POSITION STATEMENT ON WETLAND RESOURCE PERMITTING
BY THE FLORIDA ENGINEERING SOCIETY'S
CONSERVATION & ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY COMMITTEE
The Florida Engineering Society through it Conservation and Environmental Quality
committee recognizes a need to continue a comprehensive and efficient wetland
resource permitting regulatory program. Statewide problems presently exist in the
regulatory program in areas of: confusing and overlapping jurisdiction; duplication
of permitting between federal, state, and local programs; and unclear policies
regarding mitigation. In order to eliminate the problems, the FES recommends the
1. Establish, by statute, usage of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers definition of
wetlands for uniform application on a statewide basis. There is no longer a
need to differentiate between "isolated" wetlands and wetlands that are
"connected to waters of the State."
2. Eliminate unnecessary duplication of wetland permitting. Significant
duplicative review efforts can be eliminated by total delegation of specific
permitting responsibilities to the water management district which should
not include a FDER review of each permit. This is consistent with the findings
and recommendations of the 1988 Environmental Efficiency Study Commission
and the 1991 Governor's Environmental Task Force. The delegation to water
management districts can be limited to fresh water wetland permitting and
incorporated into their wetland permitting program under Part IV of Chapter
373, F.S., FDER can retain supervisory responsibilities in the form of
programmatic oversight as outlined in Chapter 373, F.S.
3. Permitting of marine/salt water wetlands should initially remain with FDER
with a transfer to water management district's over a five year period. The
ultimate goal would be for one state wetland resource permit issued by one,
4. Florida should pursue assuming responsibilities for the federal Section 404
wetlands permitting program.
5. Establish by statute uniform methods for determining: delineation of wetland
boundaries; and the functional values of wetlands. The water management
districts should implement the methods, by rule, incorporation specific
regional criteria. FDER should implement the methods, by rule, applicable to
salt water wetland permitting for the five year transition period.
6. Limit, by statute, the wetland review by other government agencies including
DCA, DNR, regional planning councils, and local governments so that
regulatory duplication is eliminated.
7. The existing laws and rules governing wetland mitigation need to be revised to
include flexibility and to promote creative solutions which should include
mitigation banking. Avoidance should only be required for those wetlands
that are unique and pristine. Levels of mitigation/compensation
requirements need to be established that recognizes the different values of
wetlands. Additional revisions to existing laws and rules are necessary to
encourage usage of man-made, or enhanced wetlands for treatment of storm
water and waste water effluent.
8. Mitigation can be properly designed and constructed within the state. An
increase in regulatory agency monitoring and enforcement activities is
necessary and appropriate to assure the success of mitigation projects.
Elimination of permitting duplication efforts would allow more manpower
efforts to be expended in follow-up monitoring and enforcement.
Accepted by the FES Executive Committee
September 18, 1991
Revised and Approved by the Conservation
and Environmental Quality Committee
September 25, 1991
Approved by the FES Board of Directors
November 14, 1991
Revised November 23, 1992
Approval by the FES Board of Directors Pending