Florida Senate - 2021 SB 2516 By the Committee on Appropriations 576-03661-21 20212516__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to water storage north of Lake 3 Okeechobee; creating s. 373.4599, F.S.; defining 4 terms; requiring the South Florida Water Management 5 District to request that the United States Army Corps 6 of Engineers seek congressional approval of a project 7 implementation report for the Lake Okeechobee 8 Watershed Restoration Project by a specified date; 9 requiring the district to seek a project partnership 10 agreement with the corps upon such approval; requiring 11 the district, in partnership with the corps, to 12 expedite the development and implementation of aquifer 13 storage and recovery wells; requiring the district to 14 perform necessary scientific investigation and 15 monitoring with implementation of such storage and 16 recovery; requiring the district to expedite 17 implementation of the aquifer storage and recovery 18 science plan developed by the district and the corps; 19 providing an implementation schedule for project 20 sites; requiring the district, in partnership with the 21 corps, to pursue expeditious implementation of certain 22 wetland restoration projects; requiring the district 23 to submit a report to the Legislature by a specified 24 date; providing requirements for the report; amending 25 s. 375.041, F.S.; requiring an annual appropriation 26 from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund for the Lake 27 Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project; providing a 28 directive to the Division of Law Revision; providing 29 an effective date. 30 31 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 32 33 Section 1. Section 373.4599, Florida Statutes, is created 34 to read: 35 373.4599 Water storage north of Lake Okeechobee.— 36 (1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term: 37 (a) “Corps” means the United States Army Corps of 38 Engineers. 39 (b) “District” means the South Florida Water Management 40 District. 41 (c) “Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project” or 42 “LOWRP” means the recommended plan contained within the Lake 43 Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project Final Integrated 44 Project Implementation Report and Environmental Impact Statement 45 dated August 2020 or as amended by the district and corps. 46 (2) PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION REPORT.—Upon the effective date 47 of this act, the district shall request that the corps seek 48 congressional approval of a project implementation report for 49 the LOWRP before passage of the Water Resources Development Act 50 of 2022. 51 (3) AGREEMENTS.—Immediately following congressional 52 approval of the LOWRP, the district shall seek to execute with 53 the corps a project partnership agreement for the LOWRP. The 54 project partnership agreement must be consistent with this 55 section. 56 (4) PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION.— 57 (a) Projects, locations, or structures.—Projects, 58 locations, or structures referred to in this subsection shall 59 mean those described in the Lake Okeechobee Watershed 60 Restoration Project Final Integrated Project Implementation 61 Report and Environmental Impact Statement dated August 2020 or 62 as amended by the district and the corps. 63 (b) Aquifer storage and recovery.— 64 1. Expedition of the LOWRP.—The district, in partnership 65 with the corps, shall expedite the development and 66 implementation of the LOWRP aquifer storage and recovery wells. 67 Implementation of this subsection must comply with all 68 applicable federal and state laws and rules, including the 69 department’s underground injection control program. 70 2. Investigation and monitoring.—The district shall perform 71 any necessary scientific investigation and monitoring 72 concurrently with the implementation of the LOWRP aquifer 73 storage and recovery wells. To ensure public health and safety, 74 technical feasibility, and achievement of environmental 75 benefits, implementation of the LOWRP aquifer storage and 76 recovery wells must use a phased approach that confirms 77 feasibility and site suitability and addresses uncertainties 78 identified in the aquifer storage and recovery science plan 79 developed by the district and the corps. 80 3. Aquifer storage and recovery science plan.—The district 81 shall expedite implementation of the aquifer storage and 82 recovery science plan developed by the district and the corps. 83 4. LOWRP watershed aquifer storage and recovery wells.— 84 a. For the Kissimmee River Basin site with the existing 85 Kissimmee River Aquifer Storage and Recovery Pilot Project 86 system, the district shall, by January 30, 2022, reactivate the 87 existing aquifer storage and recovery system on the site, 88 including any necessary testing. By March 30, 2027, the district 89 shall ensure that all other feasible aquifer storage and 90 recovery wells on the site are operational. 91 b. For all remaining feasible cluster sites in the 92 Kissimmee River Basin and Taylor Creek/Nubbin Slough Basin, the 93 district shall, by August 1, 2021, construct or execute 94 contracts for any necessary exploratory and monitoring wells on 95 each site, in addition to any other necessary evaluations, to 96 evaluate or confirm site suitability for well clusters. By March 97 30, 2027, the district shall ensure that all feasible aquifer 98 storage and recovery wells on those sites with suitable 99 locations are operational. 100 c. For all other feasible currently or subsequently 101 proposed LOWRP watershed aquifer storage and recovery cluster 102 sites not colocated with the wetland attenuation feature, the 103 district shall, by December 31, 2022, execute contracts for the 104 construction of any necessary exploratory and monitoring wells 105 on each site, in addition to any other necessary evaluations, to 106 evaluate site suitability for well clusters. By March 30, 2027, 107 the district shall ensure that all feasible aquifer storage and 108 recovery wells on those sites with suitable locations are 109 operational. 110 (c) Wetland restoration.—The district, in partnership with 111 the corps, shall pursue expeditious implementation of the 112 Paradise Run wetland restoration project and the Kissimmee River 113 Center wetland restoration project. 