Title: Group E - Resource Management: Water Resources
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00004249/00001
 Material Information
Title: Group E - Resource Management: Water Resources
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Jake Varn Collection - Group E - Resource Management: Water Resources (JDV Box 89)
General Note: Box 19, Folder 1 ( Growth Management Conference - 1983 ), Item 11
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: WL00004249
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text




Discussion Group Leader:

Mr. Jake Varn

Discussion Group Recorders:

Mr. Ed Montanaro

Ms. Chris Holland

Mr. Bob Anderson

Mr. Cliff Beasley

Mr. Anthony Clemente

Mr. Irvin Cowie

Mr. Eric Draper

Ms. Patricia Glass

Mr. Richard Hamann

Mr. Brad Hartman

Mr. Robert Hearon

Senator Warren Henderson

Mr. Johnny Jones

Mr. Dennis Koehler

Ms. Mary Kumpe

Mr. Bobby McKown

Mr. Sylvan Meyer










Rep. Herb Morgan

Mr. Peter Mott

Rep. Steve Pajcic

Mr. David Ramsey

Ms. Joanne Schmidt

Mr. Dan Simmons

Ms. Victoria Tschinkel

Mr. Latimer Turner

Mr. Jake Varn

16. Rep. Jon Mills


















By: Gary W. Kuhl


One key element in meeting the water requirements in

Florida is determining what long-term demands likely will be, and

then planning for development of the supply sources to meet those

demands. As Florida's population continues to expand (see Figure

1), ensuring adequate water supplies will increase in importance

throughout the state. In the public supply sector, demands are

dependent on growth patterns which are influenced by local zoning

policies, economic conditions and the desirability for

development in any particular location. In the agricultural

industry, water demands are highly dependent on local rainfall,

soil types and the crop type under consideration. Industrial

water needs in Florida fluctuate dramatically with state,

national, and world economic trends. The pulp and paper

manufacturing industry and the phosphate industry are examples of

the impact world and national markets can have on our state's

water supply needs. While responsible planning for long-term

supply needs is certainly on the upswing in Florida, both local

and regional governments need to make substantial improvements in

their water resource planning techniques.

Once the water demands have been defined, the problem of

balancing the limited freshwater supply among the various users

becomes the focal point. Although state wide freshwater use is

obtained from both ground and surface water sources in roughly

equal quantities, the degree to which specific areas or regions

within the state are dependent upon each source varies greatly.

For instance, in central and southwest Florida, heavy

groundwater pumpage for large industrial, agricultural and public

supply uses can cause substantial drawdowns in the deep Floridan

aquifer and the shallow water table. In south Florida, large

surface water withdrawals, primarily for agricultural uses, can

have significant effects upon natural terrestrial and aquatic

communities. These ground and surface water withdrawals are

particularly noticeable and may have impacts on adjacent water

users during drought periods or when seasonal water demands are

at a peak. In extreme conditions, surrounding wells may lose

their capacity to provide water on a short-term basis. Heavy

pumping can impact local lake levels and streamflows and

eventually cause stress to natural or cultivated vegetation in

the area influenced. Long-term stress can cause changes in the

prevalent vegetation types, or in the worst case, actually

destroy some species of vegetation dependent on a high water

table. In some coastal areas, salt water intrusion into the


groundwater aquifer or surface water bodies may result from

uncontrolled or poorly managed pumping.

Because many of our highly populated areas in Florida are

located near the coast, freshwater supplies are often transferred

across political and hydrologic boundaries. Water removed from

any ground or surface water basin to supply an end use in another

area is considered to be a highly consumptive practice. That is,

the transferred water does not return through natural processes

to replenish its original basin. Without proper control and

monitoring, interbasin transfer can be of concern. Carried to

the extreme, impacts to natural systems can be serious.

Interbasin transfers crossing political boundaries can become

even more complex due to potential impacts on the cost of future

water supply in the contributing basin.


In order to estimate what future water demands may be, it

is necessary to review historical and current use, as well as any

trends in use. Water use in Florida has increased substantially

in the recent past (see Figure 2). Public supply, rural

(includes self-supplied households and livestock use), irrigation

and power generation water uses all increased between the years

1970 and 1980. The only type of water use to experience a

decline during this period was industrial use. Much of this

reduction occurred as a result of water reuse in various

industries, especially the phosphate industry.

