379.2291 . Endangered and Threatened Species Act
379.2292 . Endangered and Threatened Species Reward Program
379.2293 . Airport activities within the scope of a federally approved wildlife hazard management plan or a federal or state permit or other authorization for depredation or harassment
379.23 . Federal conservation of fish and wildlife; limited jurisdiction
379.231 . Regulation of nonnative animals
379.2311. Nonnative animal management
379.2291. Endangered and Threatened Species Act
(1) Short title.--This section may be cited as the “Florida Endangered and Threatened Species Act.”
(2) Declaration of policy.--The Legislature recognizes that the State of Florida harbors a wide diversity of fish and wildlife and that it is the policy of this state to conserve and wisely manage these resources, with particular attention to those species defined by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Department of Environmental Protection, or the United States Department of Interior, or successor agencies, as being endangered or threatened. As Florida has more endangered and threatened species than any other continental state, it is the intent of the Legislature to provide for research and management to conserve and protect these species as a natural resource.
(3) Definitions.--As used in this section:
(a) “Fish and wildlife” means any member of the animal kingdom, including, but not limited to, any mammal, fish, bird, amphibian, reptile, mollusk, crustacean, arthropod, or other invertebrate.
(b) “Endangered species” means any species of fish and wildlife naturally occurring in Florida, whose prospects of survival are in jeopardy due to modification or loss of habitat; overutilization for commercial, sporting, scientific, or educational purposes; disease; predation; inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms; or other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.
(c) “Threatened species” means any species of fish and wildlife naturally occurring in Florida which may not be in immediate danger of extinction, but which exists in such small populations as to become endangered if it is subjected to increased stress as a result of further modification of its environment.
(4) Interagency coordination.--
(a) The commission shall be responsible for research and management of freshwater and upland species and for research and management of marine species.
(b) Recognizing that citizen awareness is a key element in the success of this plan, the commission and the Department of Education are encouraged to work together to develop a public education program with emphasis on, but not limited to, both public and private schools.
(c) The commission, in consultation with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Department of Economic Opportunity, or the Department of Transportation, may establish reduced speed zones along roads, streets, and highways to protect endangered species or threatened species.
(5) Annual report.--The director of the commission shall, at least 30 days prior to each annual session of the Legislature, transmit to the Governor and Cabinet, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the chairs of the appropriate Senate and House committees, a revised and updated plan for management and conservation of endangered and threatened species, including criteria for research and management priorities; a description of the educational program; statewide policies pertaining to protection of endangered and threatened species; additional legislation which may be required; and the recommended level of funding for the following year, along with a progress report and budget request.
(6) Measurable biological goals.--Measurable biological goals that define manatee recovery developed by the commission, working in conjunction with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, shall be used by the commission in its development of management plans or work plans. In addition to other criteria, these measurable biological goals shall be used by the commission when evaluating existing and proposed protection rules, and in determining progress in achieving manatee recovery. The commission shall develop rules to define how measurable biological goals will be used by the commission when evaluating the need for additional manatee protection rules.
Laws 1977, c. 77-375, §§ 1 to 6; Laws 1978, c. 78-323, § 4; Laws 1979, c. 79-164, § 82; Laws 1983, c. 83-85, § 26; Laws 1983, c. 83-218, § 28; Laws 1990, c. 90-170, § 1; Laws 1994, c. 94-356, § 243; Laws 1995, c. 95-148, § 1001. Amended by Laws 1999, c. 99-245, § 47, eff. July 1, 1999; Laws 2000, c. 2000-331, § 18, eff. June 20, 2000; Laws 2002, c. 2002-264, § 17, eff. July 1, 2002; Laws 2004, c. 2004-343, § 3, eff. July 1, 2004. Renumbered from 372.072 by Laws 2008, c. 2008-247, § 48, eff. July 1, 2008. Amended by Laws 2011, c. 2011-142, § 256, eff. July 1, 2011; Laws 2020, c. 2020-2, § 80, eff. May 18, 2020.