114 (5) REPORT.—By November 1, 2021, the district shall submit 115 to the Legislature a report describing the district’s compliance 116 with this section, including steps taken and any plans necessary 117 for ongoing compliance. The report must include updates on 118 congressional approval for the LOWRP project implementation 119 report; the aquifer storage and recovery science plan; any 120 scientific investigations; and designs, construction, and 121 operations. 122 Section 2. Subsection (3) of section 375.041, Florida 123 Statutes, is amended to read: 124 375.041 Land Acquisition Trust Fund.— 125 (3) Funds distributed into the Land Acquisition Trust Fund 126 pursuant to s. 201.15 shall be applied: 127 (a) First, to pay debt service or to fund debt service 128 reserve funds, rebate obligations, or other amounts payable with 129 respect to Florida Forever bonds issued under s. 215.618; and 130 pay debt service, provide reserves, and pay rebate obligations 131 and other amounts due with respect to Everglades restoration 132 bonds issued under s. 215.619; and 133 (b) Of the funds remaining after the payments required 134 under paragraph (a), but before funds may be appropriated, 135 pledged, or dedicated for other uses: 136 1. A minimum of the lesser of 25 percent or $200 million 137 shall be appropriated annually for Everglades projects that 138 implement the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan as set 139 forth in s. 373.470, including the Central Everglades Planning 140 Project subject to Congressional authorization; the Long-Term 141 Plan as defined in s. 373.4592(2); and the Northern Everglades 142 and Estuaries Protection Program as set forth in s. 373.4595. 143 From these funds, $32 million shall be distributed each fiscal 144 year through the 2023-2024 fiscal year to the South Florida 145 Water Management District for the Long-Term Plan as defined in 146 s. 373.4592(2). After deducting the $32 million distributed 147 under this subparagraph, from the funds remaining, a minimum of 148 the lesser of 76.5 percent or $100 million shall be appropriated 149 each fiscal year through the 2025-2026 fiscal year for the 150 planning, design, engineering, and construction of the 151 Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan as set forth in s. 152 373.470, including the Central Everglades Planning Project, the 153 Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir Project, the Lake 154 Okeechobee Watershed Project, the C-43 West Basin Storage 155 Reservoir Project, the Indian River Lagoon-South Project, the 156 Western Everglades Restoration Project, and the Picayune Strand 157 Restoration Project. The Department of Environmental Protection 158 and the South Florida Water Management District shall give 159 preference to those Everglades restoration projects that reduce 160 harmful discharges of water from Lake Okeechobee to the St. 161 Lucie or Caloosahatchee estuaries in a timely manner. For the 162 purpose of performing the calculation provided in this 163 subparagraph, the amount of debt service paid pursuant to 164 paragraph (a) for bonds issued after July 1, 2016, for the 165 purposes set forth under paragraph (b) shall be added to the 166 amount remaining after the payments required under paragraph 167 (a). The amount of the distribution calculated shall then be 168 reduced by an amount equal to the debt service paid pursuant to 169 paragraph (a) on bonds issued after July 1, 2016, for the 170 purposes set forth under this subparagraph. 171 2. A minimum of the lesser of 7.6 percent or $50 million 172 shall be appropriated annually for spring restoration, 173 protection, and management projects. For the purpose of 174 performing the calculation provided in this subparagraph, the 175 amount of debt service paid pursuant to paragraph (a) for bonds 176 issued after July 1, 2016, for the purposes set forth under 177 paragraph (b) shall be added to the amount remaining after the 178 payments required under paragraph (a). The amount of the 179 distribution calculated shall then be reduced by an amount equal 180 to the debt service paid pursuant to paragraph (a) on bonds 181 issued after July 1, 2016, for the purposes set forth under this 182 subparagraph. 183 3. The sum of $5 million shall be appropriated annually 184 each fiscal year through the 2025-2026 fiscal year to the St. 185 Johns River Water Management District for projects dedicated to 186 the restoration of Lake Apopka. This distribution shall be 187 reduced by an amount equal to the debt service paid pursuant to 188 paragraph (a) on bonds issued after July 1, 2016, for the 189 purposes set forth in this subparagraph. 190 4. The sum of $64 million is appropriated and shall be 191 transferred to the Everglades Trust Fund for the 2018-2019 192 fiscal year, and each fiscal year thereafter, for the EAA 193 reservoir project pursuant to s. 373.4598. Any funds remaining 194 in any fiscal year shall be made available only for Phase II of 195 the C-51 reservoir project or projects identified in 196 subparagraph 1. and must be used in accordance with laws 197 relating to such projects. Any funds made available for such 198 purposes in a fiscal year are in addition to the amount 199 appropriated under subparagraph 1. This distribution shall be 200 reduced by an amount equal to the debt service paid pursuant to 201 paragraph (a) on bonds issued after July 1, 2017, for the 202 purposes set forth in this subparagraph. 203 5. The sum of $50 million shall be appropriated annually to 204 the South Florida Water Management District for the Lake 205 Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project in accordance with s. 206 373.4599. This distribution must be reduced by an amount equal 207 to the debt service paid pursuant to paragraph (a) on bonds 208 issued after July 1, 2021, for the purposes set forth in this 209 subparagraph. 210 6. Notwithstanding subparagraph 3., for the 2020-2021 211 fiscal year, funds shall be appropriated as provided in the 212 General Appropriations Act. This subparagraph expires July 1, 213 2021. 214 Section 3. The Division of Law Revision is directed to 215 replace the phrase “the effective date of this act” wherever it 216 occurs in this act with the date this act becomes a law. 217 Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.