Florida Power & Light Company
South Dade Mitigation Bank
1995 Water Resource Conference
Florida Power & Light Company's (FPL) South Dade Mitigation Bank site is a 13,455
acre site located approximately 5 miles south of Florida City just south of the Turkey
Point Power Generation Facility. The site is located East of US Highway One. Access
to the site is available from U.S. Highway One, Card Sound Road and from the FPL
Turkey Point Power Generation Facility.
Purpose and Intent
Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) purchased the South Dade site in early 1970 for
the purpose of developing future power generation. Since purchasing the site, other
generation options have been available to serve the system's needs. In reviewing this
site for future generation options, Florida Power & Light Company has also become
aware of the regional plans to restore and enhance the Everglades system and Florida
Bay and the critical role that the restoration efforts play in the economic and
environmental future of South Florida. Most recently, when the State of Florida passed
the Mitigation Banking Rule in 1993, the Company revisited the best use for the South
Dade site and determined that the site could be used in a manner that achieved both
the goals of the corporation, its rate payers and the citizens of the State of Florida by
developing the site as a private Mitigation Bank consistent with the public goals of
Everglades Restoration. This approach will provide an unprecedented opportunity for
private-public partnerships supporting long term regional restoration efforts in the area.
Florida Power & Light Company intends to establish a wetland Mitigation Bank to be
utilized to compensate for the functions of wetlands that are unavoidably lost as a
result of providing electrical service associated with the construction and maintenance
of their facilities. Mitigation credits will be utilized for FPL's system improvement and
maintenance projects as well as be available for use by other public service providers,
municipalities and private developers. The suitability of utilizing the Mitigation Bank as
compensatory mitigation will be evaluated on a case by case basis. The use of the
Mitigation Bank does not alter the normal sequencing requirements of the 404 (b) (1)
guidelines as clarified by the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the EPA and
the Department of the Army dated February 6, 1990 or as provided for in the State of
Florida Mitigation Banking rule Chapter 17-342.300 F.A.C.. Mitigation credits to
compensate for unavoidable wetland impacts will be available for use by projects within
the banks Mitigation Service Area (MSA) of this application and for linear projects in
accordance with Chapter 17-342.600 F.A.C.
Florida Power & Light Company recognizes the benefits of the Mitigation Banking
concept. The company currently has in excess of 35 individual mitigation sites
throughout their system. While Florida Power & Light Company has achieved great
success with their mitigation projects, the use of the Mitigation Bank will consolidate
future mitigation into a large contiguous parcel providing greater assurance of long
term sustainable, regional ecological benefits. Compensatory mitigation can be
implemented in advance of project impacts, thus reducing temporal losses in the
functional values provided by such habitats.
Florida Power & Light Company retained the services of Cotleur Hearing Inc. and
Howard Searcy and Associates to assist the Florida Power & Light Company's
Mitigation Bank team in the preparation of this application. A list of the entire consulting
team is enclosed in this section of the application.
The Mitigation Bank
The South Dade Mitigation Bank project contains approximately 13,455 acres of
relatively undisturbed, fresh and esturine wetlands. While the hydrogeomorphic setting
(Brinson, 1993) of the land remains the same, the physical and biological
characteristics of the site have been greatly altered as a result of the Central and
Southern Florida Flood Control Project of 1938. Changes in the regional hydrology and
on site dikes and roads have altered the salinity balance of this ecosystem resulting in
hypersaline conditions and the shift of historically freshwater marsh to saltwater flats
and tidal marsh.
While the majority of the site consists of native vegetative cover, exotic vegetation has
colonized on nearly all upland and disturbed wetland areas of the site. The extent of
infestation of wetland areas varies and is greater in density along edges and within the
many raised tree islands on the site. The exotic species are for the most part limited to
Australian pine (Casurina sp) and Brazilian pepper (Schinus teribinthifolius).
The primary goal of the Mitigation Bank is to restore the site to as close as reasonably
attainable to historic conditions, in concert with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the
South Florida Water Management District, Florida Department of Enviommental
Protection and Dade County's goals and objects for the region. To achieve the
attainable condition, changes in the water management practices of the region and on
site will be required. Changes which more closely mimic historic conditions will greatly
increase the biological productivity of the site and regional ecology. The removal and
control of exotic vegetation is also a major component of the mitigation plan.
The Mitigation Bank has been divided into 4 major project phases based on the
geographic setting on the site. Each phase is anticipated to have a series of sub
phases consisting of not less than 500 acres of land. An aerial photograph of the site
and phasing map with the major phases delineated are enclosed. Each phase or sub
phase will contain 5 steps or mitigation activities. The steps have been established to
maximize the available number of mitigation credits and to facilitate the timing
constraints associated with the potential hydrological improvements. The steps of
mitigation activities are as follows:
Step 1 Conservation
The first step for each Mitigation Bank phase or sub phase will be to place the
property into a conservation easement and/or deed the property to the Board of
Trustees of the Intemal Improvement Trust Fund as defined in Chapter 17-342.650
F.A.C. A specified number of mitigation credits will be available upon the completion
of this step.
Step 2 Exotic vegetation removal and replanting.
The second step of mitigation activity for each phase of the Mitigation Bank will
be to eradicate exotic vegetation. The exotic vegetation present on site consists
predominantly of Australian Pine and Brazilian Pepper. Where appropriate, exotic
vegetation removal sites will be replanted with native vegetation to reduce future
operation and maintenance costs. A specified number of mitigation credits will be
available upon the completion of this step.
