Florida Senate - 2020                                    SB 1042
       By Senator Albritton
       26-01332-20                                           20201042__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to aquatic preserves; creating s.
    3         258.3991, F.S.; creating the Nature Coast Aquatic
    4         Preserve; designating the preserve for inclusion in
    5         the aquatic preserve system; describing the boundaries
    6         of the preserve; outlining the authority of the Board
    7         of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund in
    8         respect to the preserve; requiring the board to adopt
    9         rules; prohibiting the establishment and management of
   10         the preserve from infringing upon the riparian rights
   11         of upland property owners adjacent to or within the
   12         preserve; providing civil penalties; providing
   13         applicability; providing an effective date.
   15  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   17         Section 1. Section 258.3991, Florida Statutes, is created
   18  to read:
   19         258.3991 Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve.—
   20         (1) DESIGNATION.—The area described in subsection (2) which
   21  lies within Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus Counties, is designated
   22  by the Legislature for inclusion in the aquatic preserve system
   23  under the Florida Aquatic Preserve Act of 1975 and shall be
   24  known as the “Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve.” It is the intent
   25  of the Legislature that the Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve be
   26  preserved in an essentially natural condition so that its
   27  biological and aesthetic values may endure for the enjoyment of
   28  future generations.
   29         (2) BOUNDARIES.—For the purposes of this section, the
   30  Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve consists of the state-owned
   31  submerged lands lying west of the right-of-way of U.S. Highway
   32  19 within the boundaries of Pasco County, as described in s.
   33  7.51, Hernando County, as described in s. 7.27, and Citrus
   34  County, as described in s. 7.09, to the south boundary of St.
   35  Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve, as described in s. 258.39(20),
   36  and the westerly projection thereof, and also including all the
   37  state-owned submerged lands within Citrus County lying west of
   38  the west boundary of St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve, lying
   39  north of the westerly projection of the south boundary of St.
   40  Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve, and lying south of a line
   41  extending westerly along northerly coordinate 1663693 feet,
   42  Florida West Zone (NAD83), where the northern and southern
   43  boundaries of the Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve will be
   44  continuous with the southern boundary of the Big Bend Seagrasses
   45  Aquatic Preserve and the northern boundary of the Pinellas
   46  County Aquatic Preserve, respectively.
   47         (3) AUTHORITY OF TRUSTEES.—The Board of Trustees of the
   48  Internal Improvement Trust Fund shall maintain the aquatic
   49  preserve subject to the following:
   50         (a) The board may not approve or consummate the further
   51  sale, transfer, or lease of sovereign submerged lands in the
   52  preserve, except upon a showing of extreme hardship on the part
   53  of the applicant and a determination by the board that such
   54  sale, transfer, or lease is in the public interest.
   55         (b) The board may not approve the further dredging or
   56  filling of submerged lands of the preserve except:
   57         1. Minimum dredging and spoiling of submerged lands may be
   58  authorized for existing public navigation projects, as a public
   59  necessity, or for preservation of the preserve according to the
   60  expressed intent of this section.
   61         2. Other alterations of the physical conditions of the
   62  submerged lands, including the placement of riprap, may be
   63  authorized as necessary to enhance the quality and utility of
   64  the aquatic preserve.
   65         3. The board may authorize minimum dredging and filling of
   66  the submerged lands for the construction and maintenance of
   67  marinas, piers, or docks and the maintenance of existing
   68  attendant navigation channels and access roads. Such projects
   69  may be authorized only upon a specific finding by the board that
   70  there is assurance that the project will be constructed and
   71  operated in a manner that will not adversely affect the water
   72  quality, valuable habitats, and utility of the preserve. This
   73  subparagraph does not authorize the connection of upland canals
   74  to the waters of the preserve.
   75         4. The board may authorize the dredging of submerged lands
   76  if the board determines that such dredging is necessary to
   77  eliminate conditions hazardous to the public health or to
   78  eliminate stagnant waters, islands, and spoil banks, and that
   79  such dredging would enhance the aesthetic and environmental
   80  quality, habitats, and utility of the preserve and is clearly in
   81  the public interest as determined by the board.
   82         (c)Before approving any dredging or filling as provided in
   83  paragraph (b), the board must give public notice of such
   84  dredging and filling as required under s. 253.115.
   85         (d) There may not be any drilling of wells, excavation for
   86  shell or minerals, or erection of structures other than docks
   87  within the preserve unless such activity is associated with
   88  activity that is authorized under this section.
   89         (e) The board may not approve the seaward relocation of
   90  bulkhead lines or the further establishment of bulkhead lines
   91  except when a proposed bulkhead line is located at the line of
   92  mean high water along the shoreline. Construction, replacement,
   93  or relocation of a seawall is prohibited without the approval of
   94  the board, which approval may be granted only if riprap
   95  construction is used in the seawall. The board may grant
   96  approval under this paragraph by a letter of consent.
   97         (f) Notwithstanding this section, the board may, for lands
   98  lying within the preserve:
   99         1. Enter into agreements for and establish lines
  100  delineating sovereignty and privately owned lands.
  101         2. Enter into agreements for the exchange of, and exchange,
  102  sovereignty lands for privately owned lands.
  103         3. Accept gifts of land within or contiguous to the
  104  preserve.
  105         4. Negotiate or enter into agreements with owners of lands
  106  contiguous to public lands for any public or private use of any
  107  of such lands.
  108         5. Take any action that is convenient or necessary to
  109  accomplish any of the acts and matters authorized under this
  110  paragraph.
  111         6. Conduct restoration and enhancement efforts in the
  112  preserve and its tributaries.
  113         7. Stabilize eroding shorelines of the preserve and its
  114  tributaries which are contributing to turbidity by planting
  115  natural vegetation to the greatest extent feasible and placing
  116  riprap, as determined by Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus Counties in
  117  conjunction with the Department of Environmental Protection.
  118         (4) RULES.—
  119         (a) The board shall adopt and enforce reasonable rules to
  120  carry out this section and to provide:
  121         1. Additional preserve management criteria as necessary to
  122  accommodate special circumstances.
  123         2. Regulation of human activity within the preserve in such
  124  a manner as not to interfere unreasonably with lawful and
  125  traditional public uses of the preserve, such as sport fishing,
  126  commercial fishing, boating, and swimming.
  127         (b) Other uses of the preserve, or human activity within
  128  the preserve, although not originally contemplated, may be
  129  authorized by the board, but only subsequent to a formal finding
  130  of compatibility with the purposes of this section.
  131         (5) RIPARIAN RIGHTS.—The establishment or the management of
  132  the preserve may not operate to infringe upon the riparian
  133  rights of upland property owners adjacent to or within the
  134  preserve. Reasonable improvement for ingress and egress,
  135  mosquito control, shore protection, public utility expansion,
  136  and similar purposes may be authorized by the board or the
  137  Department of Environmental Protection, subject to any other
  138  applicable laws under the jurisdiction of other agencies.
  139  However, before approving any such improvements, the board or
  140  the department must give public notice as required under s.
  141  253.115.
  142         (6) ENFORCEMENT.—This section may be enforced in accordance
  143  with s. 403.412. In addition, the Department of Legal Affairs
  144  may bring an action for civil penalties of $5,000 per day
  145  against a person as defined in s. 1.01(3) who violates this
  146  section or any rule or regulation issued hereunder.
  147         (7) APPLICABILITY.—This section is subject to the Florida
  148  Electrical Power Plant Siting Act, as described in ss. 403.501
  149  403.518.
  150         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.