Title: Basis of Review for Surface Water Management Permit Application Within the Southwest Florida Water Mangement District Appendix 4: Criteria for Review of Isolated Wetlands
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Title: Basis of Review for Surface Water Management Permit Application Within the Southwest Florida Water Mangement District Appendix 4: Criteria for Review of Isolated Wetlands
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Language: English
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Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
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Abstract: Basis of Review for Surface Water Management Permit Application Within the Southwest Florida Water Mangement District Appendix 4: Criteria for Review of Isolated Wetlands
General Note: Box 7, Folder 1 ( Vail Conference 1987 - 1987 ), Item 37
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: WL00000644
Volume ID: VID00001
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BASIS OF REVIEW FOR SURFACE WATER MANAGEMENT PERMIT

APPLICATIONS WITHIN

THE SOUTHWEST FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
APPENDIX 4

CRITERIA FOR REVIEW OF ISOLATED WETLANDS IMPACTS

1.0 INTRODUCTION The intent of the District is to implement

the legislative policy of Section 373.016(2), Florida Statutes,

which addresses the management of water and related land

resources, including isolated wetlands and their associated fish

and wildlife functions and values.

Chapter 86-186, Laws of Florida, creating Section 373.414,
Florida Statutes, requires that certain Water Management

Districts establish permitting criteria governing isolated

wetlands including a threshold size for isolated wetlands below

which impacts to fish and wildlife habitat will not be

considered. This Appendix addresses that statute. The issues of

water quantity and quality in relation to isolated wetlands are

addressed in other parts of Chapter 40D-4, F.A.C.

Individual and cumulative losses of small isolated wetlands

may cause significant adverse impacts to fish and wildlife on a

local or regional level. Protection of existing isolated

wetlands by incorporation into surface water management systems

is the preferred alternative to destruction and mitigation or

other forms of compensation because of the uncertainty of current

mitigation technology to re-create the various functions and

values of isolated wetlands.

2.0 DEFINITIONS The terms defined in this section are intended

to help the applicant understand the intent of the language used

throughout this Appendix.

2.1 ISOLATED WETLAND Any wetland as defined pursuant to

Chapter 40D-4, F.A.C., which is not hydrologically connected to
Waters of the State and is not within the Department of
Environmental Regulation jurisdiction for purposes of regulation
of dredging and filling.

2.2 COMPENSATION Measures provided to offset adverse impacts to

wetlands, including one or more of the following:



S.f________










(a) Mitigation;

(b) Inclusion of upland areas, beyond any required buffer
zones, to maintain upland/wetland habitat diversity;

(c) Establishment of vegetated littoral zones in on-site
open waterbodies;
(d) Protection of exempt wetlands;
(e) Restoration of wetlands that have been previously

impacted;
(f) Compensation on off-site lands; and
(g) Other reasonable measures, such as providing unlike
wetland habitat.
2.3 MITIGATION Replacement of a wetland, type for type, to
restore those specific physical and functional characteristics
which will be lost as a result of the proposed activity.
2.4 DEVELOPMENT PROJECT The total land, in acres, under one
permit and under common ownership or control, which is served by
a common surface water management system.
2.5 BUFFER ZONE An area adjacent to an isolated wetland which

protects wetland function and minimizes adverse impacts of upland

development on wetland function.
3.0 WETLANDS EXEMPT FROM FISH AND WILDLIFE REVIEW Isolated

wetlands less than 0.5 acres in size regardless of property
boundaries are exempt from review for impacts to fish and

wildlife and their habitats. This exemption does not apply if:
(a) A wetland is used by, or can reasonably be expected to
be used by, endangered or threatened species designated
in Section 581.185, F.S.; Rules 39-27.03 and 39-27.04,
F.A.C.; or 50 CFR 17.11 and 17.12; or
(b) The total acreage of isolated wetlands exceeds 30% of

the acreage of a development project greater than 40
acres; or
(c) A wetland is located in an area of critical state
concern designated pursuant to Chapter 380, F.S.; or
(d) Two or more wetlands regardless of property boundaries
have a combined area greater than 0.5 acre and are

connected by standing or flowing surface water during



3. 5-










average wet season high water levels. This connection

can be established by water elevation indicators such

as lichens, adventitious roots, water stains, soil

profiles, aerial photographs or other acceptable

measures.

4.0 REVIEW PROCEDURES

4.1 EFFECTIVE DATE This Appendix will apply to all pending and

new applications which have not been issued letters of

completeness on the effective date of this Appendix.

4.2 CONCEPTUAL APPROVAL Applications which propose to impact

isolated wetlands may be approved in concept with a Letter of

Conceptual Approval.