Step 3 Removal of physical features
The third step of mitigation activity for each phase of the Mitigation Bank will be
to remove unnatural deposits of fill (dikes & roads) or excavations (canals &
scrapedown areas) that visually appear as physical features (scars) on the landscape.
These features will be removed and replanted with native vegetation. A specified
number of mitigation credits will be available upon the completion of this activity or step.
Step 4 Hydrological improvements
The fourth step of mitigation activity for each phase of the bank will be to
conduct hydrological improvements to replicate, as closely as possible, the historic
timing, duration, delivery and distribution of surface water on the site. The hydrologic
improvements, combined with the above activities, will result in ecological
improvements on the site. A specified number of credits will be available upon the
completion of the hydrological improvements and a specified number of credits will be
available upon the successful enhancement of ecological communities.
Step 5 Threatened and endangered species enhancement
Step five of mitigation activities will be specific enhancements to encourage
increased utilization of the site by Threatened and Endangered species. A specified
number of credits will be available upon the successful completion of these
Consistency With Mitigation Banking Rule Chapter 17-342.00 F.A.C.
The Mitigation. Banking Rule identifies specific factors for determining the degree of
improvement in ecological value. The South Dade Mitigation Bank exemplifies the
qualitative attributes which are to be considered (CH.17-342.470 (2) F.A.C.).
Threatened And Endangered Species
The South Dade site is known to be utilized by thirty-eight (38) State or Federally listed
animal species. Of the thirty-eight (38) species found on site, twelve (12) are listed as
endangered, nine (9) threatened and seventeen (17) are classified as candidates for
listing. Portions of the site are designated as critical habitat for the American Crocodile,
the Florida Manatee, the Snail Kite and the Florida Panther (FGFWFC, 1994). Card
and Bames Sound represent one third of all American crocodile nesting in the
continental United States. ( Biscayne Bay Swim Plan, 1994). The site also contains the
Eastem Indigo Snake Rosette Spoon Bill Woodstork and Osprey. Thirty-one (31)
plant species found are listed as threatened, endangered or commercially exploited.
Four (4) are listed as endangered, thirteen (13) as threatened and thirteen (13) as
Proximity to areas of national, state, or regional ecological significance:
The South Dade property is contiguous to two national parks (Biscayne and Everglades
National Parks), two Outstanding Florida Waters (Card Sound and Biscayne Bay), two
aquatic preserves, Biscayne Bay and Card Sound; Crocodile Lake National Wildlife
Refuge, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and John Pennicamp Coral Reef
State Park. The site is located within the proposed Model Land Acquisition area and will
ultimately be bordered on all boundaries by public lands.
Special designation or classification of land or waters:
The South Dade Mitigation Bank is contiguous to three Outstanding Florida Waters
(OFW), Biscayne Bay and Card Sound, Bames Sound and two Aquatic Preserves,
Biscayne Bay and Card Sound. Bames Sound is designated a Florida Key's Special
Water. Portions of the property contain federal designations as critical habitat for
The South Dade Mitigation site will result in the creation a public land corridor
extending from the east to the west coast of Florida. In conjunction with the shoreline
of Biscayne National Park and the proposed Model Land Acquisition property, this area
forms the longest undeveloped strip of red mangroves on the East Coast of Florida
(Personal Communication SFWMD SOR).
An Oversight Committee composed of members from each of the regulatory agencies
with jurisdiction of the site, the banker, (Florida Power & Light Company) and selected
members from the academic and environmental community will be established. The
purpose of the Oversight Committee will be to review the technical data obtained
through the monitoring program required as part of this application and to make
recommendation for acceptance or modification to the management practices.
Timing And Build Out
Florida Power & Light Company is proceeding with Phase la (as shown on the
Phasing Plan enclosed) of the Mitigation Bank, concurrent with the application for
Mitigation Bank conceptual approval which was submitted to the Florida Department of
Environmental Protection on December 8, 1994. Phase 1 consists of approximately
4,213 acres located between Card Sound Road and U.S. Highway One. Mitigation
efforts within this phase of the project will consist of Steps 1, 2, and 3 as described
above. Step 4, hydrological improvements may be implemented in the future,
however, are dependent on the outcome of the Central & Southern Florida Flood
Control Project Comprehensive Restudy and the proposed placement of culverts under
U.S. Highway One by the Florida Department of Transportation.
Future phases of the mitigation bank will be permitted as demand for mitigation credits
warrants and further hydrological data and analysis is available. Due to economies of
scale, certain mitigation steps may be implemented in future bank phases prior to the
formal establishment of credits for that respective phase. A ten year construction
implementation time frame is anticipated.
Management and maintenance
Initial, short term maintenance and management will be conducted by Florida Power &
Light Company's Land Management staff located on site, at the Turkey Point Power
Generation Facility. Long term management of the site will be financed through a Trust
Fund Agreement as required by 17-342.700 (5) (a) F.A.C. The Mitigation Bank, once
established, will be relatively administratively and ecologically self sustaining.
The Management Plan for the Bank will be consistent with the management plan
being developed by Dade County for the Model Land Basin acquisition area. The
utilization of controlled burning as a long range management technique is proposed.
The management plan for the Mitigation Bank is intended to be a working document
and will be modified from time to time as additional information is made available and
agreed upon by the Oversight Committee.
The South Dade Mitigation Bank property could not be located in a more
environmentally strategic location in South Florida. The recommended improvements
are intended to be landscape or watershed based ecological processes which will
contribute to the entire ecosystem. Florida Power & Light Company recognizes the
opportunity to be a part of a nationally focused regional restoration effort and is
committed to sharing data in a collaborative effort with the environmental community.