance from the terms of the land use regulations, in their application to the lands of the petitioner, as will relieve such great practical difficulties or unnecessary hardship and will not be contrary to the public interest, and such that the spirit of the land use regulations shall be observed, the public health, safety, and welfare secured, and substantial justice done.
History.s. 11, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 6, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(482); s. 3, ch. 67-207; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 6, ch. 78-95; s. 929, ch. 97-103.
582.28 Cooperation between districts.The supervisors of any two or more districts organized under the provisions of this chapter may cooperate with one another in the exercise of any or all powers conferred in this chapter.
History.s. 12, ch. 18144, 1937; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(483).
582.29 State agencies to cooperate.Agencies of this state which shall have jurisdiction over, or be charged with, the administration of any state-owned lands, and of any county, or other governmental subdivision of the state, which shall have jurisdiction over, or be charged with the administration of, any county-owned or other publicly owned lands, lying within the boundaries of any district organized under this chapter, the boundaries of another district subject to that district’s approval, or territory not contained within the boundaries of any district organized under this chapter, shall cooperate to the fullest extent with the supervisors of such districts in the effectuation of programs and operations undertaken by the supervisors under the provisions of this chapter. The supervisors of such districts shall be given free access to enter and perform work upon such publicly owned lands. The provisions of land use regulations adopted shall be in all respects observed by the agencies administering such publicly owned lands.
History.s. 13, ch. 18144, 1937; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(484); s. 37, ch. 2012-190.
582.30 Discontinuance of districts; referendum; commissioner’s authority.
(1) Any time after 5 years from the organization of a district under the provisions of this chapter, any 10 percent of owners of land lying within the boundaries of such district may file a petition with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services praying that the operations of the district be terminated and the existence of the district discontinued. The department may conduct such public meetings and public hearings upon petition as may be necessary to assist it in the consideration thereof. Within 60 days after such a petition has been received by the department it shall give due notice of the holding of a referendum, and shall supervise such referendum, and issue appropriate regulations governing the conduct thereof, the question to be submitted by ballots upon which the words “For terminating the existence of the   (Name of the soil and water conservation district to be here inserted)  ” and “Against terminating the existence of the   (Name of the soil and water conservation district to be here inserted)  ” shall appear with a square before each proposition and a direction to insert an X mark in the square before one or the other of said propositions as the voter may favor or oppose discontinuance of such district. All owners of lands lying within the boundaries of the district shall be eligible to vote in such referendum. Only such landowners shall be eligible to vote. No informalities in the conduct of such referendum or in any matters relating thereto shall invalidate said referendum or the result thereof if notice thereof shall have been given substantially as herein provided and said referendum shall have been fairly conducted.
(2) If two-thirds or more of the qualified voters in such referendum shall have voted for the discontinuance of the district, the department shall certify to the supervisors of the district the result of such referendum and that the continued operation of the district is not administratively practicable and feasible.
(3) In the alternative, the Commissioner of Agriculture may dissolve or discontinue a district if:
(a) Upon review and recommendation of the Soil and Water Conservation Council, the council determines that the continued operation of the district is not administratively practicable and feasible under the provisions of this chapter;
(b) The district fails to comply with any audit or financial reporting requirement of chapter 189 and the department’s inspector general reviews and confirms in writing that the district has failed to comply with such requirement; or
(c) The department receives a resolution adopted by the supervisors of the district requesting that the commissioner issue a certificate determining that the continued operation of the district is not administratively practicable and feasible under the provisions of this chapter.
(4) If the requirements for dissolution or discontinuance of a district are satisfied under subsection (1), subsection (2), or subsection (3), the department shall publish notice of a proposed certification determining that the continued operation of the district is not administratively practicable and feasible under the provisions of this chapter. The notice shall be published once a week for 2 weeks in a newspaper of general circulation within the county or counties in which the district is located, stating the name of the district and a general description of the territory included in the district, and requiring that any comments or objections to the proposed certification, or any claims against the assets of the district, must be filed with the department clerk not later than 60 days after the date of last publication.
(5)(a) Upon expiration of the 60-day period after the date of last publication, the commissioner, upon review of any comments or objections received under subsection (4), may issue a certificate determining that the continued operation of the district is not administratively practicable and feasible under the provisions of this chapter.
(b) If the commissioner issues a certificate determining that the continued operation of a district is not administratively practicable and feasible under the provisions of this chapter, the department shall file the original certificate with the Department of State and shall provide a copy of the certificate to the supervisors of the district at the district’s principal office designated under s. 582.15(1)(c).
