(1) It is the intent of the Legislature to conserve, protect, and maintain the natural resources, recreational values, and water management capabilities of Lake Rousseau and the Withlacoochee River. It is the finding of the Legislature that said lands and waters are areas containing and having a significant impact on environmental and recreational resources of statewide importance and that public ownership of and access to such areas are necessary and desirable to protect the health, welfare, safety, and quality of life of the residents of this state and to implement s. 7, Art. II of the State Constitution. It is further the finding of the Legislature that retention of ownership and control of said lands by the state will properly protect and conserve the natural resources of Florida, enhance recreational opportunities, and be in the public interest.
(2) The department is authorized and directed to retain ownership of and maintain all lands or interests in land owned by the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund including all fee and less-than-fee interests in lands previously owned by the canal authority in Lake Rousseau and the Cross Florida Barge Canal right-of-way from Lake Rousseau at U.S. Highway 41 west to and including the Withlacoochee River.
(3) The Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund may acquire by purchase, exchange of other state lands, or the exercise of the power of eminent domain the fee title to any less-than-fee title interest in land owned by the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, including interests previously owned by the canal authority, as described in subsection (2). The Legislature finds that such exercise of the power of eminent domain to accomplish the purposes of this section is necessary and for a public purpose. Such power of eminent domain shall be exercised pursuant to the provisions of chapter 73.