4.3 APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS Detailed proposals must be

submitted as part of the application for conceptual approval or

as part of the application for a Surface Water Management

Construction and Operation Permit and shall include:

(a) A description of the type and function of the wetland

being impacted, which shall include area, vegetative

community and hydrologic regime.

(b) A list of all plant and animal species listed as

endangered or threatened which use, or can reasonably

be expected to use, the area. The applicant will also

supply an evaluation of the probable significance of

the area to the listed species. Endangered or

threatened species are identified in Section 581.185

F.S., and rules 39-27.03 and 39-27.04 F.A.C., and 50

CFR 17.11 and 17.12.

(c) A statement of:

1. alternatives considered instead of wetland impacts

and

2. reasons the wetlands cannot be incorporated into

the project surface water management system or

project design.

(d) Additional information as required to evaluate site

specific conditions or unique project designs.

4.4 APPROVAL OF OPERATION PHASE The approval of the operation










phase of a project which impacts isolated wetlands shall not

become effective pursuant to Rule 40D-4.381(2)(d), Florida
Administrative Code, (Limiting Conditions) until required

compensation is provided and has met the success criteria

established under Section 8.0.
5.0 WETLAND PERMITTING CRITERIA Protection of wetlands, i.e.,

incorporation of wetland into the surface water management
system, is preferred because of the uncertainty of current
mitigation technology to restore or create the various functions
and values of isolated wetlands. Wetland destruction and
compensation shall be considered only when the applicant has
demonstrated that:

(a) there are no reasonable development alternatives to

adverse wetland impacts for the particular site;
(b) compensation measures can be successful; and

(c) the protection of endangered and threatened species is

reasonably assured.
Subsections 5.1 and 5.2 set forth options that allow the
applicant to select either the rigid or flexible wetland design
criteria.
5.1 RIGID DESIGN CRITERIA Under this option, the applicant

must mitigate for the loss of each non-exempt isolated wetland
that is to be impacted by the development project. Only

mitigation is allowed as compensation. This option leaves to the

applicant the determination of which wetlands, with the exception
of those identified in Section 5.2.4, can be impacted. The

applicant must adhere to the following specific criteria:

(a) Mitigation of wetlands shall be at the following
ratios:
WETLAND TYPE ACRES IMPACTED MITIGATED ACREAGE REQUIRED

Forested 1 2.5
Non-forested 1 1.5


(b) For non-exempt wetlands below 5.0 acres, the applicant
(
must give reasonable assurance that the mitigation will
be successful as described in Section 8.0.


3. rb









(c) For wetlands 5.0 acres and larger, mitigation must be

successful as defined in Section 8.0 prior to any

impact to an existing wetland.

(d) The applicant must comply with Sections 6.0 and 7.0.

5.1.1 BUFFER ZONES A buffer zone 15 feet wide is required on

all existing non-exempt or mitigated wetlands. The vegetation

within the buffer zone shall be left undisturbed except for

temporary disturbances for construction of pipes, swales or other

necessary construction.

5.2 FLEXIBLE DESIGN CRITERIA The District encourages the

applicant to consider unique and innovative design ideas with the

intent of creating a post development functioning wetland/upland

system. Under this approach, the applicant would work closely

with staff on a case-by-case basis to discuss various

compensation measures that would be acceptable. All compensation

proposals, including mitigation, must meet the applicable

requirements of Sections 7.0. and 8.0. This process may increase

the pre-application time required by the applicant to design the

project, but could allow for greater economic benefits while

still meeting the District objectives of protecting fish and

wildlife habitat through a flexible and innovative design. The

applicant must demonstrate to the District that these unique and

innovative designs are consistent with the District's intent to

protect fish and wildlife including meeting the criteria in

Section 5.0.

5.2.1 REQUIRED INFORMATION The applicant is advised to consult

with the District to determine the information necessary to

assess and design compensation for a flexible development

project. The District has provided acceptable assessment

criteria in Section 6.0. The District will also consider

applicable numerical and productivity models, when appropriate.

5.2.2 ALLOWABLE COMPENSATION The District will consider, on a

case-by-case basis, the following types of compensation with the

objective of maintaining or creating a successful fish and

wildlife habitat:

(a) Acreage credit at greater than 1 for 1 for protection










of wetlands below the exemption size in exchange for

impacts to larger wetlands that can more easily absorb

the impact.
(b) Creation of wildlife corridors.

(c) Designation of additional buffer zone beyond the

required 15 foot buffer zone.
(d) Compensation on other lands. Final approval of this

type of project design rests with the District
Governing Board.
(e) Development of disturbed wetlands with their loss

compensated for by mitigation at ratios less than those
required in 5.1.(a) based on the degree of disturbance

and the remaining functional qualities. Mitigation

through restoration of other disturbed wetlands is

preferred over wetland creation.

