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Nonmandatory Land Reclamation Program

About Mine Reclamation Funding

Funding for the reclamation of old abandoned phosphate mine sites is managed by the Nonmandatory Land Reclamation Program. The program was created as 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 a cost reimbursement grant for landowners for reclamation to eliminate health, safety and environmental issues existing on the abandoned mine sites. The grant program was deemed necessary because the cost of reclamation was more than the value of those properties even after reclamation.

How the Program Works

The Nonmandatory Land Reclamation Program provides funds for reclamation of property mined for phosphate prior to the 1975 introduction of regulatory requirements for reclamation. The grant program reimburses landowners for approved costs of reclamation work to improve environmental and economic utility of lands by removing safety hazards and improving water quality and quantity in affected watersheds.

Eligibility

Lands disturbed by removal of phosphate rock prior to July 1, 1975, have already 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 mined
  • 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

How to Apply

All projects have already been identified and selected, and no new applications are being accepted. This funding program will end when the last of the projects is funded and released.

More Information

Program Progress

    As of June 30, 2018, 175 programs (49,256 acres) have been funded and released, two programs (609 acres) have been acquired by the state, and 13 programs (5,091 acres) are currently funded and being reclaimed. During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the last two remaining programs were placed under contract.

    Status of Acres Reclaimed

    Please note that subsequent to receipt of program applications on January 1, 2015, three were funded then canceled, 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 in Rule 62C-17, Florida Administrative Code. Also note, 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.

    Program Funding

    With the exception of fiscal year 2007-2008, all funding for the Nonmandatory Land Reclamation 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 2007-2008, the Legislature appropriated $4 million of General Revenue funds for the programs.

    Comparison of Severance Tax, Interest, Phosphogypsum Fees and Surcharge Chart

    Reclamation Reports

    The reports listed below are available upon request. Please contact program staff for copies.

    • Evaluation of Pre-July 1, 1975 Disturbed Phosphate Lands: Executive Summary (September 1980) – A description of the study area, methodology of evaluation, evaluation results, conclusions and recommendations.
    • Inventory of Pre-July 1, 1975 Disturbed Phosphate Lands – A list of each parcel of land disturbed by the mining of phosphate before July 1, 1975, and the eligibility status of each parcel, as determined by the evaluation. 
    • Update of Status of Eligible Reclamation Parcels (Summary) – A report showing the status of eligible acres of Nonmandatory lands. 

    Mapping Resources

    Contact Us

    • Please see the Nonmandatory Land Reclamation Program Contacts webpage for program contact information.
    • For information regarding general mining and mitigation requirements, including formal delineation requests, go to the Mining and Mitigation Program website.
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