(1) The commission is authorized to establish the Florida Ships-2-Reefs Program, a matching grant program, for the securing and placement of United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) and United States Navy decommissioned vessels in state or federal waters seaward of the state to serve as artificial reefs and, pursuant thereto, to make expenditures and enter into contracts with local governments and nonprofit corporations for the purpose of securing and placing MARAD and United States Navy decommissioned vessels as artificial reefs in state or federal waters seaward of the state pursuant to s. 379.249(8) and performing the environmental preparation and cleaning requisite to the placement of a vessel as an artificial reef, which preparation and cleaning must meet the standards established in the 2006 publication, “National Guidance: Best Management Practices for Preparing Vessels Intended to Create Artificial Reefs,” published jointly by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Maritime Administration. The commission shall have final approval of grants awarded through the program.
(2) Each grant awarded under the program shall be matched by nonstate funds. The limit for a state matching grant shall be 33 percent of the total cost for securing and placing the decommissioned vessel and performing the requisite environmental preparation and cleaning which meets the standards cited in subsection (1) prior to placement of the vessel.
(3) The commission may:
(a) Receive submissions of requests for matching funds and documentation relating to those requests;
(b) Approve requests for matching funds; and
(c) Allocate matching funds to local governments or nonprofit corporations.
(4) To demonstrate that a local government or nonprofit corporation meets the required criteria, the local government or nonprofit corporation must submit formal agreements, written pledges, memoranda of understanding, financing arrangements, or other documents demonstrating that nonstate matching funds are available for securing and placing the vessel prior to submission of an application. Matching grant funds shall be released only upon documentation that meets all the criteria established in rules adopted by the commission pursuant to subsection (5).
(5) The commission is authorized to adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to address procedures necessary to administer the matching grants provided in this section.
(6) No later than January 1, 2009, and each January 1 thereafter, the commission shall submit a report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives detailing the expenditure of the funds appropriated to it for the purposes of carrying out the provisions of this section.