Action Alerts

Amendment 1 Implementation

January 09, 2015

The Florida Senate is under pressure from multiple interests to use the money that Florida citizens intended to be used for acquisition and management of natural lands -- but special interests want it to be used for other things.  Some are valid, some just take money away from conservation to use it for other things.

Please use you voice so that this money is spent for its intended purposes.

The Senate has set up an Amendment 1 website.  It has useful information on it including a copy of the amendment.

It also has a form that you can use to express your opinion.  Please use this form to deliver your message of support for Florida's important conservation lands.

http://www.flsenate.gov/media/topics/wlc

Update: Update

January 30, 2015

Help Set Amendment 1 Spending Priorities – Please Use Online Process to Tell Senators What You Think

Florida Native Plant Society members showed strong support for passage of the Water and Land Conservation Amendment (Amendment 1), and we stand proudly with the 76% of the electorate that expressed their support for conserving our land and water resources by making Amendment 1 law.  Now we need to follow-thru on the work we’ve already done by letting the Florida legislature know how we believe those funds should be spent.

The Florida Senate has provided an easy online method for you to share your opinion about Amendment 1 funds.  Please take a minute to submit some personal comments at http://www.flsenate.gov/Media/Topics/wlc .  These comments will help the legislature establish spending priorities.  The Society has adopted the following set of guiding principles that may help you frame your recommendations:

  • The Florida Forever program, prior to the severe funding cuts of recent years, was a model for effective land conservation.  Its success was a major reason the people of Florida voted for passage.  The first order of business for Amendment 1 implementation should be a restoration of historic Florida Forever funding levels.
  • Funding for land management and habitat restoration on current conservation lands should be made sufficient to meet the management objectives established for those lands, and to sustain and enhance the habitat and recreational values they provide.
  • Accelerated implementation of Everglades restoration projects and the myriad public benefits they will provide (water supply, water quality enhancement, and ecosystem restoration) may justify strategically targeted infusion of funds to restore degraded water resources, including Lake Okeechobee, Florida Bay, Indian River Lagoon, and the Caloosahatchee, Kissimmee and Loxahatchee river systems.
  • Our magnificent springs are a natural treasure, and one that is rapidly being lost due to our contamination and misuse of groundwater.  Florida has already made a sizable investment in scientific assessments and initiatives to formulate science-based strategies that would halt and reverse the degradation. The use of Amendment 1 funds may be appropriate to jump-start implementation of responsible, science-based springs restoration programs or projects.
  • Grants and cooperative funding programs can provide incentives for local governments, private landowners, and other partners to undertake conservation projects they could not otherwise afford.   Some existing programs (e.g., Forest Stewardship, Landowner Assistance Program) are cost-effective approaches that could benefit from supplemental or restored funding, and the creation of additional programs could be contemplated to expand partnership opportunities.
  • Effective conservation requires long-range planning.  The Legislature should begin development of a 5-year work plan to guide Amendment 1 implementation.  Like the 5-year plans that guide Florida Forever spending by the DEP and water management districts, the plan should be updated annually in order to be adaptive and responsive to changing circumstances and priorities, and should be consistent with, and accommodate implementation, of current Florida Forever work plans and land management plans.
  • The clear intent of Amendment 1, and the will of the people in voting for its passage, is to provide a large and continuing infusion of funds to supplement spending on land and water conservation.  Current funding for conservation and natural resource protection should not be supplanted by Amendment 1 funds and redirected to other uses.
  • Although water supply infrastructure and waste water treatment systems are critically important elements in meeting our water needs and protecting water resources, there are existing sources of funding dedicated to such projects. The clear conservation emphasis of Amendment 1 dictates that funding should not be directed to such infrastructure development projects.

The Senate’s Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation will play a leading role in decisions about Amendment 1 spending.  If your senator is a member of the Committee, or if you would just like to take additional action, please feel free to contact Committee members directly.  Contact information is available at http://www.flsenate.gov/senators/find and the membership consists of the following roster:

Charles “Charlie” Dean, Chair

Wilton Simpson, Vice-Chair

Thad Altman

Greg Evers

Alan Hays

David Simmons

Christopher Smith

Darren Soto

Raising an Issue

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.