UW-F opposes Florida SB 1362 by Senator Hays and HB 1103 by Rep. Goodson by Unanimous Board of Director's Vote
Florida House Bill - HB1103, submitted by Rep. Tom Goodson, Titusville , is being debated on Tuesday at 12:30 in the House Natural Resources Committee. This is the sovereign submerged lands bill that will take away our public lands and waters, land and waters where we hunt and fish.
Florida wetlands have been the home of sportsmen and women and outdoors enthusiasts since long before they invented bug spray. 100 years ago, you could pretty much **** anywhere and be on public land, hunt and fish, and enjoy the outdoors. But since Florida began draining the marshes about the same time, the Ordinary High Water Line (OHWL) has always defined the boundary of Florida sovereign ground.
Along the OHWL are littoral zones and buffers that protect our water supply and protect the native public lands. These buffer zones protect private lands from flooding and filter nutrients from runoff in urban and agricultural storm-water. They are the food web factories that feed the wildlife native to Florida and feed the migratory birds that visit here each and every winter. They are the hard-bottom spawning grounds for game-fish when flooded, and they are the public places where we hunt and fish.
Now some want to change these boundaries to give land away to private interests and shrink the buffers that are so vital to our fresh-water supply.
This bill could strip YOU of the marsh where you love to hunt!
This bill, if passed into law, will lead to the shrinkage of these buffers, and will eliminate hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands, meaning less public land to hunt and fish.
Contact your state congressman and tell them you oppose HB1103 and all similar bills this session in Florida ...
HOUSE AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE -
That's not what the bill does. Somebody has given you bad information. It has nothing to do with buffers or taking land. It is trying to codify existing case law and that has established the boundary between upland owners ant the state. Instead of being against it suggest changes. This has been an ongoing issue for many years. It is something that needs to be done for the citizens of the state including sportsmen. There have been problems in the past with upland owners closing access to state waters i.e. Fisheating Creek and others. This would put into law the excact methods that have been used for many years to determine this boundary. There will be no taking. There may be areas that are percieved to be public lands, for example some marshes, and swamp and overflow lands that are in fact private. This would give no additional lands to either the state or upland owners.
I read some of the language, and I don't like the way it reads right now. It is a clear change, as far as I can tell, and it moves the boundary closer to the waterline. Then, a couple of paragraphs later, it says the intent of the bill is not to change water rights "as defined above." I read that to say that they aren't changing what we can do, just where we can (or can't) do it.
If that isn't the intent of the bill, we need to get some wording changed.
But someone that has more insider info than me (which is none, for what that's worth) feels it was driven by agro, who want to be able to use lands right up to the river's edge.