Public supply water use increased by over fifty percent

between 1970 and 1980, and is anticipated to increase

substantially in the future as the state's population continues

to expand. In 1980, state wide public supply water use was

estimated at approximately 1,361 million gallons per day (mgd),

comprising roughly nineteen percent of all freshwater used in the

state (see Figure 3). Over fifty percent of all public supply

use was situated within the South Florida Water Management

District (SFWMD), while less than one percent was located in the

Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) (see Figure 4).

In addition, nearly eighty-five percent of all public supply

water use is pumped from groundwater sources.

In the highly urbanized areas of central and southwest

Florida, water supply authorities have assumed much of the

responsibility of long-range planning for increasing public

supply demands. The West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority

(WCRWSA), while its water use is permitted through the Southwest

Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), is responsible for

developing and operating public supply wellfields in a three-

county area. Further south in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and

DeSoto Counties, another water supply authority, although in its

infancy, is beginning to formulate long-term water supply source

alternatives. In addition, the South Brevard Water Supply


Authority was created in July of 1983 to coordinate supply

development in Brevard County.

Rural water use in Florida increased by nearly sixty

percent between 1970 and 1980. Estimated at 310 mgd in 1980,

rural use is expected to continue increasing as the state's

population grows. Nearly ninety-five percent of all rural water

use originates from groundwater sources.

Total industrial use decreased between 1970 and 1980. The

majority of this decrease occurred within the pulp and paper

manufacturing, phosphate mining, and citrus processing

industries. These decreases were due, in large part, to

technological improvements related to water reuse. Nearly forty

percent of all industrial water use within the state is within

the SWFWMD, while only five percent is located in the SFWMD.

Over eighty percent of all industrial water use comes from

groundwater sources. In addition, a small amount of the

industrial water use (approximately seven percent) comes from

saline water sources. Projections of industrial water uses

within the state are difficult to estimate due to the strong

influences that state, national and international economic

conditions have on our major industries. However, the

technological improvements that have occurred in the past causing

decreases in water use may not be as significant in the future,

and industrial water use likely will grow in coming years.

Irrigation water use also increased substantially between

1970 and 1980. In 1980, total irrigation water use was estimated

at 2,997 mgd, comprising roughly forty-one percent of all

freshwater use within the state. However, irrigation water use

is far from evenly distributed throughout the state; nearly sixty

percent of all irrigation water use is situated in the SFWMD. In

addition, although total irrigation water use in the state

appears to be somewhat evenly distributed between ground and

surface water sources, nearly eighty percent of the total surface

water withdrawal for irrigation purposes is located in the SFWMD;

in each of the other water management districts, groundwater is

the primary source for irrigation water. Although irrigation

water use demands are difficult to project, it is anticipated

that current levels of demand, at a minimum, will continue into

the future.

Water use for power generation comprises the largest water

use in the state. However, the vast majority of the power

generation water use is comprised of saline water; in addition,

the majority of both fresh and saline water use for power

generation is for once-through cooling and is not consumptively

used. Future increases in power generation water use can be

expected as the state's population and economy grow. However, it

is anticipated that the majority of this increased demand will be

met with non-potable (saline and wastewater) sources.


While much attention has been focused on the problems

associated with growing coastal populations and resulting water

demands, management and control of these water withdrawals have

improved a great deal in the last five to ten years. Improved

monitoring and analytical techniques have provided the necessary

information to adequately warn water managers of impending

problems. In the period prior to the drought of 1981, hydrologic

data collection and analyses provided enough warning to allow

implementation of necessary water shortage programs within each

water management district, prior to emergence of severe problems.

Computer modeling techniques now allow the impacts of major

pumpage facilities to be defined well before installation of the

facility. Still, there are problems.

For example, Pasco County has a number of large wellfields

within its boundaries that supply the urban areas in Pinellas,

Hillsborough, and coastal Pasco Counties. Pasco County residents

wonder where they will go for water supply in future years if

their internal supplies are diminished by current needs to the

south. While the SWFWMD, WCRWSA and Pasco County entered into an

agreement to, in essence, reserve a major wellfield for Pasco

County's future use, some are still concerned that the county's

long-term water supply may not be protected. The main problems

in Florida seem to occur where there are concentrated populations

in coastal areas competing with other water users in interior

portions of the state. The competition for water will continue

to increase unless innovative methods of assuring adequate supply

are pursued.


