Public Policy

Speak Up Now For Florida Forever Funding

April 20, 2013

We are pleased that Florida Forever is poised to receive funding from the Florida Legislature this session.  However, there are some important differences between how the House and Senate have proposed to fund Florida’s premier land acquisition program.  Florida Audubon has clearly summarized the differences as follows:

House Position

Senate Position

  • $25 million from General Revenue for Florida Forever for springs and water
  • $50 million from sale of land not needed for conservation
  • $25 million from General Revenue  for Rural Land Easements
  • $10 million from Florida Forever Trust Fund
  • $50 million from sale of land not needed for conservation

At this stage, the differences between the House and Senate versions must be resolved in a conference committee composed of both House and Senate members.  We prefer the House position as summarized above.  Please contact the Senate members of the conference committee and ask them to adopt the House proposal for Florida Forever funding.

Senate Conference Committee Members:


Joe Negron, Chair
Lizbeth Benacquisto, Vice Chair
Anitere Flores, At Large - Chair
Andy Gardiner, At Large
Gwen Margolis, At Large
Garrett Richter, At Large
Chris Smith, At Large
John Thrasher, At Large

Contact information for these senators can be found at http://flsenate.gov/Senators/Find

The funding proposed by the House for Rural Land Easements would be used to purchase conservation easements over agricultural lands that have significant conservation value.  These funds would help implement the Rural and Family Lands Protection Act and serve as an innovative way to conserve the land’s conservation values while allowing it to remain in private ownership and limited agricultural production that is consistent with conservation objectives. The $50 million proposed to come from the sale of land “not needed for conservation”, or the so-called “surplus lands” now being identified by state agencies and the water management districts, is of concern to FNPS and we continue to be involved in the ongoing process to identify “surplus” lands.  Although it remains to be seen whether $50 million could be generated through the sale of appropriately identified “surplus” state-owned lands, it is important that the Senate match the $25 million in Florida Forever funding proposed by the House, as well as the $25 million proposed for the purchase of Rural Land Easements. Please act now by contacting the Senate members of the Conference Committee and telling them you want the budget allocation for Florida Forever to match the House proposal. It is time for the State of Florida to again be a national leader in land and water conservation.

 

Update: Urgent: Oppose HB 999 and SB 1684

April 17, 2013

Be an Advocate for Native Plants

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Raise an Issue


Contact FNPS

Types of Issues Addressed by FNPS

  • General areas considered to be of statewide FNPS significance
  • Any Florida legislative action that affects our state environmental land acquisition program known as Florida Forever, which includes Florida Communities Trust and/or any other state agency funded through Florida Forever (DEP). This includes, but is not limited to, any legislation affecting funding of the program. It also includes the urgent need to fund the Florida Forever program.
  • All state and local land acquisition efforts for preservation and conservation.
  • Any statewide policy changes that enhance improve or further natural resource system protection within recognized preserves and/or reserve or state park refuge.
  • Development issues that are regional or have statewide significance in that they affect a change in Florida policy towards land acquisition, natural resource systems or waters of the state, but only if the issue clearly relates to the FNPS mission to preserve, conserve and restore native plants and native plant communities.
  • Any state legislative, state agency or state university action that would affect the viability (or lack thereof) of native plants and native plant communities. This includes, but is not limited to, state policy on exotic invasive species, water conservation, listed plant species, and cataloging of native plant communities.

General areas considered not to be of statewide significance include

  • Issues that are primarily related to managing the way a local jurisdiction grows or the methods it uses to plan growth. Unless it can be shown to meet criteria number four in the previous section.
  • Issues that are primarily transportation related unless the issue is of at least regional significance and would impact an established preserve/reserve/state park refuge/or a functional ecologically sensitive ecosystem.
  • Issues that involve local jurisdictional ordinances or land development codes.