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Nonmandatory Land Reclamation
 

Program Description 

The Nonmandatory Land Reclamation program was created by the 1982 legislature (Chapter 378.021, Florida Statutes), which stated. “It is the intent of the Legislature to provide an economic incentive to encourage the reclamation of the maximum number of acres of eligible nonmandatory lands in the most timely and efficient manner or the donation or purchase of nonmandatory lands.”

The creation of the program was a result of public concerns over the thousands of acres that had been mined for the severance of phosphate and ultimately abandoned. Identified parcels dated as far back as 1888.  The program was created to provide economic incentive (a cost reimbursement grant) for landowners for reclamation to eliminate health, safety and environmental issues existing on the abandoned mine sites.  The economic incentive was deemed necessary because the cost of reclamation was more than the value of those properties even after reclamation.

Eligibility Determination and Current Status

The lands disturbed by severance of phosphate rock prior to July 1, 1975, have been identified (149,130 acres) and reported in “Phosphate Land Reclamation Study Commission Report on Phosphate Mining and Reclamation, 1978”  The identified lands were divided into 748 parcels and each parcel was classified into one of five land forms:

  • mined out
  • clay settling area,
  • sand tailings,
  • hydraulically mine, or
  • other. 

A total of 222 parcels were omitted from the comprehensive evaluation, according to the following reasons:

  • land was previously reclaimed;
  • land was to be utilized by the industry in future
  • land was currently in some form of economic use
  • owner declined participation.

A total of 496 parcels received on-site evaluations based on the three criteria originally contained in Chapter 378, FS, 1980. Of these 496 parcels, 347 parcels (86,858 acres) were determined to be eligible to participate in the nonmandatory reclamation program. The identification and evaluation of the parcels were reported in “Evaluation of Pre-July 1, 1975 Disturbed Phosphate Lands, September 1980, Zellars-Williams, Inc. and Conservation Consultants, Inc.

The 2003 legislature established a deadline of January 1, 2005 for accepting applications for funding of Nonmandatory Land Reclamation Programs.  At that time a total of 18 program applications had been received for the reclamation of 10,055 acres. These parcels have been funded in priority order as appropriations have been provided for the program by the Legislature.

As of June 30, 2016, 197 programs1 (49,025 acres) have been funded and released, 2 programs (609 acres) have been acquired by the state, and 15 programs (5,171 acres) are currently funded and being reclaimed.  Only 2 of the program applications (761 acres) remain unfunded and those two programs will be placed under contract during the 2016-17 fiscal year2 (See Status of Acres Chart below).

Status of Acres

* Acres are as of June 30, 2006. Since that time numerous acres have been re-mined or converted to industrial use. Therefore, those acres are No Longer Eligible. The number of acres No Longer Eligible will be updated (increased) by December 31, 2016, and the estimated Remaining Eligible acres will decrease by the same amount.

Program Funding

With the exception of 2007-08, all funding for the NMLR Programs has been appropriated from the Nonmandatory Land Reclamation Trust Fund. Income into that fund consists of portions of interest earned, a severance tax paid by the phosphate industry (1983 - present) a surcharge paid by the phosphate industry (2009 - 2011) and a phosphogypsum stack fee paid by chemical plants processing phosphates (2001 - 2007). In 2007-08, the legislature appropriated $4M of General Revenue funds for NMLR programs. (See Comparison of Severance Tax, Interest, Gypstack Fees and Surcharge Chart below.

Nonmandatory Land Reclamation Trust Fund - Comparison of Severance Tax, Interest, Gypsum Stack Fees and Surcharge Through Fiscal Year 20014/15

*Severance Tax was not transferred to the fund during Fiscal Years 87-88 and 88-89. **All interest ($8.4 million) was transferred to the General Revenue Fund. ***Transferred out $11.7 million Severance Tax to General Revenue.

When a reclamation site is funded/contracted, it is referred to as a “program”.  A program may be an entire parcel, a portion of a parcel, or a combination of parcels.  In addition, parcel acres are based on estimated acres while program acres are based on surveyed acres.

Subsequent to receipt of program applications on January 1, 2015, three were funded then cancelled, one was withdrawn by the applicant and numerous acres in several of the program areas were re-mined, thus becoming mandatory programs subject to the requirements Rule 62C-17, Florida Administrative Code.

Reclamation Reports

For Additional Information 

Contact Barbara Owens at (850) 245-8419 or Danny NeSmith at (850) 245-8468.

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[1] When a reclamation site is funded/contracted, it is referred to as a “program”.  A program may be an entire parcel, a portion of a parcel, or a combination of parcels.  In addition, parcel acres are based on estimated acres while program acres are based on surveyed acres.

[2] Subsequent to receipt of program applications on January 1, 2015, three were funded then cancelled, one was withdrawn by the applicant and numerous acres in several of the program areas were re-mined, thus becoming mandatory programs subject to the requirements Rule 62C-17, Florida Administrative Code.


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Bob Martinez Center, 2600 Blair Stone Road, MS 3577, Tallahassee, FL 32399-2400 Phone (850) 245-7554

 

Last updated: June 23, 2016

  2600 Blair Stone Road M.S. 3500   Tallahassee, Florida 32399   850-245-8336 (phone) / 850-245-8356 (fax) 
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