Florida Senate - 2020 SB 1608 By Senator Mayfield 17-01624A-20 20201608__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to the Florida National Estuary 3 Program Act; creating s. 373.45941, F.S.; providing 4 legislative findings; providing that partnering with 5 the Federal Government and local governments to 6 protect specified water resources is an important 7 state interest; requiring the Department of 8 Environmental Protection to give funding consideration 9 to the conservation and management of specified 10 estuaries identified under the National Estuary 11 Program; requiring that funds be used for specified 12 projects; requiring each program receiving funding to 13 prepare an annual report and submit the report to the 14 Governor, the Legislature, the department, and the 15 respective water management districts; specifying 16 requirements for the report; providing an effective 17 date. 18 19 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 20 21 Section 1. Section 373.45941, Florida Statutes, is created 22 to read: 23 373.45941 Florida National Estuary Program Act.— 24 (1) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.—The Legislature finds that: 25 (a) Estuaries in the state designated as estuaries of 26 national significance by the United States Congress provide 27 diverse ecologically and economically productive habitats that 28 support many wildlife populations, such as migratory birds, 29 commercially valuable fish species, shellfish, and other species 30 that depend on estuarine environments; 31 (b) Significant water quality issues in the state arising 32 from increased pollution from stormwater and agricultural 33 runoff, wastewater discharges, industrial pollution, and 34 commercial and recreational waste are degrading the state’s 35 estuaries of national significance; 36 (c) Estuaries of national significance identified under the 37 National Estuary Program are governed and funded by federal, 38 state, and local governmental entities, including the department 39 and the respective water management districts; 40 (d) The natural resource protection and restoration efforts 41 of the National Estuary Program provide substantial public 42 health and economic benefits to the state, including its real 43 estate and tourism sectors; 44 (e) The state’s estuaries of national significance 45 encompass 50 percent of its coastline and a large proportion of 46 its population and are economically, environmentally, and 47 socially defined by some of the state’s most important and 48 vulnerable water resources; and 49 (f) There is an important state interest in partnering with 50 the Federal Government and local governments to protect the 51 water resources of the National Estuary Program water bodies in 52 this state identified in paragraph (2)(a) through restoration 53 priorities identified in their respective adopted comprehensive 54 conservation and management plans. 55 (2) FUNDING.- 56 (a) The department shall give funding consideration to the 57 conservation and management of the following programs identified 58 under the National Estuary Program and designated pursuant to s. 59 320 of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. s. 1330: 60 1. Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program. 61 2. Coastal & Heartland National Estuary Partnership. 62 3. Tampa Bay Estuary Program. 63 4. Sarasota Bay Estuary Program. 64 (b) Funds provided pursuant to paragraph (a) must be used 65 for projects identified in the program’s adopted comprehensive 66 conservation and management plan, including, but not limited to, 67 projects that: 68 1. Improve water quality; 69 2. Improve fisheries and natural habitats; 70 3. Enhance resiliency and protect human health, safety, and 71 welfare; 72 4. Monitor environmental conditions to determine trends and 73 project success; 74 5. Promote technology innovation and pilot projects that 75 support such innovations; or 76 6. Enhance coastal economies and quality of life. 77 (3) ANNUAL REPORT.- 78 (a) Each National Estuary Program receiving recurring 79 dedicated state funding shall, in coordination with its 80 respective county and municipal governments, prepare a 81 comprehensive annual report for water and habitat resource 82 projects identified for state funding consideration within its 83 jurisdictions. At a minimum, the report must include the: 84 1. Funds expended on each listed project in the fiscal year 85 and the total estimated cost of each project; 86 2. Estimated completion date of each listed project; 87 3. Source and amount of financial assistance provided by 88 county or municipal governments, water management districts, or 89 other entities for each listed project; and 90 4. Implementation status of each project that has received 91 state funding but has not been completed. 92 (b) By January 1 of each year, each National Estuary 93 Program receiving recurring dedicated state funding shall submit 94 its comprehensive annual report to the Governor, the President 95 of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the 96 department, and the appropriate water management districts. 97 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.