The problems associated with meeting water supply needs

are diverse and vary around the state. Options for resolving

many of the problems already have been investigated and currently

are being implemented in some areas, while many other options

have yet to be investigated. Discussed here are specific options

which could be further investigated and implemented in other

appropriate areas of the state.

Water Conservation and Reuse

The City of Orlando has demonstrated that retrofitting

existing homes with relatively inexpensive water-saving devices

reduces household water use by about eighteen percent which

subsequently offsets the need for construction of multimillion

dollar water treatment and supply facilities. The phosphate

industry through reuse techniques cut its water requirements by

about forty percent in recent years while at the same time

increased production by forty-three percent. Water conservation

through leak detection and repair in public supply systems could

result in substantial savings; it is not uncommon for such

systems to experience ten to fifteen percent line loss due to

leaks! In a major effort to reuse water, the city of St.


Petersburg has installed a dual water system where non-potable

needs, such as lawn irrigation, are supplied by highly treated

waste effluent. The agricultural industry continues to

experiment with low volume irrigation systems and irrigation

during evening hours to minimize evaporation losses. However,

conversion to low volume systems can be costly, and, as in all

options, economics must be considered. The consumptive use

permitting program of the water management districts is an

important tool in implementing many water conserving activities.

Additional encouragement such as tax incentives at the state and

federal level would compliment existing regional and local

programs. Water conservation oriented rate structures could also

be a major breakthrough--many rate structures currently in place

actually encourage high water use. Water conservation education

is also important, especially in light of the tremendous influx

of residents from other areas who know little about Florida's

water resources. Water conservation is one option that has not

been taken very seriously in some areas but has a great potential

to offset some of our long-term water demand increases.

Long-Range Planning for Needs and Sources of Water Supply

Perhaps the single greatest error water managers can

commit is waiting until a water need is upon them before

beginning to search for solutions. Often when in this situation,

the easiest solution is sought as opposed to the best solution.

The regional water supply authority concept can be of benefit in

the area of planning ahead for public supply needs. A strong

consumptive use permitting program requiring submittal of long-

term water use and supply plans and periodic updates is a very

important tool to be used with all major water users. Also,

utilization of the lowest quality water appropriate for a given

end use will preserve high quality water for future potable

needs. The new Department of Environmental Regulation Water

Quality Standards rule seeks to provide the necessary protection.

The Local Government Comprehensive Planning Act of 1975

(LGCPA) is another tool that could be given additional teeth in

all areas including water. In many cases, long-range planning at

the local level can minimize the need for interbasin/government

transfers of water. Maximum utilization of local water supplies

should occur prior to consideration of outside sources.

Special committees, comprised of local government

officials, knowledgeable citizens, and other concerned

individuals have also proven to be an effective tool in

delineating special problems, often of a regional scale, and

identifying courses of action to remedy these problems. The

Charlotte Harbor Resource Planning and Management Committee,

established by the Governor in 1979, is an excellent example of

just such a committee.

Direct involvement by water management districts in water

supply, especially on a regional basis, is also an alternative

being actively pursued by several districts. The Northwest


Florida Water Management District (NWFWMD), in response to

significant drawdowns in groundwater levels caused by numerous

public supply system withdrawals, has initiated a regional water

supply development plan. The crux of this plan is the

development of a major wellfield within the Eglin Air Force Base.

Because of the sensitivity of utilizing a military base for this

purpose, and to act as a centralized negotiating body, the NWFWMD

plans to develop and operate this wellfield and may sell water to

public suppliers. In south Florida, the Florida Keys Aqueduct

Authority (comprised of the SFWMD Board of Governors) supplies

freshwater throughout the Keys.

One of the most significant activities occurring

throughout the state in terms of long-range planning is the

purchasing of lands for the purposes of water management, water

supply, and the conservation and protection of water resources.

