Item 1 Minutes
Submittal of the Minutes from the April 23, 2002 and May 7, 2002 Cabinet Meetings.
(See Attachment 1, Pages 1-25)
Substitute Item 2 Confirm DEP Representative for Sanctuary Oversight/DOA to Approve Funds/Select Projects
REQUEST: Consideration of a request to (1) confirm Katherine Andrews, the Director of the Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas, as the Department of Environmental Protection's representative to work in consultation with the superintendent of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (Sanctuary) for the oversight of Sanctuary operations; (2) delegate Board of Trustees' authority to the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection to approve the use of funds recovered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as compensation for injury to state resources within the Sanctuary; and, (3) delegate section 380.0558(5), F.S., authority to the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection to select alternative projects not to exceed $50,000 for restoration and response activities for vessel groundings.
APPLICANT: Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas (CAMA)
This request applies to the sovereignty submerged lands of the State of
is being sought at this time because NOAA and DEP have been pursuing more
seagrass damage enforcement cases. About two years ago, NOAA hired additional
Substitute Item 2, cont.
who have been using high-tech instruments to better assess sites where damage to seagrasses has occurred. It is expected that, in seagrass damage cases, NOAA and DEP will usually recover approximately $25,000 to $50,000 from the responsible party. NOAA and/or DEP will then bid out the restoration project through the normal bidding process. The sooner the restoration can occur, the greater the chance of success. This delegation will expedite restoration and result in better protection of the Sanctuary's natural resources.
In Section 312 natural resource damage cases, the recovered funds will first be used to restore the site damaged by the specific responsible party. Compensatory damages are also recovered. Compensatory actions may include restoration of similar resources, the placement of navigation markers to prevent future vessel groundings, or education and outreach to boaters. How the recovered funds are spent is determined by the co-trustees of the Sanctuary based on the feasibility or practicality for restoration of the injured resources; the significance of the damaged resource; the importance of the injured resource to boaters, fishermen, divers, tourists, and the citizens of Florida; benefits to fish and wildlife populations, including threatened and endangered species; consistency with the Memorandum of Agreement on the Coordination of Civil Claims as approved by the Board of Trustees; consistency with the Sanctuary Management Plan; and coordination with the Superintendent. All restoration and compensatory damages recovered will be spent within the Sanctuary as required by the Board of Trustees' January 28, 1997 Resolution. The second element of the request is to delegate Board of Trustees' authority to DEP to approve the use of funds recovered by NOAA as compensation for injury to state resources within the Sanctuary. This delegation is consistent with DEP's role as staff to the Board of Trustees and as co-manager of Sanctuary resources.
The third element of the request pertains to the use of vessel grounding restoration funds recovered by the state and deposited into the Ecosystem Management and Restoration Trust Fund pursuant to chapter 380, F.S. Section 380.0558(5)(c), F.S., states that these funds are to pay for response activities, restoration of the damaged natural resources, or alternative projects selected by the Board of Trustees. Alternative projects are to be selected on the basis of anticipated benefits to the residents of the state who use the injured or destroyed coral reefs or other natural resources or who will otherwise benefit from the alternative project. This item requests the delegation of section 380.0558(5), F.S., authority to DEP to select alternative projects not to exceed $50,000 for restoration and response activities for vessel groundings. The purpose is to allow for the use of recovered funds on grounding sites that are in immediate need of remedial actions. At times, restoration of vessel grounding sites for which damages have been recovered is not practical because of its natural recovery, or is no longer feasible. This is due to factors such as the availability of organisms to transplant, difficulty and expense of restoration options and the often remote locations of the damaged resources. In such instances, restoration funds are better used to quickly stabilize recently damaged vessel grounding sites, resulting in less overall loss of coral reef and other resources. The alternate projects will be selected based on the feasibility or practicality for restoration of the injured resources; the significance of the damaged resource; the importance of the injured resource to boaters, fishermen, divers, tourists, the citizens of Florida; benefits to fish and wildlife populations, including threatened and endangered species; consistency with applicable management plans; and coordination with appropriate local, state and federal agencies.
The last request, for delegation, will expedite the expenditure of funds for private contractors and materials to repair damages from vessel groundings. DEP will then bid out the restoration project through the normal bidding process. The resultant rapid response to these incidents will significantly increase the restoration of natural resources, as well as decreasing the recovery time, particularly for corals. This delegation is consistent with DEP's role as staff to the Board of Trustees.