379.2292. Endangered and Threatened Species Reward Program
(1) There is established within the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission the Endangered and Threatened Species Reward Program, to be funded from the Nongame Wildlife Trust Fund. The commission may post rewards to persons responsible for providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of persons illegally killing or wounding or wrongfully possessing any of the endangered and threatened species listed on the official Florida list of such species maintained by the commission or the arrest and conviction of persons who violate s. 379.4115. Additional funds may be provided by donations from interested individuals and organizations. The reward program is to be administered by the commission. The commission shall establish a schedule of rewards.
(2) The commission may expend funds only for the following purposes:
(a) The payment of rewards to persons, other than law enforcement officers, commission personnel, and members of their immediate families, for information as specified in subsection (1); or
(b) The promotion of public recognition and awareness of the Endangered and Threatened Species Reward Program.
Laws 1979, c. 79-217, § 2; Laws 1983, c. 83-218, § 29; Laws 1994, c. 94-265, § 18. Amended by Laws 1999, c. 99-245, § 49, eff. July 1, 1999. Renumbered from 372.073 and amended by Laws 2008, c. 2008-247, § 49, eff. July 1, 2008.
379.2293. Airport activities within the scope of a federally approved wildlife hazard management plan or a federal or state permit or other authorization for depredation or harassment
(1) The Legislature finds and declares that the ability of airports to manage wildlife hazards in a manner consistent with state and federal law is necessary to prevent jeopardy to human life or aircraft safety. It is the intent of the Legislature that actions taken by airports within the scope of authorizations to manage wildlife for such purposes not be subject to penalties, restrictions, liabilities, or sanctions and that such authorizations not be superseded by actions of other state or local agencies.
(2) An airport authority or other entity owning or operating an airport, as defined in s. 330.27(2), is not subject to any administrative or civil penalty, restriction, or other sanction with respect to any authorized action taken in a non-negligent manner for the purpose of protecting human life or aircraft safety from wildlife hazards.
(3)(a) For purposes of this section, an “authorized action taken for the purpose of protecting human life or aircraft safety from wildlife hazards” is an action authorized by or within the scope of any of the following:
1. The airport's wildlife hazard management plan, as approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.
2. A depredation permit issued by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
3. A standing order of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
4. Rule 68A-9.010(4) or rule 68A-27.002, Florida Administrative Code, or a permit authorizing the harassment of wildlife issued by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
(b) The term “authorized action taken for the purpose of protecting human life or aircraft safety from wildlife hazards” does not include:
1. Dredging or filling of wetlands or other surface waters or alteration of a stormwater management system, unless authorized by and performed in compliance with a permit issued under part IV of chapter 373 or an emergency order under chapter 373. However, such a permit or emergency order is not required prior to the activity when the airport authority or other entity described in subsection (2) determines that an emergency condition exists which requires immediate action to protect human life and the airport authority or other entity described in subsection (2) obtains the appropriate permit under part IV of chapter 373 within 1 year after conducting the emergency action.
2. Trespass on lands or unauthorized interference with an easement not owned or leased by the airport authority or other entity referred to in subsection (2).
(4) If an authorized action taken for the purpose of protecting human life or aircraft safety from wildlife hazards as defined in subsection (3) conflicts or appears to conflict with a development permit, land development regulation, local comprehensive plan, or other environmental or land-use law, rule, restriction, or requirement, the authorization described in subsection (3) shall prevail.
(5) In addition to applying to the airport authority or other owner or operator of the airport, the immunities conferred by this section also apply to any officer, employee, contractor, or employee of a contractor of the airport authority or other owner or operator of the airport, or any member of the airport's governing body, to the extent that the actions of the officer, employee, contractor, contractor's employee, or member are authorized by or within the scope of one or more of the legal authorities described in subsection (3).
(6) Nothing in this section is intended to provide immunity from liability with respect to intentional or negligent torts, and nothing in this section is intended to affect the waiver of sovereign immunity under s. 768.28.
