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from Rep. Danny Burgess to Lee Ogden, DEC and USEP-R

Dear Lee,

It is good to hear from you and I hope you are having a nice week.

Thank you so much for your email on Florida Forever and Amendment 1 and I hope this email finds you well. Our state is home to many beautiful natural resources that must be protected and preserved and that is a priority of our office. 


As you know, Amendment 1 allocates 33% of net revenues from the current excise tax on documents to be deposited into the existing Land Acquisition Trust Fund for the next twenty years. This year that is estimated to be $741.8 million.
 
The House budget provides $205 million for projects from the Florida Forever trust fund, which can only be used to carry out the purposes of the Florida Forever Act. $100 million of that will go to water management districts for water resource development, of which a statutory minimum of 50% must be used for the acquisition of land. Another $50 million will be used to acquire land or for capital projects to restore priority Florida springs. All of that money could be used for land acquisition if the Department of Environmental Protection so chooses. $25 million will be put towards acquiring agricultural lands, and an additional $20 million will be used to purchase land for the restoration of the Kissimmee River. Finally, $10 million is dedicated to land acquisitions that are less-than-fee interest (e.g., conservation easements), acquiring conservation land for military buffering, or partnerships where the state portion of the cost is 50% or less. 
 
The Florida Forever program has acquired more than 710,000 acres since its inception in 2001. Good stewardship of the land we own is critical to meeting our conservation strategy, ensuring our land does not fall into disrepair and become a breeding ground for invasive species. To that end, the House Budget provides an additional $109.6 million for land management.
 
The House’s 2015-2016 budget also takes a comprehensive and balanced approach to addressing Florida’s water supply and quality challenges. Among other things, our budget includes:
 
•             $15 million for springs restoration around the state.
•             $132 million for Everglades restoration.
•             $10 million for the Indian River Lagoon Muck Removal.
•             $10 million for EGRET Muck Removal project.
 
The Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Area has been allocated $33.9 million for several projects including agricultural nutrient reduction and water retention projects in the Lake Okeechobee Watershed and nonpoint regulatory solutions to water quality problems for agriculture. To address total maximum daily loads, the House allocated $9.4 million. This provides funding for grants to local governments for storm water quality restoration projects and nonpoint source best management practices.
 
The House’s budget also provides an additional $13 million for water retention to reduce the amount of water delivered into the Northern Everglades and Estuaries during the wet season and $15 million to store water that would otherwise flow into the St. Lucie River and other ecosystems on fallow farming lands.
 
I very much appreciate your time and input on this and other issues and will keep your thoughts in mind as we continue budget discussions. Your thoughts really mean a lot to me and I value your input.


Feel free to call me anytime or if you would ever like to meet in person, we could set up a good date and time.
 
As always, please do not ever hesitate to contact our office if you have any questions or concerns and know that it is an honor to serve you in the Florida House!
 
Sincerely,
 
Danny Burgess
State Representative, District 38
35358 State Road 54
Zephyrhills, Florida 33541
(813) 780-0667
Danny.Burgess@myfloridahouse.gov

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MAY DEC CALENDAR:

NOTE:  PLEASE LOOK AT THE CLUBS AND COMMITTEE PAGE FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

4:  DEC STEERING COMM. MEETING

7:  HERITAGE PINES DEM CLUB:  4: 30

9:  DEMOCRATIC WOMENS’S CLUB:  11:00

11:  DEC MONTHLY MEETING:  6: 30

18:  EAST PASCO DEMS :  7 

21:  TRINITY DEMS:  6:30

30:  WEST PASCO DEMS:  11

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THE PASCO DEC TEAM:

Chair: Michael Ledbetter Vice Chair:   Karen Ford 

SecretaryNola Branche   Treasurer: Cal Branche  

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