|Designation of Brevard Barrier Island Area as an Area of Critical State Concern, HB 1489, by Representative Altman (R-Indialantic), and SB 1686, by Senator Wright (R-New Smyrna). HB 1489 will be sent to the Governor for signature.|
The state has much to celebrate with the passing of this bill in both chambers. The bill provides greater protection to the Brevard Barrier Island Area by designating it as a critical area of state concern. These protections cannot come soon enough as this area is threatened by rapid development, endangering the fragile Indian River Lagoon and the world’s largest loggerhead turtle nesting site at Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. The bill was amended to specify that the designation may be removed if the Department of Economic Opportunity determines that all local land development regulations and local comprehensive plans — and the administration of such regulations and plans — are adequate to protect the Brevard Barrier Island Area.
Flooding and Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Studies, HB 111, by Representative Hunschofsky (R-Parkland) and SB 1170 by Senator Calatayud (R-Miami). HB 111 will be sent to the Governor for signature.
HB 111 and SB 1170 have passed both chambers and are in line to be sent to the Governor for final action. The bill requires a Sea Level Rise Impact Projection (SLIP) study for any publicly funded projects to evaluate the impact of sea level rise on construction. This bill expands the scope of existing legislation and would include not just projects built on the coast but also inland if they can be impacted by sea level rise and are in an at-risk area. This bill directs the Resilient Florida Grant Program at DEP to provide money for local governments to conduct feasibility studies and cover permitting costs for nature-based solutions to flooding and sea-level rise. The bills also expand funding to cover water management districts’ efforts supporting local government adaptation planning.
Trails, SB 106, by Senator Brodeur (R-Sanford) and HB 915 by Representative Botana (R-Bonita Springs). SB 106 was sent to the Governor for signature.
SB 106 passed both chambers and was approved by the Governor on April 11. These bills expand the Shared-Use Nonmotorized (SUN) Trail Network and enhance coordination of the state’s trail system with the Florida Wildlife Corridor.
The Florida Wildlife Corridor extends from the Keys to the Panhandle and includes nearly 10 million acres of conservation land. The bill increases the annual amount allocated for the SUN Trail Network from $25 million to $50 million and allocates $200 million in nonrecurring funds to the Department of Transportation for the planning, design, and construction of the SUN Trail.
Environmental Protection, HB 1379, by Representative Steele (R-Dade City) and Representative Overdorf (R-Palm City) has passed both chambers and goes next to the Governor for final action.
This comprehensive bill contains several provisions requested by DEP and implements provisions of the Governor’s Executive Order 23-06. The bill aims to improve requirements for several issues including wastewater, septic tanks, sanitary sewer services, and basin management action plans. HB 1379 expands the scope of the wastewater grant program and includes provisions targeting water quality improvements in the Indian River Lagoon, an estuary that has long been plagued with water quality issues and more recently by tragic manatee losses. The bill includes changes to requirements of comprehensive management plan elements and expands prohibitions on septic tanks in basin management action plans already in effect for Outstanding Florida Springs to all BMAPs. Lastly, the bill expedites the process of acquisition of conservation land.