History.s. 14, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 7, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(485); s. 3, ch. 67-207; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 3, ch. 2003-97; s. 52, ch. 2011-206; s. 38, ch. 2012-190.
582.31 Certification of results of referendum; dissolution.Upon receipt from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services of a certification that the department has determined that the continued operation of the district is not administratively practicable and feasible, pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, the supervisors shall forthwith proceed to terminate the affairs of the district. The supervisors shall dispose of all property belonging to the district at public auction and shall pay over the proceeds of such sale to be converted into the State Treasury, which amount shall be placed to the credit of the district for the purpose of liquidating any legal obligations the district may have at the time of its discontinuance. The supervisors shall thereupon file an application, duly verified, with the Department of State for the discontinuance of the district, and shall transmit with such application the certificate of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services setting forth the determination of the department that the continued operation of the district is not administratively practicable and feasible. The application shall recite that the property of the district has been disposed of and the proceeds paid over as in this section provided, and shall set forth a full accounting of such properties and proceeds of the sale. The Department of State shall issue to the supervisors a certificate of dissolution and shall record such certificate in an appropriate book of record in its office.
History.s. 14, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 7, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(485); s. 3, ch. 67-207; ss. 10, 14, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 39, ch. 2012-190.
582.32 Effect of dissolution.
(1) Upon issuance of a certificate of dissolution, s. 189.4045(2) applies and all land use regulations in effect within such districts are void.
(2) The department shall not be required to entertain petitions for the discontinuance of any district nor conduct referenda upon such petitions nor make determinations pursuant to such petitions in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, more often than once in 5 years.
History.s. 14, ch. 18144, 1937; s. 7, ch. 19473, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 4151(485); s. 3, ch. 67-207; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 40, ch. 2012-190.
582.331 Establishment of watershed improvement districts within soil and water conservation districts authorized.Watershed improvement districts may be formed as subdistricts of soil and water conservation districts, in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, for the development and execution of plans and projects for works of improvement for the control and prevention of soil erosion, flood prevention, conservation, development, and utilization of soil and water resources, disposal of water, fish and wildlife or recreational development, preservation and protection of land and water resources, and protection and promotion of the health, safety, and general welfare of the people of this state.
History.s. 6, ch. 69-235.
582.34 Petition for establishment; provisions.
(1) The owners of the major portion of land lying within the limits of a proposed watershed improvement district may file a petition with the supervisors of the soil and water conservation district in which the proposed watershed improvement district is situated asking that a watershed improvement district be organized to function in the area described in the petition.
(2) The petition shall set forth:
(a) The proposed name of the watershed improvement district.
(b) That there is need, in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare for a watershed improvement district to function in the area described in the petition.
(c) A description of the area proposed to be organized as a watershed improvement district, which description shall be deemed sufficient if generally accurate.
(d) That the land within the area described in the petition is contiguous and is situated in the same watershed.
(e) The maximum millage rate, including not more than 1 mill for maintenance, expressed in mills on each dollar of assessed valuation at which taxes may be levied for any 1 fiscal year for the purposes of the watershed improvement district or to amortize indebtedness or bonds.
(f) A request that the area described in the petition be established as a watershed improvement district.
(3) Land lying within the limits of one watershed improvement district shall not be included in another watershed improvement district.
History.s. 6, ch. 69-235.
582.35 Notice and hearing on petition; determination of need for district; boundaries.Within 60 days after a petition has been filed with the supervisors of the soil and water conservation district, the supervisors shall cause due notice to be given of a public hearing upon the practicability and feasibility of creating the proposed watershed improvement district. All owners of land within the proposed district and all other interested parties shall have the right to attend such a hearing and to be heard. If the supervisors determine from the hearing that there is need, in the interest of public health, safety, and welfare, for the organization of the proposed district, they shall record such determination and shall define the boundaries of the watershed improvement district.
History.s. 6, ch. 69-235.
582.36 Determination of feasibility of proposed district; referendum.After the supervisors have determined that a need for the proposed watershed improvement district exists, have defined the boundaries of the proposed district, and have obtained the approval of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the formation of the proposed district, the supervisors shall consider the question of whether the operation of the proposed district is administratively practicable and feasible. To assist the supervisors in determining such question, a referendum shall be held by the supervisors upon the proposition of the creation of the proposed district. Due notice of such referendum shall be given by the supervisors, and ballots therefor shall be in substantially the form set forth in s. 582.12, but the proposed district and name thereof shall be substituted for the soil and water conservation district, and the millage rate to be approved by the electors who are owners of freeholds within the proposed district not wholly exempt from taxation shall be included. At such referendum each owner of land lying within the proposed district shall be entitled to cast one vote, in person or by proxy, for each acre or fractional part thereof of land within the proposed district belonging to such owner, except that only one vote may be cast for each such acre or fractional part thereof regardless of whether the legal title thereto is held in single or multiple ownership. The supervisors may prescribe such rules and regulations governing the conduct of the hearing and referendum as they deem necessary.