(See Attachment 2, Pages 1 -16)
Substitute Item 3 McDaniell, as Successor Trustee, Option Agreement/Apalachicola Wildlife and Environmental Area
REQUEST: Consideration of an option agreement to acquire 72.5 acres adjoining the Apalachicola Wildlife and Environmental Area under the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Florida Forever Inholdings and Additions Program from John Worth McDaniell, Jr., as Successor Trustee of the Revocable Trust of Ann C. McDaniell.
APPLICANT: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC)
LOCATION: Section 10, Township 08 South, Range 07 West
STAFF REMARKS: This acquisition was negotiated by the FWCC. This parcel is on FWCC's Florida Forever Inholdings and Additions list and adjoins the Apalachicola Wildlife and Environmental Area.
All mortgages and liens will be satisfied at the time of closing. There is currently an access easement to the property from Chason Road that extends into the subject property approximately 175 feet. The appraiser considered this easement in determining value. FWCC has indicated it will not affect the management of the property. On June 22, 1999, the Board of Trustees approved a staff recommendation to delegate to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) the authority to review and evaluate marketability issues as they arise on all chapter 259, F. S., acquisitions and to resolve them appropriately. Therefore, DEP staff will review, evaluate and implement an appropriate resolution for any title issues that arise prior to closing.
A title insurance policy, a survey and an environmental site assessment of the property will be provided by FWCC prior to closing.
The Apalachicola Wildlife and Environmental Area provides important habitat for Florida black bears, as well as other rare animals and plants. The natural topography and plant cover of the site are common to the physiographic region and remain essentially intact. Dominant plant cover on the site consists of pine and cabbage palm flatwoods interspersed with cypress swamp transitioning to salt water marsh. The potential for listed species to be located on or use this property is considered high. Acquisition of this land will create a more complete pattern of ownership for the wildlife management area, provide additional wildlife habitat, and enhance the overall management of the Apalachicola Wildlife and Environmental Area.
The property will be managed by FWCC as an addition to the Apalachicola Wildlife and Environmental Area for natural resource conservation and resource-based public outdoor recreation within a multiple-use management regime.
This acquisition is consistent with section 187.201(10), F.S., the Natural Systems and Recreational Lands section of the State Comprehensive Plan
(See Attachment 3, Pages 1-19)
Item 4 Durazzo/Vecchiarelli Option Agreement/Northwest Marion Greenway/ Price's Scrub Greenways & Trails Florida Forever Project
REQUEST: Consideration of an option agreement to acquire 952 acres within the Northwest Marion Greenway/Price's Scrub Greenways and Trails Florida Forever project from Neil Durazzo and Frank Vecchiarelli.
LOCATION: Sections 02, 03, 11, 12 and 14, Township 12 South, Range 20 East
STAFF REMARKS: The Northwest Marion Greenway/Price's Scrub Greenways and Trails Project has been identified on the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Office of Greenways and Trails' (OGT) Florida Forever approved acquisition list. This acquisition was
Item 4, cont.
The Price's Scrub acquisition is a major public acquisition in a matrix of publicly and privately-owned greenway lands to be protected by conservation/trail access easements and management agreements. This parcel represents the keystone acquisition for creation of a 20-mile greenway that will eventually link Paynes Prairie State Preserve to the north with Goethe State Forest to the southwest.
The property currently contains several miles of trails including one that follows the Ocala-Micanopy stretch of the historic Tampa-Lake City stagecoach route that runs along the western boundary of the parcel. This was a major military artery during the Second Seminole War. In addition, the property contains 14 archaeological sites that are listed in the Florida Master Site File as lithic scatters.
Located in "Florida Horse Country," this type of recreational greenway is in very high public demand. In addition to approximately 15 miles of equestrian trails, the project will provide the public with the following recreational opportunities: hiking, bicycling, canoeing, swimming, fishing, historical study, birding and nature study.
Price's Scrub has been identified by the Florida Natural Areas Inventory as one of Marion County's top priority sites for preservation of biodiversity. The property contains the northernmost piece of substantial scrub habitat remaining in Florida. The property is also comprised of xeric hammock, upland hardwood forest, upland mixed and pine forest, mesic flatwoods, scrubby flatwoods, wet flatwoods, depression marsh, marsh lake and sinkhole lake.
Price's Scrub lies within lands designated as a Strategic Habitat Conservation Area by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Rare and endangered species located in the project area include the Sherman's fox squirrel, kestrel, wood stork, sandhill crane, gopher tortoise, indigo snake, greenfly orchid and Florida spiny pod. The extensive palmetto cover and access to an oversize culvert under I-75 make the Price's Scrub Tract valuable for long-term linkage of the Chassahowitzka and Ocala black bear populations.
