(1) For purposes of ss. 403.9321-403.9333, the following persons are considered professional mangrove trimmers:
(a) Certified arborists, certified by the International Society of Arboriculture;
(b) Professional wetland scientists, certified by the Society of Wetland Scientists;
(c) Certified environmental professionals, certified by the Academy of Board Certified Environmental Professionals;
(d) Certified ecologists certified by the Ecological Society of America;
(e) Persons licensed under part II of chapter 481. The Board of Landscape Architecture shall establish appropriate standards and continuing legal education requirements to assure the competence of licensees to conduct the activities authorized under ss. 403.9321-403.9333. Trimming by landscape architects as professional mangrove trimmers is not allowed until the establishment of standards by the board. The board shall also establish penalties for violating ss. 403.9321-403.9333. Only those landscape architects who are certified in the state may qualify as professional mangrove trimmers under ss. 403.9321-403.9333, notwithstanding any reciprocity agreements that may exist between this state and other states;
(f) Persons who have conducted mangrove trimming as part of their business or employment and who are able to demonstrate to the department or a delegated local government, as provided in subsection (2) or subsection (3), a sufficient level of competence to assure that they are able to conduct mangrove trimming in a manner that will ensure the survival of the mangroves that are trimmed; and
(g) Persons who have been qualified by a delegated local government through a mangrove-trimming qualification program as provided in subsection (7).
(2) A person who seeks to assert professional mangrove trimmer status under paragraph (1)(f) to trim mangroves under the exemptions and general permits provided in ss. 403.9326 and 403.9327, in areas where a local government has not established a professional mangrove trimmer qualification program as provided in subsection (7), must request in writing professional mangrove trimmer status from the department. The department shall grant or deny any written request for professional mangrove trimmer status within 60 days after receipt of the request. If professional mangrove trimmer status has been granted by the department, no additional requests for professional mangrove trimmer status need be made to the department to trim mangroves under the exemptions provided in s. 403.9326. Persons applying for professional mangrove trimmer status must provide to the department a notarized sworn statement attesting:
(a) That the applicant has successfully completed a minimum of 10 mangrove-trimming projects authorized by the department or a local government program. Each project must be separately identified by project name and permit number;
(b) That a mangrove-trimming or alteration project of the applicant is not in violation of ss. 403.9321-403.9333 or any lawful rules adopted thereunder; and
(c) That the applicant possesses the knowledge and ability to correctly identify mangrove species occurring in this state.
(3) A person asserting professional mangrove trimmer status who wishes to use a general permit authorized under s. 403.9327 must complete and sign a notice of intent to use the general permit, along with the individual who owns or controls the property, and provide a copy of the department’s qualification of professional mangrove trimmer status as provided for in subsection (2). A professional mangrove trimmer signing a notice of intent to use the general permit must conduct or supervise the trimming at the site specified in the notice. (4) The department may deny a request for professional mangrove trimmer status if the department finds that the information provided by the applicant is incorrect or incomplete, or if the applicant has demonstrated a past history of noncompliance with the provisions of ss. 403.9321-403.9333 or any adopted mangrove rules. (5) A professional mangrove trimmer status granted by the department may be revoked by the department for any person who is responsible for any violations of ss. 403.9321-403.9333 or any adopted mangrove rules.
(6) The department’s decision to grant, deny, or revoke a professional mangrove trimmer status is subject to review under chapter 120.
(7)(a) A local government that receives delegation of the department’s mangrove regulatory authority may establish criteria for qualification of persons as professional mangrove trimmers working within the jurisdiction of the local government. A delegated local government that establishes a program shall provide procedures and minimum qualifications and may develop training programs for those persons wishing to become qualified as professional mangrove trimmers. A delegated local government may establish criteria for disciplining persons qualified as professional mangrove trimmers working within its jurisdiction.
(b) A delegated local government may require that any person qualifying as a professional mangrove trimmer within the jurisdiction of the local government:
1. Be registered with the local government.
2. Pay an annual registration fee that may not exceed $500.
3. Provide prior written notice to the delegated local government before conducting the trimming activities authorized under the exemptions provided by s. 403.9326.
4. Be onsite when mangrove-trimming activities are performed.
(c) The department may require a person who qualifies as a professional mangrove trimmer and works in an area where a local government has not received delegation to provide written notice to the department 10 days before conducting trimming activities under the exemptions and general permits provided in ss. 403.9326 and 403.9327 and to be onsite when mangrove-trimming activities are performed.
(d) Any person who qualifies as a professional mangrove trimmer under this subsection may conduct trimming activities within the jurisdiction of a delegated local government if the person registers and pays any appropriate fee required by a delegated local government. A delegated local government that wishes to discipline persons licensed under part II of chapter 481 for mangrove-trimming or alteration activities may file a complaint against the licensee as provided for by chapter 481 and may take appropriate local disciplinary action. Any local disciplinary action imposed against a licensee is subject to administrative and judicial review.
(e) A locally registered mangrove trimmer may use the exemptions and general permits in ss. 403.9326 and 403.9327 only within the jurisdiction of delegated local governments in which the mangrove trimmer is registered. Nothing in ss. 403.9321-403.9333 shall prevent any person who qualifies as a professional mangrove trimmer under subsection (1) from using the exemptions and general permits in ss. 403.9326 and 403.9327 outside the jurisdiction of delegated local governments. (f) Any local governmental regulation imposed on professional mangrove trimmers that has the effect of limiting directly or indirectly the availability of the exemptions provided by s. 403.9326 is invalid.