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Florida Lake Management Society Annual Conference, Naples, Florida, June 4 – 7, 2007

REGULATORY CONSIDERATIONS FOR WETLANDS IN THE SOUTHWEST FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT

Jennifer Brunty, Ph.D. Southwest Florida Water Management District Sarasota, FL

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) has Statutory responsibilities to provide for management of water and related environmental resources; to promote the conservation, development and proper utilization of surface and groundwater; to provide water storage for beneficial purposes; to prevent damage from floods, soil erosion and excessive drainage; to manage stormwater and protect water quality; to protect wetlands, fish and

wildlife,

and

other

natural

resources;

and

to

promote

recreational

development.

The

District

governs

the

regulation

of

water

resources

and

wetlands,

unless

exempt

by

law,

where

land

use

consists of operations.

agriculture, commercial / The District manages

residential / industrial developments, and certain mining these waters through regulatory programs including

Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) and Water Use Permit (WUP) compliance and enforcement activities. This presentation is an overview of regulatory activities for wetlands and surface water regulations in the District.

applications, and some of the basic

Environmental Resource Permitting

Evaluation of ERP applications and associated compliance with regard to wetlands and surface waters first involves consideration of direct or secondary wetland and surface water impacts. Consideration is given to whether reasonable assurance has been provided that the proposed activity will not result in adverse secondary impacts to the quantity of water that reaches receiving waters (either too much or too little), the ability of surface waters to store or convey water, the value of functions provided to wildlife, the quality of receiving waters with respect to water quality standards, and the maintenance of Minimum Flows and Levels (MFLs). One of the primary issues considered here is whether a watershed of a lake (or wetland) has been altered, or rerouted, to accommodate the stormwater management system engineered for water quality treatment, at times without regard to the hydrologic needs of surface waters. Maintenance of hydroperiods required to maintain the habitat value of a wetland or other surface water is also considered with regard to seasonal water requirements of these waterbodies.

Evaluation of primary impacts to wetlands and other surface waters in the ERP process first considers whether all reasonable efforts have been made to reduce and eliminate impacts to

the waters to begin with.

This applies primarily to wetlands and

significant habitat or water quality functions, rather with minimal habitat or water quality functions.

than

to

upland

cut

to surface ditches, or

waters with other waters

Once reduction and elimination has been addressed, remaining impacts are addressed through mitigation, and the amount of mitigation required is determined through the Uniform Mitigation and Assessment Method (UMAM). In addition, mitigation must be "type for type" – impacts to marshes cannot be mitigated though enhancement of a forested system, for example.

Session 7B – Page 2

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