By providing an important ecological and recreational greenway between two rapidly growing urban areas, this project furthers OGT's mission, which is "To facilitate the establishment of a statewide system of greenways and trails that provides all Floridians and visitors public access to a greenway or trail within 15 minutes of their home, workplace, or tourist destination."
All mortgages and liens will be satisfied at the time of closing. There are several easements on the property which include a 30-foot-wide ingress and egress easement along the northern and western boundaries of Section 2 and the western boundary of Section 11 and a non-exclusive easement for both ingress and egress as well as for public utilities along the western boundaries of both Sections 2 and 11. The future managing agencies have determined that the easements will not affect management. The appraisers considered the easements and determined that they made no impact on value. On June 22, 1999, the Board of Trustees approved a staff recommendation to delegate to the DEP the authority to review and evaluate marketability issues as they arise on all chapter 259, F.S., acquisitions and to resolve them appropriately. Therefore, DEP staff will review, evaluate and implement an appropriate resolution for these and any other title issues that arise prior to closing.
A title insurance policy, a survey, an environmental site evaluation and, if necessary, an environmental site assessment will be provided by OGT prior to closing. The seller will reimburse the cost of the title insurance.
Item 4, cont.
OGT will be the interim manager of the property with the Conservation Trust for Florida as the long-term manager. The property will be managed as a passive recreational open space greenway.
OGT'S Application Process
Applicants apply for OGT's 1.5 percent annual allocation of Florida Forever funding through a competitive application process. The applicants must meet criteria specified by statute (section 260, F.S.) and detailed by rule in chapter 62S-1, F.A.C. Applications are initially reviewed and assigned points by OGT staff and biologists and then forwarded to the Florida Greenways and Trails Council (Council) for review and approval. The Council consists of 21 members as outlined in section 260, F.S. At a public meeting, the Council evaluates and ranks the projects before recommending a final acquisition list. The list is then forwarded to the Secretary of DEP for final approval.
In order to be eligible, applicants must present a willing seller certificate for 80 percent of the ownership and a willing land manager certificate. Projects are evaluated based on several factors including their importance and function within the statewide system (see below); public access; whether the project is part of a planned phase of an existing or ongoing greenways or trails project; potential for cost sharing in acquisition, development, operation or maintenance; location (proximity to other publicly-owned lands, etc.); type of interest to be acquired (fee simple, less than fee, etc.), recreational opportunities to be provided; and ecological, historical and cultural features.
The Statewide Plan for the Florida Greenways & Trails System
In 1999, the Florida Legislature adopted the five-year implementation plan for the Florida Greenways and Trails System. The broad vision underlying the plan is summed up in its subtitle, "Connecting Florida's Communities with Greenways and Trails."
This plan was developed through the work and consensus of a broad range of groups and stakeholders such as recreational users, conservation groups, private landowners, etc. The foundation for its development consists of various legislative actions and efforts that occurred throughout the more than 20 years prior to its adoption. OGT is charged with overseeing implementation of the plan in coordination with the Council.
A key component of the implementation plan includes the identification and prioritization of the ecological and recreational opportunity areas throughout the state. These areas have been identified, mapped and prioritized and are the basis for evaluating project applications.
This acquisition is consistent with section 187.201(10), F.S., the Natural Systems and Recreational Lands section of the State Comprehensive Plan.
(See Attachment 4, Pages 1-31)
Item 5 Combee Option Agreement/Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern/ Green Swamp Florida Forever Project
Consideration of an option agreement to acquire a perpetual conservation
easement over 667.2 acres within the Green Swamp Area of Critical State
Concern and the Green Swamp Florida Forever project from A. D. Combee
and Lorene Combee.
Item 5, cont.
LOCATION: Section 02, Township 26 South, Range 24 East
The purchase price for the conservation easement is 56 percent of the
appraised fee value of $1,450/acre.
STAFF REMARKS: Effective July 1, 1999, the Legislature transferred all activities performed by the Green Swamp Land Authority to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) as provided in section 51, chapter 99-247, Laws of Florida. The Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern contains 322,690 acres, of which 32,919 acres are protected by, or under agreement to be protected by, land protection agreements or conservation easements. After the Board of Trustees approves this agreement, 289,104 acres, or 90 percent of the area, will remain to be acquired. This acquisition also lies within the Green Swamp Florida Forever project boundary, which contains 276,165 acres, of which 28,345.78 acres have been acquired or are under agreement to be acquired. After the Board of Trustees approves this agreement, 247,152.02 acres, or 89 percent of the Green Swamp Florida Forever project, will remain to be acquired.
conservation easement will allow the owner to retain certain rights, which
include but are not limited to the following:
Under the proposed conservation easement the property will be restricted in perpetuity by the following provisions of the easement, which include, but are not limited to, the following:
Dumping of trash, waste, hazardous materials and soil will be prohibited;
and liens will be satisfied or subordinated at the time of closing. In
the event the commitments for title insurance, to be obtained prior to
closing, reveal any other encumbrances which may affect the value of the
property or the proposed management of the property, staff will so advise
the Board of Trustees prior to closing.