(f) Other reasonable compensation measures.
5.2.3 BUFFER ZONES A buffer zone not to exceed 15 feet may be

required on all existing or mitigated wetlands above the size

threshold. Land cover changes within the buffer zone may be
allowed as part of the system design.
5.2.4 PROTECTION OF ENDANGERED OR THREATENED SPECIES The

applicant must provide reasonable assurance that any proposal to

impact wetlands shall protect endangered and threatened species

designated pursuant to Sections 581.185, F.S., Rules 39-27.03 and
39-27.04, F.A.C., or 50 CFR 17.11 and 17.12. Any compensation

proposals for wetlands containing any of these species will be

reviewed by the district on a case-by-case basis. The District
may require additional buffer zone area, wetland protection,
mitigation prior to wetland impacts, or other measures when

necessary for the protection of threatened and endangered
species.
6.0 WETLAND ASSESSMENT CRITERIA The applicant must provide the

information necessary to evaluate and assess the current fish and
wildlife habit of any wetland to be impacted. This assessment
will be used to determine if the applicant is proposing

reasonable assurance of compensation, and will also be used as



3.Lo








the basis of comparison for wetland compensation success

criteria. It is suggested the applicant discuss with staff the
items needed for an assessment. The following is a comprehensive
list of possible wetland assessment criteria:
(a) Number and composition of species comprising
representative components of the wetland community,
including, but not limited to, phytoplankton,
periphyton, macrophytic vegetation, invertebrates,
fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.
(b) Evidence of trends which may indicate projected habitat
functions if the subject property were to remain in its
current condition. Indicators primarily include
responses by vegetation to changes in historic water
levels.

(c) Significance to local and regional landscape patterns
including ecotone quality and extent, relative
abundance of similar habitat and biota, and location of
wildlife corridors.
(d) Population statistics on selected species comprising
the subject wetland. Parameters may include, but not
be limited to, density, age distribution or spatial
distribution (e.g. tree survey).

(e) Water quality and hydroperiod in the subject wetland.
7.0 WETLAND COMPENSATION REQUIREMENTS
7.1 The applicant must demonstrate that compensation is
reasonably assured. The applicant must provide the following for
projects where mitigation or other compensation is proposed. The
District may allow exceptions to these requirements under the
flexible design criteria.
7.1.1 Wetland monitoring and maintenance programs including
source of plants or mulch if not supplied by a commercial plant
nursery, will be required for proposals involving mitigation or
other compensation.
7.1.2 Monitoring and maintenance requirements will normally be
established based on wetland type, size, complexity and
construction schedule. Monitoring parameters, monitoring duration





5^6/ ___________










and required maintenance will be specified in the permit

conditions.
7.1.3 Unless mitigation is required prior to wetland impacts,
the permit shall delineate the mitigation or other compensation
to be completed in each phase of construction to offset the
wetlands lost by that phase.
8.0 WETLAND COMPENSATION SUCCESS CRITERIA
8.1 Mitigated wetlands or other compensation measures involving
wetland re-creation will be considered successful when the
created wetland provides an equal or greater habitat function
when compared with the original wetland assessment. Compensation
is successful when the following parameters meet or exceed those
similar parameters as identified in the initial assessment done
under 5.2.1 or 6.0.
8.1.1 The number, composition, and relative abundance of plant
species in the created wetland approximate conditions in the
initial assessment of the wetland to be mitigated for (reference
wetland), or conditions specified in the permit, if different.
Exotic plant species shall not be replaced.
8.1.2 Percent vegetative coverage in all created wetlands and
percent canopy closure in created forested wetlands approximate.
conditions in the reference wetland or conditions specified in
the permit, if different.
*4.
8.1.3 Percent survival of plant species in the created wetland
meets or exceeds the level specified in permit conditions.
8.1.4 Water quality in the created wetland meets or exceeds
conditions in the reference wetland or conditions specified in
the permit, if different.
8.1.5 Habitat value in the created wetland, as measured by the
number, composition and relative abundance of animal species,
approximates conditions in the reference wetland or conditions
specified in the permit, if different, and
8.1.6 Hydroperiod in the created wetland approximates conditions
in the reference wetland or conditions specified in the permit,
if different.





3.^









NAME OF PERSON ORIGINATING RULE: Bruce C. Wirth, Assistant

Director, Resource Regulation Department.

NAME OF SUPERVISOR OR PERSON WHO APPROVED THE PROPOSED RULE:

Richard V. McLean, Director, Resource Regulation Department.

DATE PROPOSED RULE APPROVED: December 3, 1986




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