History.s. 6, ch. 69-235; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106.
582.37 Consideration of results of referendum; declaration of organization of district.The results of the referendum shall be considered by the supervisors in determining whether the operation of the proposed watershed improvement district is administratively practicable and feasible. If the supervisors determine that the operation of the proposed district is not administratively practicable and feasible, they shall record such determination and deny the petition. If the supervisors determine that the operation of the proposed district is administratively practicable and feasible, they shall record such determination in the manner hereinafter provided; provided, however, that the supervisors shall not be authorized to determine that the operation of the proposed district is administratively practicable and feasible unless at least a majority of the votes cast in the referendum, representing not less than a majority of the land area within the proposed district, shall have been cast in favor of the creation of the watershed improvement district.
History.s. 6, ch. 69-235.
582.38 Organization of district; certification to clerks of circuit courts; limitation on tax rate.If the supervisors determine that the operation of the proposed watershed improvement district is administratively practicable and feasible, they shall declare the watershed improvement district to be duly organized and shall record such fact in their official minutes. Following such entry in their official minutes, the supervisors shall certify the fact of the creation of the district to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and shall furnish a copy of such certification to the clerk of the circuit court of each county in which any portion of the watershed improvement district is situated for recordation in the public land records of each such county. The watershed improvement district shall thereupon constitute a governmental subdivision of this state and a public body corporate and politic. The rate at which taxes for any one fiscal year may be levied for the purposes of the watershed improvement district shall be subject to the limitations set forth in s. 582.44.
History.s. 6, ch. 69-235; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106.
582.39 Establishment of watershed improvement district situated in more than one soil and water conservation district.If a proposed watershed improvement district is situated in more than one soil and water conservation district, copies of the petition for the establishment of such district shall be presented to the board of supervisors of each of the soil and water conservation districts in which the proposed district is situated, and the supervisors of all such soil and water conservation districts affected shall act jointly as a board of supervisors with respect to all matters concerning the watershed improvement district, including its creation. Such watershed improvement district shall be organized in like manner and shall have the same powers and duties as a watershed improvement district situated entirely in one soil and water conservation district.
History.s. 6, ch. 69-235.
582.40 Change of district boundaries; additions, detachments, transfers of land from one district to another; change of district name.
(1) Any one or more owners of land may petition the board of supervisors of the soil and water conservation district in which a watershed improvement district is situated to have their lands added to the watershed improvement district. The petition shall also be signed by the owners of a majority of the land area within the watershed improvement district, and shall be subject to approval by the board of directors of the watershed improvement district. The petition shall describe the land desired to be annexed and state the number of acres of land involved and other information pertinent to such proposal.
(2) Within 30 days after such petition is filed, the board shall cause due notice to be given of a hearing on the petition. All interested parties shall have a right to attend the hearing and be heard. The board shall determine whether the lands described in the petition or any portion thereof shall be included in the watershed improvement district. If it is determined that such land should be added, the board shall certify this fact to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and furnish a copy of such certification to the clerk of the circuit court of each county in which any portion of the added lands is situated for recordation in the public land records of each such county.
(3) The owner or owners of land which is not benefited by its inclusion in a watershed improvement district may petition the board of supervisors of the soil and water conservation district in which the watershed improvement district is situated to have such land excluded from the district. The petition shall describe the land and state the reasons why it should be excluded. A hearing shall be held within 60 days after the petition is received. Due notice of the hearing shall be given by the board. If it is determined by the board that such land is not benefited by its inclusion in the watershed improvement district, such land shall be excluded from the district. The board shall certify such determination to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and shall furnish a copy of such certification to the clerk of the circuit court of each county in which any portion of such excluded land is situated for recordation in the public land records of each such county.
(4) Landowners desiring a transfer of their land from one watershed improvement district to another may file a petition for such transfer with the board of supervisors of the soil and water conservation district in which the watershed improvement district is situated. The board of supervisors may hold such hearings as it deems appropriate to enable it to make a determination as to the desirability of the proposed transfer of land. If the board makes a determination in favor of such transfer of land, it shall certify such determination, setting out the new boundaries of the watershed improvement districts involved, to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and shall furnish a copy of such certification to the clerk of the circuit court of each county in which the affected watershed improvement districts are situated for recordation in the public land records of each such county.
