The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, along with the Endangered Plant Advisory Council, recently added saw palmetto to the Department’s commercially exploited plant list. The new requirements took effect July 17, 2018.
OFFICE OF AGRICULTURAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
LEGAL BULLETIN 2018-02
After receiving input from public and private landowners, conservation interests, and other interested parties, the Endangered Plant Advisory Council unanimously recommended adding saw palmetto to the Department’s commercially exploited plant list. The recommendation was adopted by Department rule which results in new requirements for the harvesting of saw palmetto berries. These new requirements, outlined below. take effect July 17. 2018.
What are the new requirements for a landowner harvesting palmetto berries for sale from their property?
- If the landowner is harvesting saw palmetto berries for sale, a Native Plant Harvesting Permit (no fee required) must be obtained from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry. The permit application must be submitted fourteen (14) days prior to the intended date of harvest.
What are the new requirements for a contract harvester of palmetto berries on public or private land?
- The contract harvester must possess written permission from the landowner or the legal representative prior to
- The contract harvester must also possess a Native Plant Harvesting Permit from the Department prior to harvest. The permit application must be submitted fourteen (14) days prior to the intended date of harvest.
What are the new requirements for any person transporting for sale. selling. or offering for sale saw palmetto berries?
- A person transporting for sale, selling, or offering for sale saw palmetto berries, which is harvested from the person’s own property, must possess a Native Plant Harvesting Permit from the Department. The permit application must be submitted fourteen (14) days prior to the intended date of harvest.
What enforcement action can be taken if these requirements are not followed?
- If found by law enforcement officials to not meet the requirements above, the harvester or person transporting for sale, selling, or offering for sale saw palmetto berries may be charged with a misdemeanor (F.S. § 581.185). Law enforcement may take appropriate action for a misdemeanor occurring in their presence under F.S. 901.15.
- The illegally harvested berries will be confiscated and returned to the owner. If the owner cannot be located, the berries will be destroyed.
581.185 Preservation of native flora of Florida
- LEGISLATIVE DECLARATION.-The Legislature finds and declares that it shall be the public policy of this state to: provide recognition of those plant species native to the state that are endangered, threatened, or commercially exploited; protect the native flora from unlawful harvesting on both public and privately owned lands; provide an orderly and controlled procedure for restricted harvesting of native flora from the wild, thus preventing wanton exploitation or destruction of native plant populations; encourage the propagation of native species of flora; and provide the people of this state with the information necessary to legally harvest native plants so as to ultimately transplant those plants with the greatest possible chance of survival.
- “Commercially exploited plants” means species native to the state which are subject to being removed in significant numbers from native habitats in the state and sold or transported for sale.
- “Endangered plants” means species of plants native to the state that are in imminent danger of extinction within the state, the survival of which is unlikely if the causes of a decline in the number of plants continue, and includes all species determined to be endangered or threatened pursuant to the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, Pub. No. 93-205 (87 Stat. 884).
- “Harvest” means to dig up, remove, or cut and remove from the place where grown.
- “Landowner” includes the public agency administering any public lands.
- “Plant” means any member of the plant kingdom, including reproductive and vegetative parts thereof.
- “Regulated Plant Index” means the total number of species native to the state that are listed in rules of the department as commercially exploited plants, endangered plants, and threatened plants.
- “Species” means a category used in classification of plants by the binomial system of nomenclature which differentiates between plants of a given genus. This includes any subordinate subspecies or variety.
- “Threatened plants” means species native to the state that are in rapid decline in the number of plants within the state, but which have not so decreased in such number as to cause them to be endangered.
- PROHIBITIONS; –
- With regard to any plant listed as a commercially exploited plant on the Regulated Plant Index, as provided in rules of the department, it is unlawful for any person to willfully destroy or harvest one or two such plants growing on the private land of another or on any public land without first obtaining the written permission of the landowner or legal representative of the landowner or to destroy or harvest three or more of such plants without first obtaining permission from the landowner or the legal representative of the landowner AND a permit from the department.
- Any person transporting for the purpose of sale, selling, or offering for sale any plant listed on the Regulated Plant Index, except for those plants listed as threatened, which is harvested from the person’s own property must have a permit from the department in his or her immediate possession when engaged in any of the described activities.
- With regard to any plant listed on the Regulated Plant Index, as provided in rules of the department, it is unlawful for any person to falsify any paper or document that permits any person to destroy or harvest such plants, or to fail to comply with all conditions or stipulations of any permit issued, or to transport, carry, or convey on any public road or highway or sell or offer for sale in any place any such plant collected in violation of this section.
- Any person willfully destroying or harvesting; transporting, carrying, or conveying on any public road or highway; or selling or offering for sale any plant listed in the Regulated Plant Index must have a permit, if applicable, and the written permission required by this section in his or her immediate possession at all times when engaged in any of such activities.
- -No provision of this section shall apply to:
- The clearing or other disturbance of land for agricultural or silvicultural purposes, fire control measures, or required mining assessment work.
- The clearing or removal of regulated plants from a canal, ditch, survey line, building site, or road or other right-of-way by the landowner or his or her agent.
- The clearing of land by a public agency or a publicly or privately owned public utility when acting in the performance of its obligation to provide service to the public.
581.211 Penalties for violations
- Any person who:
- Violates any provision of this chapter or the rules adopted under this chapter;
- Forges, counterfeits, removes, destroys, disguises, or wrongfully or improperly uses any tag, certificate, permit, compliance agreement, or other written agreement provided for in this chapter;
- Interferes with or obstructs any director or authorized representative of the department in the performance of her or his duties;
- Willfully refuses to identify the origin and source of any plant, plant product, or other thing likely to carry plant pests, noxious weeds, or arthropods; or
- Has in her or his possession unauthorized imported plants or plant products,
commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.