Each of the water management districts, utilizing funds generated

by the "Save Our Rivers" program, are in various stages of

purchasing lands along many of Florida's rivers, including the

Apalachicola, Suwannee, St. Johns, Escambia, Loxahatchee,

Withlacoochee, Hillsborough, Braden, Myakka and Kissimmee. Two

districts, the NWFWMD and the St. Johns River Water Management

District (SJRWMD), have obtained the assistance of the Nature

Conservancy, a national land preservation organization, in

purchasing significant amounts of land vital to ensuring the

long-range protection of water resources. These activities

exemplify cooperation between public and private organizations

for the public good.

Converting Salt or Brackish Water to Potable Supply

Generally, while reverse osmosis is still an expensive

process, strides have been made in reducing the cost of treating

highly mineralized water for potable use. The common sense

approach has been to treat brackish groundwater with less

concentration of salts than that found in sea water. This makes

the cost per thousand gallons more competitive with conventional

sources. Perhaps some state and federal funding for test

facilities in Florida could aid in this approach. Success in the

utilization of the reverse osmosis process has been found in the

cities of Sarasota and Venice, along with numerous private

suppliers. As this source becomes more economically competitive

with conventional sources, the growth in demand upon our limited

freshwater supplies may be reduced.

Building Flexibility into Water Supply Systems

Unforeseeable problems such as drought or unusual seasonal

demands often ruin the best laid plans for adequate water supply.

This makes flexibility in water supply systems highly desirable.

Several innovative techniques for providing this flexibility have


been developed. For example, Manatee County is experimenting

with a recharge/recovery system to augment their water supply

program. During high flow periods they will divert treated

excess flow from the Manatee River into the relatively poor

quality groundwater system in the area. Since groundwater moves

very slowly, the high quality water can be stored several hundred

feet below ground surface until demand warrants recovery.

Manatee County is also working with local phosphate companies to

provide standby water supply facilities in the event of an

unforeseen catastrophe. The City of Tampa is testing the use of

the Tampa Bypass Canal, a flood management system, as a secondary

water supply source. The General Development Utilities

Corporation has also proposed to investigate the feasibility of a

recharge/recovery system as an alternative to expanding its

present off-stream reservoir at its Peace River facility in

southern DeSoto County. In the SWFWMD major public water

suppliers are being encouraged through the consumptive use

permitting program to interconnect supply sources to provide

flexibility during emergency or drought conditions. Again, long-

term planning can allow flexibility to be built into supply

systems. Also, local standby options tend to minimize the need

to go next door, across hydrologic or political boundaries, for

additional water supply needs.

Hydrologic Monitoring and Data Collection

Prevention of water resource problems is dependent on a

water manager's ability to recognize impending degradation of

water quantity or quality. This can be accomplished only through

monitoring of the critical parameters relating to surface and

groundwater. While many of these monitoring systems are in

place, the Water Quality Assurance Act of 1983 provides the

impetus to coordinate and improve data collection and analyses

through the Department of Environmental Regulation. Major

permitted water users are required by the water management

districts, where appropriate, to monitor ground and surface water

levels. In areas where salt water intrusion is a concern,

chloride and sulfate monitoring may also be required. The

modification of Chapter 373, Florida Statutes, in the 1982

Legislative Session requires an inventory of all water supply

sources by hydrologic basin throughout Florida. It appears that

all of the authority necessary to improve our water quantity and

quality monitoring is available. Implementation is now the major

task ahead of us.

Improved Interagency Coordination

It is difficult to separate water quality considerations

from water quantity considerations. For example, increasing the

permitted withdrawal from a river may change the waste load

allocation permitted downstream. Two different agencies issue


the permits involved in this example. Coordination between the

water management districts and the Department of Environmental

Regulation is much improved in the last two to three years, and

it is imperative that this rapport continue. Collocation of

facilities and cross use of personnel and equipment are

commonplace. Delegation of activities that fit water management

district personnel and technical capabilities is progressing

within each district as their respective capabilities improve.

The SFWMD has previously accepted the stormwater permitting

program, and the SWFWMD will be accepting this program in 1984.