Item 5, cont.
A title insurance policy, a survey, environmental site assessment and an easement documentation report will be provided by the purchaser prior to closing.
The mosaic of cypress swamps, pine forests, and pastures known as the Green Swamp is a vital part of the water supply of Central Florida. This region gives rise to four major river systems (the Withlacoochee, Oklawaha, Hillsborough and Peace) and, because it has the highest groundwater elevation in the peninsula, is important for maintaining the flow of water from the Floridan Aquifer. Preservation by acquiring certain rights to the properties located within the area will protect the Floridan Aquifer and the headwaters of several rivers, and preserve a large area for wildlife.
The Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Office of Environmental Services will be the interim monitor for the conservation easement until such time that DEP staff has determined a permanent monitor.
This acquisition is consistent with section 187.201(10), F.S., the Natural Systems and Recreational Lands section of the State Comprehensive Plan.
(See Attachment 5, Pages 1-30)
Item 6 Collier County School Board Deed Determination
REQUEST: A determination that (1) the conveyance of 0.11 acre, more or less, by the Collier County School Board to Collier County for road purposes does not violate the public school purpose restriction contained in Board of Trustees Deed No. 25112 to the Collier County School Board; (2) a perpetual conservation easement from the Collier County School Board to the South Florida Water Management District does not violate the restrictions contained in Board of Trustees' Deed Number 25112 to the Collier County School Board; and (3) the Collier County School Board's dedication of water and sewer facilities to Collier County does not violate the restrictions contained in Board of Trustees' Deed Number 25112 to the Collier County School Board.
APPLICANT: Collier County School Board
LOCATION: Section 12, Township 49 South, Range 25 East
On June 16, 1970, the Board of Trustees conveyed 180 acres to the Collier
County School Board (School Board). The Board of Trustees' deed contains
a restriction which requires that the property be used solely for public
school purposes. The deed includes a reverter in favor of the Board of
Trustees in the event the land ceases to be used for public school purposes.
In 1981, the Board of Trustees approved a partial release of deed restrictions
for 1.193 acres so that the School Board could deed the parcel to Collier
County (County) for improvements to Pine Ridge Road, which borders the
property on the south side. In March 2000, the School Board conveyed an
additional 0.11-acre to the County for road purposes without seeking approval
of a partial release of restrictions from the Board of Trustees.
Item 6, cont.
The School Board is planning to build a new elementary school and administration building on the remaining 178.70 acres. Construction is to be funded through the sale of bonds. The law firm representing the School Board must be able to provide an opinion of title as a part of the bond approval process and it is seeking assurance from the Board of Trustees that the conveyance of the 0.11-acre parcel to the County did not violate the public school purposes restriction in the 1970 Board of Trustees' deed and that the School Board's title to the remaining 178.70 acres has not reverted to the Board of Trustees. The School Board submitted a request to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for approval of a second partial release; however, DEP staff is of the opinion that the School Board's conveyance of the 0.11-acre parcel to the County does not violate the deed restriction and a release of restrictions is not needed for the following reasons:
The deed to the County specifies that the 0.11-acre "be used for
the widening of Pine Ridge Road so that the grantor retains access to
Pine Ridge Road from its property."
As part of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) storm water management approval process for the new facilities, the School Board must grant SFWMD a perpetual conservation easement over a portion of the property. The School Board has requested confirmation that the conservation easement will not violate the deed restriction. Because storm water management is essential to use of the property for public school purposes, and because the School Board will retain fee title, DEP staff is of the opinion that the conservation easement does not violate the public school purposes deed restriction.
Lastly, in connection with the construction of the school and administration building, the School Board has completed construction of certain water and sewer facilities on the property. Portions of the water and sewer facilities are designated to be dedicated to the County via a Utility Facilities Warranty Deed and Bill of Sale. The School Board has also requested confirmation that the dedication of these facilities will not violate the deed restriction. Because the dedication only transfers the facilities to the County and does not convey the land on which the utilities will be built, and because the water and sewer facilities on the property will service the school and administrative building, DEP staff is of the opinion that the dedication does not violate the public school purposes deed restriction.
A consideration of the status of the local government comprehensive plan was not made for this item. DEP has determined that the request is not subject to the local government planning process.
(See Attachment 6, Pages 1-20)