QUERY: Is the Cypress Creek FloodDetention and Well Field
a development of regional impact within the meaning
of Chapter 380?
CONCLUSION: No. The Cypress Creek Flood Detention and Well
Field is a project designed to accomplish the
conservation, protection, management and control of waters and
falls under the provisions of Chapter 373.
DISCUSSION: This project is an integral part of a federally
approved flood control project identified as
The Four River Basins Project, Florida. A favorable report,
together with accompanying papers and illustrations, was
transmitted to Congress on September 24, 1962. The primary
purposes for creating SWFWMD by legislative act in 1961
(Chapter 61-691) was to provide a local sponsor for the federal
project, which the district contractually committed itself
to be, shortly after its creation.
Repeatedy the Legislature, upon recommendations
of the Governor, has funded this project by appropriating money
both as matching construction money and for land acquisition.
In 1972 the Legislature included $810,000 for land
acquisition for this project through the DNR administered
Water Resources Development Account. In 1973 an additional
$880,000 was appropriated. In 1974 an additional unallocated
sum of $880,000 $2,320,000 was appropriated.
This project is designed primarily as a short
term flood detention area with multi-purpose uses compatible
It is not a project which could be construed as
a "development," inducing greater density of people or
exploitation of natural resources but rather it is a project which
will even remove some of the present development and eliminate
present encroachment into the flow way and flood plains of
Cypress Creek. In sum and substance, it is an "undevelopment"
project being designed and acquired so as to protect the health,
welfare, safety and quality of life of residents of the state
by conserving, protecting, managing and controlling waters
within the scope of responsibility of a water management district
and under the supervisory authority of the Department of Natural
Chapter 380 (Chapter 72-317) was passed by the
Legislature ih 1972. The purposes set out in section 2 state
that it is the intent of the Legislature to adequately plan for
and guide growth and development within the state so as to:
(1) protect the natural resources and environment
of this state.
(2) insure a water management system that will
reverse the deterioration of water quality and provide
optimum utilization of our limited water resources.
(3) facilitate orderly and well-planned development.
(4) protect the health, welfare, safety, and quality
of life of residents of this state.
The Legislature further declared it is necessary
that the state establish land and water management policies to
guide and coordinate local decisions relating to growth and
development, and that such state land and water management
policies should to the maximum possible extent be implemented
'by local governments through existing processes for guidance
of growth and development.
Chapter 72-299 (Chapter 373, F.S.) was also passed
during the same Legislative session. This is the Water Resources
Both acts were signed by the Governor on April 24,
1972 and both were filed in the office of the Secretary of
State on April 25, 1972.
These two acts constituted a package. It was
acknowledged, after attempting to do otherwise, that develop-
ment of land and conservation and control of water to realize full
beneficial use could best be accomplished through separate
The Declaration of Policy set forth in the Water
Resources Act (Chapter 72-299) states:
"The Legislature recognizes that the water resources
problems of the state vary from region to region,
both in magnitude and complexity. It is therefore
the intent of the Legislature to vest in the
Department of Natural Resources or its successor
agency the power and responsibility to accomplish
the conservation, protection, management and
control of the waters of the state with sufficient
flexibility and discretion to accomplish these
ends through delegation of appropriate powers to
the various water management districts . to
the greatest extent practicable such delegation
'should be delegated to the Governing Board of a
water management district." 373.016 (3)
The Legislature further provided that the enactment
of the Water Resources Act should not affect the existence of
the two existing water management and flood control districts
(SWFWMD and C&SFFCD) "or any contract or obligation of such
districts entered into prior to the effective date .. ."
S 373.149, F.S.
On April 4, 1973 the Governor and Cabinet, sitting
as head of the Department of Natural Resources, authorized
SWFWMD and C&SFFCD to exercise all powers and authorities
enumerated in subsections (2), (3), (4), (5) and (6) of section
373.103 and specifically authorized these districts to administer
and enforce all provisions of the Florida Water Resources Act
Attention is called to subsections 373.103 (2) and
(3) which specifically authorize the districts to "cooperate
with the United States in the manner provided by Congress for
flood control, reclamation, conservation and allied purposes in
protecting the inhabitants, the land, and other property within
the district from the effects of a surplus or a deficiency of
water when the same may be beneficial to the public health,
welfare, safety, and utility" and to "plan, construct, operate
and maintain works of the district ."
The federal government requires that any projects
must be reviewed by interested and involved agencies and
groups both on a national and on a local level. In addition,
the Governor and Cabinet long ago established a rule that
requires Clearing House review, prior to requesting federal
funds for construction.
The Governor and Cabinet also constitute the
Administration Commission under which Chapter 380 is administered.
No suggestion has been made for the Governor and Cabinet to
take off its DNR hat and put on its Administration Commission
hat for the purpose of considering water management projects as