However, other water management districts are not yet in a

position to accept this delegation. Several water management

districts and regional planning councils in the state have

developed agreements to assure coordination between these

agencies. In an effort to improve coordination between several

states and the federal government, a Memorandum of Understanding

among Alabama, Georgia, Florida and the U.S. Army Corps of

Engineers, Mobile District, regarding the Apalachicola-

Chattahoochee-Flint River System was implemented in 1983. This

agreement will aid in the management of this important water

resource. In the area of land management, there is room for

additional and improved coordination in floodplain and recharge

area protection. Each of the water management districts have

extensive programs in floodplain delineation. The SWFWMD and

SRWMD have developed model floodplain ordinances for use by local


Improved Regulation

The authority is in place to regulate most aspects of

water management. As mentioned above, perhaps the only major

weakness occurs in floodplain and recharge area management.

While it is important to maintain well defined, enforceable water

quality and quantity regulations, cooperation between the

regulator and the applicant is of utmost importance. Willingness

of the regulator to work with and provide assistance to the

applicant is a key incentive to implementation of water

management programs.


A. Administrative

1. Increased use by local governments of water

conservation and reuse programs, including rate

structures, water saving devices, education, system

leak detection surveys and dual systems.

2. Consumptive use permit conditions could

continue to be strengthened to require specific

conservation activities.

3. Consumptive use permit conditions could be

expanded to encourage additional planning at the

local level to ensure long-range water supplies.

4. Water management districts could, at the

request of local governments, become more directly

involved in ensuring long-range water demands will be


5. Greater emphasis on public-private cooperative

efforts in planning for and meeting long-term


6. Through the consumptive use permitting process,

local governments could be encouraged to investigate

the feasibility of utilizing desalinization

facilities whenever interbasin or intergovernmental

transfers of water are proposed.

7. Local governments should cooperate in expanding

system interconnections and in developing local

standby options.

8. Improved interagency coordination among local

governments and state and regional agencies.

B. Legislative

1. Develop state and/or federal tax incentives to

encourage water conservation.

2. Legislation requiring water conservation

programs within all major public water supply


3. Legislation requiring water conservation

curricula within public schools.

4. Legislation governing public water systems'

rate structures.

5. Revise the LGCPA to place more emphasis on

long-range water supply planning, with implementation

required through capital facilities plans.

6. State and/or federal funding for research into

the technical and economic characteristics of


7. Improve the definition of the water management

districts' role in floodplain and recharge area



q -

The Challenge of Meeting Florida's Water Supply Needs (continued)









Sources: 1980 Census, Number of Inhabitants; University of Florida, Bureau of
Economic and Business Research, Projections of Florida Population by County,
1985-2020, Bulletin No. 65; St. Johns River Water Management District,
Information Circular No. 8, Current and Projected Population of the St. Johns
River Water Management District, 1980; Suwannee River Water Management
District, SRWMD Population Estimates and Projections, 1980-2000; Southwest
Florida Water Management District, Population Estimates and Projections,
1980-2020, Interim Report Update.






















Estimated Water
Use in Florida,
1970-1980 (MGD

Sources: Estimated Use of Water in Florida, 1970, Florida Department of Natural
Resources, Bureau of Geology, Information Circular No. 83; Source, Use
and Disposition of Water in Florida, 1980, U. S. Geological Survey,
Water-Resources Investigations 82-4090 /

Estimated Water
Use in Florida,
1980, o,

17. 326.64
(3550.60 Fresh;
13,776.04 Saline-


K0 --
(3754.64 Fresh; 121.24 Satine).

Source: Source. Use and Disposition of Water In Florida, 1980,
U. S. Geological Survey. Water-Resouces Investigations 82-4090




Estimated Water Use In Florida

by Water Management District, 1980 MGOD

Public Supply










SF 1,778.34


SWF 6,519.01
SR 173.76

NWF 948.06
SJ 2,966.87
SF 5,126.80

Source: Source. Use. and Disposition of Water In Florida. 1980, U. S. Geological Survey, Water-Resources Investigations 82-4090









Florida's Water

Management Districts



LEoN MA0ISON / ". i








By Mr. John Hankinson

October, 1983


Florida's wetlands have been described as the "soul" of

the state: no other single feature is more representative of

what makes Florida a unique place to live and visit.

Historically, wetlands were regarded as worthless. Florida's

management of this resource prior to the middle of this century

consisted largely of eliminating wetlands and converting them to

agriculture, industrial and commercial uses. Consequently, of

approximately 20 million acres of wetlands existing in Florida at

the turn of the century, only 8 million remained in 1973, and

significant losses continue.

