(1) The department shall be the lead agency pursuant to the Coastal Zone Management Act and shall compile and submit to the appropriate federal agency applications to receive funds pursuant to the Coastal Zone Management Act. The state’s program shall include program policies that only reference existing statutes and existing implementing administrative rules. In the event the program submitted pursuant to this subsection is rejected by the appropriate federal agency because of failure of this act, the existing statutes, or the existing implementing administrative rules to comply with the requirements of the federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended, no state coastal management program shall become effective without prior legislative approval. The coastal management program may be amended from time to time to include changes in statutes and rules adopted pursuant to statutory authority other than this act.
(2) The department shall also have authority to:
(a) Establish advisory councils with sufficient geographic balance to ensure statewide representation.
(b) Coordinate central files and clearinghouse procedures for coastal resource data information and encourage the use of compatible information and standards.
(c) Provide to the extent practicable financial, technical, research, and legal assistance to effectuate the purposes of this act.
(d) Review rules of other affected agencies to determine consistency with the program and to report any inconsistencies to the Legislature.
(3) The department shall adopt by rule procedures and criteria for the evaluation of subgrant applications that seek to receive a portion of those funds allotted to the state under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act.
(4) The department shall establish a county-based process for identifying, and setting priorities for acquiring, coastal properties in coordination with the Acquisition and Restoration Council, or its successor, so these properties may be acquired as part of the state’s land acquisition programs. This process shall include the establishment of criteria for prioritizing coastal acquisitions which, in addition to recognizing pristine coastal properties and coastal properties of significant or important environmental sensitivity, recognize hazard mitigation, beach access, beach management, urban recreation, and other policies necessary for effective coastal management.
(5) In addition to other criteria established by statute or rule, the following criteria shall be considered when establishing priorities for public acquisition of coastal property:
(a) The value of acquiring coastal high-hazard parcels, consistent with hazard mitigation and postdisaster redevelopment policies, in order to minimize the risk to life and property and to reduce the need for future disaster assistance.
(b) The value of acquiring beachfront parcels, irrespective of size, to provide public access and recreational opportunities in highly developed urban areas.
(c) The value of acquiring identified parcels the development of which would adversely affect coastal resources.
(6) The department shall develop and implement a strategy to enhance citizen awareness and involvement in Florida’s coastal management programs.