(5) Landowners within a watershed improvement district desiring a change of name of such district may file a petition for such change of name with the board of supervisors of the soil and water conservation district in which the watershed improvement district is situated. If the board approves the change of name, it shall certify the fact of such change of name to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and shall furnish a copy of such certification to the clerk of the circuit court of the county or counties in which the watershed improvement district is situated for recordation in the public land records of each such county.
History.s. 6, ch. 69-235; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106.
582.41 Board of directors of district.
(1) Petitions to nominate candidates for directors of the watershed improvement district may be filed with the board of supervisors of the soil and water conservation district in which the watershed improvement district is situated. No such nominating petition shall be accepted by the board unless it is signed by at least 10 owners of land lying within the watershed improvement district or by a majority of such owners if there be less than 10. Such owners may sign more than one nominating petition to nominate more than one candidate for director. No person shall be eligible to be a director unless she or he is an owner of land within the watershed improvement district in which she or he seeks election.
(2) Within 30 days after a watershed improvement district is established, the board of supervisors of the soil and water conservation district in which the watershed improvement district is situated, or the joint board if more than one district is affected, shall cause an election to be held for the election of a board of three directors of the watershed improvement district. Due notice of such election shall be given by the board to supervisors. At such election each owner of land lying within the watershed improvement district shall be entitled to cast one vote, in person or by proxy, for each acre or fractional part thereof of land within the watershed improvement district belonging to such owner, except that only one vote may be cast for each such acre or fractional part thereof regardless of whether the legal title thereto is held in single or multiple ownership. The three persons receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected as directors. The first board of directors shall determine by lot from among its membership one member to serve a term of 3 years, one member to serve a term of 2 years, and one member to serve a term of 1 year; thereafter, as these initial terms expire, the members of the board of directors shall be elected for terms of 3 years. Vacancies occurring before the expiration of a term shall be filled for the unexpired term by appointment by the remaining members of the board of directors with the approval of the board of supervisors. The board of directors shall, under the supervision of the board of supervisors, be the governing body of the watershed improvement district. The board of directors shall annually elect from its membership a chair and vice chair.
(3) A director shall receive compensation for her or his service at the rate of $10 per day for those days on which she or he renders services pursuant to this chapter. A director shall also be entitled to expenses in the same amount and extent as provided for public officers and employees of the state in s. 112.061.
History.s. 6, ch. 69-235; s. 930, ch. 97-103.
582.42 Officers, agents, and employees; surety bonds; annual audit.The board of directors may, with the approval of the board of supervisors of the soil and water conservation district in which the watershed improvement district is situated, or the joint board if more than one district is affected, employ such officers, agents, and other employees as they may require, and shall determine their qualifications, duties, and compensation. The board of directors shall provide for the execution of surety bonds for such officers, agents, and employees as shall be entrusted with funds or property of the watershed improvement district, and for the making and publication of an annual audit of the accounts of the district.
History.s. 6, ch. 69-235.
582.43 Status and general powers of districts; power to levy tax; power to construct, operate, improve and maintain works of improvement; power to obtain necessary lands or interests therein.A watershed improvement district organized under the provisions of this chapter shall constitute a governmental subdivision of this state, and a public body corporate and politic, exercising public powers. Such district shall exercise its powers and duties under the supervision of the board of supervisors of the soil and water conservation district in which it is situated, or the joint board if more than one district is affected. The watershed improvement district shall have all of the powers of such soil and water conservation district, and in addition thereto shall have authority to levy a tax, as hereinafter provided, to be used for the purposes of the watershed improvement district; to acquire by purchase, gift, grant, bequest, devise, or other legal means, including by eminent domain proceedings in accordance with chapter 73, such lands or interests therein as are necessary for the exercise of any authorized function of the district, including needed or necessary real property outside of the district needed in connection with the administration of this law; to borrow money and issue bonds as hereinafter provided; and to construct, improve, operate, and maintain such structures and works as may be necessary for the performance and carrying on of any function authorized by this law.
History.s. 6, ch. 69-235.
