Title: Memorandum to EESC from 5 Executive Directors of Water Management Districts commenting on EESC August 14 and 15, 1987 Meeting: Discussion of Potential
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Title: Memorandum to EESC from 5 Executive Directors of Water Management Districts commenting on EESC August 14 and 15, 1987 Meeting: Discussion of Potential
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Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Volume ID: VID00001
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Figure 1. Activity Based Permitting
"DER/WMD Recommendation
Program Agency

Point Source/Waste DER
Domestic Wastewater
Wastewater Reuse
Injection Wells (waste)
Solid Waste

Surface Water Management WMD
Mgt. & Storage of Surface Waters
Dredge and Fill (include mitigation)

Water Wells WMD

Consumptive Use WMD

Permitting of WMD Activities DER

Mining DER

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We disagree, however, that should an agency not participate in
the conceptual review, as structured by the regional planning
council in the DRI program, that the agency would no longer have
jurisdiction over the project. We agree that a developer, whose
project constitutes a DRI, should not be allowed to pursue agency
permits independent of the DRI process. Finally, we agree with
requiring agency permits to be coordinated with issuance of the


There was apparently much discussion at the Captiva meeting
regarding the establishment of an independent research unit to
support the state's environmental programs. Although we do not
oppose such an entity, we do feel strongly that the existing
research capabilities and ongoing research programs of the water
management districts must be preserved. We feel very strongly
that agencies charged with implementation programs, regulatory or
otherwise, must have the freedom to initiate research that will
enhance implementation. These existing research activities are
vital to support both the regulatory and non-regulatory programs
of the districts. The district programs are tailored to meet the
regional needs of each district, and we do not feel a single
statewide research entity would be appropriate as a replacement
to these existing programs.


After discussing the consolidation of programs within the water
management districts, the Commission also addressed several
additional issues, including the question of who would permit
water management district works. The apparent recommendation was
that any district work requiring permits now issued by the
district would be permitted by DER, with DER applying that same
district's rules to the project. The water management districts
do not see any significant problem with this recommendation. It
does, in fact, require that DER maintain a certain capability in
each permitting program, which we feel would be advisable no
matter what level of consolidation is finally recommended.


Regarding the DRI program, the EESC's draft recommendation
included establishing mandatory agency conceptual review.
Conceptual review would be mandatory to agencies, but still the
option of the developer. To encourage the process, additional
incentives will be built-in for the developer. If any agency did
not participate in the conceptual review, they no longer would
have jurisdiction over the project. The developer could not
pursue agency permits prior to the DRI pre-application conference
and conceptual agency review. Agency permitting must be
concurrent with issuance of the Development Order (D.O.).

The water management districts presently offer conceptual review
for permitting programs. Therefore, we do not feel that making
conceptual agency review mandatory upon the agency, should the
developer chose to undergo conceptual review, would be a
significant departure from current practice. The real problem
encountered, however, is that in many cases the level of detail
regarding a project at the DRI preapplication stage is so limited

.. 5

standards for those issues for which statewide standards would be
appropriate; these standards should be established as a range
(high and low) within which agencies could fluctuate to meet
regional conditions.

One of the major strengths of the WMD permitting programs is
their ability to apply the broad based public interest test
inherent in Chapter 373, F.S. (i.e., water quantity, water
quality, environmental protection). Statewide guidance in the
form of policy or standards (i.e., state water quality standards,
Chapter 17.3, F.A.C.) should support the 373 public interest test
in resolving water resource permitting problems at the regional
and local levels by recognizing clearly demonstratable geographic
and hydrologic conditions which warrant special treatment.

Another strength of the WMD permitting process is its ability to
work with the development community to provide creative solutions
of issues that arise on a daily basis.

In addition, the establishment of clear state policy on certain
issues would go a long way in providing statewide consistency. A
prime example is wetlands: if a clear state policy were developed
regarding wetlands, such as no net loss, all agencies could
conform their implementing rules to meet this policy. As it
stands right now, each agency, including the five water
management districts, are establishing this policy.


The Commission recognized the need to provide adequate funding
for the water management districts, especially in light of the
significant new responsibilities being considered for them. The
recommendations regarding funding included:

a. Equalize the constitutional millage cap of each
water management district;
b. Give the governing boards authority to create and
abolish basin boards for proper resource
management within their areas, and determine
governing board/basin board millage splits; and
c. Provide adequate funding, including state funds as
The executive directors concur that adequate funding is essential
for the water management districts to assume any major new
responsibilities. This is especially true for the Northwest and
Suwannee River districts. We are concerned, however, that part b
of your draft recommendation, as identified above, could embroil
the other aspects of the funding issue in a highly political


these non-regulatory programs actually comprise a
preponderance of the district's budgets and activities.
Many of these programs are service oriented in nature
and provide a critical balance to the regulatory
programs of the districts in our efforts to manage the
water resource. We believe that a near total
consolidation of all permitting programs within the
districts would severely jeopardize these non-
regulatory programs from both a funding and priority

e. Even if only part of this consolidation should be
incorporated into the Commission's final
recommendation, we would recommend that a phased
implementation be incorporated to allow adequate time
for the districts to assume these new programs.