Added by Laws 2009, c. 2009-167, § 2, eff. June 11, 2009.
379.23. Federal conservation of fish and wildlife; limited jurisdiction
(1) Consent of the State of Florida is hereby given, to the United States for acquisition of lands, waters, or lands and waters or interests therein, for the purpose of managing, protecting and propagating fish and wildlife and for other conservation uses in the state, providing prior notice has been given by the Federal Government to the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, the board of county commissioners of the county where the lands proposed for purchase are located, of such proposed action stating the specific use to be made of and the specific location and description of such lands desired by the Federal Government for any such conservation use, and that such plans for acquisition and use of said lands be approved by the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, the board of county commissioners of the county where the lands proposed for purchase are located; provided further that nothing herein contained shall be construed to give the consent of the State of Florida to the acquisition by the United States of lands, waters, or lands and waters, or interests therein, through exercise of the power of eminent domain; provided further that the provisions of this act shall not apply to lands owned by the several counties or by public corporations.
(2) The United States may exercise concurrent jurisdiction over lands so acquired and carry out the intent and purpose of the authority except that the existing laws of Florida relating to the Department of Environmental Protection or the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shall prevail relating to any area under their supervision.
Laws 1961, c. 61-119, § 2; Laws 1961, c. 61-242, §§ 1, 2; Laws 1969, c. 69-106, §§ 25, 27, 35; Laws 1994, c. 94-356, § 248. Amended by Laws 1999, c. 99-245, § 163, eff. July 1, 1999. Renumbered from 372.771 by Laws 2008, c. 2008-247, § 50, eff. July 1, 2008.
379.231. Regulation of nonnative animals
(1) It is unlawful to import for sale or use, or to release within this state, any species of the animal kingdom not native to Florida unless authorized by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
(2) A person in violation of this section commits a Level Three violation under s. 379.4015.
Laws 1970, c. 70-145, § 1; Laws 1971, c. 71-136, § 308; Laws 1971, c. 71-294, § 2; Laws 1980, c. 80-129, § 2. Amended by Laws 1999, c. 99-245, § 131, eff. July 1, 1999; Laws 2006, c. 2006-304, § 23, eff. July 1, 2006. Renumbered from 372.265 and amended by Laws 2008, c. 2008-247, § 51, eff. July 1, 2008. Amended by Laws 2010, c. 2010-185, § 1, eff. July 1, 2010.
379.2311. Nonnative animal management
(1) As used in this section, the term “priority invasive species” means the following:
(a) Lizards of the genus Tupinambis, also known as tegu lizards;
(b) Species identified in s. 379.372(2)(a);
(c) Pterois volitans, also known as red lionfish; and
(d) Pterois miles, also known as the common lionfish or devil firefish.
(2) The Legislature finds that priority invasive species continue to expand their range and to decimate the fauna and flora of the Everglades and other natural areas and ecosystems in the southern and central parts of the state at an accelerating rate. Therefore, the commission shall establish a pilot program to mitigate the impact of priority invasive species on the public lands or waters of this state.
(a) The goal of the pilot program is to examine the benefits of using strategically deployed, trained private contractors to slow the advance of priority invasive species, contain their populations, and eradicate them from this state.
(b) In implementing the pilot program, the commission may enter into contracts in accordance with chapter 287 with entities or individuals to capture or destroy animals belonging to priority invasive species found on public lands or in the waters of this state. Any private contracted work to be performed on public land or in the waters of the state not owned or managed by the commission must have the consent of the owner.
(c) The commission shall ensure that all captures and disposals of animals that belong to these priority invasive species are documented and photographed and that the geographic location of the take is recorded for research purposes. The commission shall direct the disposal of all animals captured and not destroyed in removal efforts.
Added by Laws 2018, c. 2018-82, § 1, eff. July 1, 2018. Amended by Laws 2020, c. 2020-123, § 4, eff. July 1, 2020; Laws 2022, c. 2022-4, § 35, eff. May 13, 2022.