582.44 Levy of taxes; procedure, etc.The board of directors of a district is authorized to levy annually a uniform ad valorem tax on all taxable property in the district as determined for county taxing purposes, not to exceed the amount necessary to provide the funds necessary for the purpose of maintaining, operating, and administering such district and obtaining necessary rights-of-way for the works of the district; however, such tax shall not exceed the rate of 3 mills on the dollar of the assessed value of such property or such rate approved by the qualified electors of the district pursuant to s. 582.36. The district shall be deemed a district within the purview of former ss. 193.03 and 193.031, whether within the purview and intention of such sections or not, for the purposes of the assessment, collection, and distribution of the taxes herein provided for. Upon the equalization of the county tax rolls, the governing board of the district shall be furnished with the same information furnished by the property appraiser to the taxing authorities of the county and taxing districts for use in determining the millages to be imposed by them. Upon the determination by the board of the taxing district of the millages to be imposed by it, it shall forthwith notify the boards of county commissioners of the counties wherein the district lies, who shall include such millages in their directives to the property appraisers. Upon receipt of these millages, the property appraisers shall impose and assess such taxes in the usual manner, to be collected and distributed in the usual manner. For purposes of taxation, the district shall be treated as a taxing district. Such district tax assessments shall be liens against the properties assessed as is provided for in s. 197.122. The taxes of the district, when distributed in the usual manner, shall be paid into the depository of the district to the credit of the district to be expended in the usual manner for like district. Expenditures from such funds shall be made with the approval of the board of supervisors of the soil and water conservation district or districts in which the watershed improvement district is situated on requisition by the chair or vice chair of the board of directors of the watershed improvement district.
History.s. 6, ch. 69-235; s. 1, ch. 77-102; s. 201, ch. 77-104; s. 36, ch. 82-226; s. 216, ch. 85-342; s. 931, ch. 97-103.
582.45 Fiscal powers of governing body; bonds, etc.The board of directors of any watershed improvement district shall have power, subject to the conditions and limitations of this chapter, to incur indebtedness and issue bonds of the watershed improvement district; however, such bonds shall be issued in full conformity with s. 12, Art. VII, of the Revised State Constitution, and chapter 100 insofar as said chapter relates to bond elections under said s. 12, Art. VII of the Constitution.
History.s. 6, ch. 69-235.
582.46 Additional powers and authority.The authority and powers herein granted watershed improvement districts shall be additional to those of the soil and water conservation district in which the watershed improvement district is situated. The soil and water conservation district shall be authorized, notwithstanding the creation of the watershed improvement district, to continue to exercise its authority within the boundaries of the watershed improvement district.
History.s. 6, ch. 69-235.
582.47 Watershed improvement district to coordinate work with flood control districts.The board of directors of any watershed improvement district located within the Southwest Florida Water Management District created by chapter 61-691, Laws of Florida, or the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District created by chapter 25270, Laws of Florida, 1949, shall consult and advise with the boards of such districts in order to coordinate the work of the districts involved.
History.s. 6, ch. 69-235.
582.48 Discontinuance of watershed improvement district.
(1) At any time after 5 years from the organization of a watershed improvement district, the owners of not less than 25 percent of the land area within such district may file a petition with the board of supervisors of the soil and water conservation district or districts in which the watershed improvement district is situated requesting that the existence of the watershed improvement district be discontinued. The petition shall state the reasons for discontinuance, and that all maintenance and operation assurances and other obligations of the district have been met. A copy of such petition shall be furnished to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
(2) After giving due notice of a hearing on such petition, the board of supervisors may conduct such hearing on the petition as may be necessary to assist it in making a determination.
(3) Within 60 days after the petition is filed, a referendum shall be held by the board of supervisors substantially as provided for in ss. 582.36 and 582.37. No informalities in the conduct of the referendum or in any matters relating to the referendum shall invalidate it or its results if due notice of the referendum has been given.
(4) If a majority of the votes cast in such referendum, representing a majority of the land area within the watershed improvement district, shall have been cast in favor of the discontinuance of the watershed improvement district, and the board of supervisors determines that all maintenance and operation assurances and other obligations of the district have been met, the watershed improvement district shall be discontinued. A copy of such determination and discontinuance shall be certified to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and to the clerk of the circuit court of each county in which any portion of the watershed improvement district is situated for recordation in the public land records of such county.
History.s. 6, ch. 69-235; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106.
582.49 Discontinuance of soil and water conservation district.If any soil and water conservation district in which a watershed improvement district is situated is discontinued, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall thereafter serve in the same supervising capacity over the watershed improvement district as was theretofore served by the board of supervisors of such soil and water conservation district.
History.s. 6, ch. 69-235; ss. 14, 35, ch. 69-106.