As an alternative, the water management districts and DER have
developed a recommendation based upon an activity permitting
approach. This alternative recommendation addresses the key
areas where much of the testimony received by the Commission
regarding duplication and inefficiency has focused, without
impacting those programs which seem to be operating with little
or no duplication. Our recommendation is summarized in Figure 1.
As can be seen, this approach basically consolidates many of the
"clean" water permitting programs in the water management
districts, while giving DER authority over point source and waste
management programs. This provides a brief overview of our
recommendation, and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss
this option further.


Another major recommendation which was discussed by the
Commission was that the ERC assume a role of establishing
statewide standards for all permitting agencies, including the
water management districts. It is unclear to us whether a common
definition of "standards" was established by the Commission; if
not, we would highly recommend that such a definition and clear
understanding be established. It is possible that such standards
could range from the very specific, such as the present water
quality standards, to broad policy statements, such as those
found in the State Comprehensive Plan.

We recognize the desire for more consistency throughout the state
and between agencies for many of the environmental programs.
There is obviously a trade-off between the simplicity associated
with consistent statewide standards and the ability of our
regulations to provide adequate protection to our natural
resources. In our previous reports to the EESC we have made
several specific recommendations regarding statewide standard
setting. These have included the establishment of statewide


9. All well construction permitting would be a
responsibility of the water management districts, with
potential delegation to local governments. HRS would
be responsible for all permitting of "systems" -
community, non-community, 10D-4. If for public
consumption, HRS must address health issues.

10. DER's current responsibility for permitting 5,000+
gallon septic tank/sewage treatment systems is to be
transferred to the water management districts. Systems
less than 5,000 gallons would remain with HRS.

11. Endangered plants would be a responsibility of the
water management districts.

Although each water management district has a slightly different
perspective regarding these draft recommendations, we do have a
number of common concerns. These include:

a. Financial considerations on millages, including the
potential inability to adequately fund these programs
along with the numerous other functions of the
districts, and the concern of utilizing ad valorcm
taxes for what are presently statewide programs.

b. The likelihood of increased pressure for elected
governing boards, which we feel would unduly politicize
the water management function. It is important that we
maintain qualified individuals on our boards and a
regional perspective on water management.

c. We feel that many of the strengths for which the water
management districts are presently recognized would be
jeopardized due to this tremendous increase in
regulatory functions. This could include restricting
the ready access to the governing boards which many
regulated interests presently enjoy, the good working
relationship between the regulated communities and
their consultants and district staff, and the
relatively effective implementation and enforcement of
regulatory programs that we believe presently exists at
the districts.

d. The water management districts have many functions
other than regulatory ones. These include structural
and non-structural flood control, establishment of
minimum flows and levels, water supply development,
aquatic plant control, land acquisition and management,
water conservation, well plugging, technical
assistance, and the newly created surface water
improvement and management programs, to name a few. In
most, if not all, of the water management districts,


EESC Draft Recommendations
As Discussed at the August 14 and 15, 1987 EESC Meeting
Water Management District Response

The following represents comments from the five water management
district executive directors regarding the draft recommendations
discussed by the Environmental Efficiency Study Commission at its
August 14 and 15, 1987 Captiva meeting. The recommendations
which these comments address are based upon notes of the Captiva
meeting as taken by water management district staff. Minutes of
the meeting were not yet available from the EESC staff at the
time these comments were prepared.


The water management district executive directors are concerned
with the general approach which seemed to prevail at the Captiva
meeting of delegating or statutorily transferring nearly all
regulatory functions to the water management districts. Based
upon our staff reports of the meeting, we understand that the
following recommendations were considered by the Commission:

1. Move all dredge and fill permitting to the water
management districts.

2. Consolidate all stormwater and surface water management
within the water management districts.

3. Transfer permitting of landfills to the water
management districts.

4. Move point source discharge permitting to the water
management districts.

5. Water reuse, including injection wells, should be a
water management district responsibility.

6. Regarding dredge and fill activities on sovereign
lands, the water management districts would administer
rules that are adopted by the Governor and Cabinet
under the sovereign lands act. The appeals process to
the Governor and Cabinet would still exist.

7. Move all regulation of mining to the water management

8. Coastal construction would remain at DNR, however when
within state waters, DNR would be bound by water
management district assessment of environmental


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September 8, 1987


TO: Environmental Efficiency Study Commission

FROM: Henry Dean, Executive Director, SJRWMD L L ]Q
Gary Kuhl, Executive Director, SW FWV __ '
Bill McCartney, Executive Director, NFWM
Don Morgan, Executive Director, SRWMD
John Wodraska, Executive Director, SFWMD

SUBJECT: EESC August 14 and 15, 1987 Meeting
Discussion of Potential Recommendations

A number of water management district staff attended the
August 14 and 15, 1987 meeting of the EESC at Captiva. Based
upon their report of the meeting, the executive directors of the
five water management districts have been apprised of the many
potential recommendations which were discussed by the Commission
members. Many of these recommendations would have significant
impacts upon the water management districts.

We have met to discuss these recommendations and have developed
our comments regarding them. These comments are attached for
your consideration. Additional comments specific to individual
districts have been sent under separate correspondence.
Representatives of the water management districts will be
available at the upcoming september 11, 1987 EESC meeting to
discuss our comments and to offer input on any further
recommendations to be considered by the Commission.

cc: WMD Chairmen
Dale Twachtmann
John Wehle

PHONE (904) 796-7211 or 1 800-423-14/6 SUNCOM 628-4097

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