As our scientific understanding of the functions of

wetlands has increased, our appreciation of the value of wetlands

has grown. Scientific research has identified such benefits as

water filtration and storage, provision of fish and wildlife

habitat, recreation, groundwater recharge, flood control, and

climate moderation. Wetlands also provide significant

recreational opportunities and aesthetic experiences.

Recognizing the very substantial role wetlands play in the

overall ecological health of the state, and the economic benefits

represented by the functions wetlands perform, it is essential

that the state adopt a strong policy and a resource-based

approach towards wetlands protection. This approach should build

on and augment the current water quality-based program.


Definition of Wetlands

Wetlands form the transition between predominantly dry

upland areas and aquatic habitats. Since wetlands are continuums

between many types of aquatic and terrestrial communities, they

are widely diverse and cannot be simply defined. In addition,

wetland definitions vary depending on the specific reason a

delineation must be made.

Wetlands are most often defined using the criteria of

tidal action, inundation by surface waters or floodwaters,

vegetation, soils and horizontal distance from the high water

mark. The most widely accepted definition for wetlands was

listed in the 1982 EPA guidelines (40 CFR Section 230.3(t)):

The term "wetlands" means those areas that

are inundated or saturated by surface or

ground water at a frequency and duration

sufficient to support, and that under

normal circumstances do support, a

prevalence of vegetation typically adapted

for life in saturated soil conditions.

Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes,

bogs, and similar areas.

Classification of Wetlands

Wetland classification is as difficult as wetland

definition, particularly in Florida. No other continental state

supports the enormous diversity of plant communities that Florida

does. The Florida Natural Areas Inventory lists nineteen

functionally different types of freshwater wetlands characterized

by emergent vegetation (palustrine). A simpler system developed

for Seminole County by Dr. Mark Brown of the Center for Wetlands

lists seven wetland community types based on hydroperiod,

dominant species, soils and water regime (Appendix I).

Wetland Functions and Values


Wetlands perform the important functions of flood

conveyance, water storage, water quality enhancement and

groundwater recharge.

Water quality enhancement-is performed when wetlands

protect water bodies from sediments, nutrients and other

pollutants. Wetland vegetation provides natural filtration, and

microorganisms utilize dissolved nutrients and break down organic

matter. Research has been conducted for the last eight years by

the Center for Wetlands at the University of Florida in

Gainesville to evaluate the ability of cypress wetlands to absorb

the nutrient and microbs in secondarily treated sewage, and to

permit only water that is equivalent to tertiary treated water to

filter into the groundwater (Odum and Ewel, 1974, 1975, 1976;

Ewel and Odum 1979, Vega and Ewel, 1981)

Flood conveyance-is provided throughout Florida by

wetlands, especially riverine and adjacent floodplain lands,

which reduce peak flows and slowly release stored flood waters to

downstream areas.

Water storage-is also important during normal wet seasons

when accumulated waters are held in wetlands. Water tables can

therefore be maintained at higher levels and groundwater recharge

is enhanced.

Recharge of surficial groundwater systems is an important

function of wetlands, which store water during periods of heavy

rainfall and slowly release it. The potential for recharge of

deep aquifers may not be as important. The Gordon River Swamp in

Naples, Florida provides an example of a wetland which recharges

a freshwater aquifer. This acquifer is dependent upon the water

supply from the swamp for the prevention of salt water intrusion

(Littlejohn, 1975).


Fish and wildlife habitat -for many species of waterfowl,

mammals, reptiles and amphibians is a critical aspect of wetland


communities. High primary productivity, and the provision of

water and nutrients at land-water interfaces enable wetlands to

provide irreplaceable habitat for a vast array of game and

nongame species.

Although wetlands constitute only three and one-half

percent of the nation's land area, more than one-third of our

endangered species live in or are dependent upon them. In

Florida there are twenty-seven rare, threatened and endangered

species which require wetland habitats during some part of their

life cycles. Preservation of wetland habitat is essential to the

survival of these species.

Recreational opportunities-are provided by wetlands to

millions of bird watchers, fishermen, hunters and canoeists.

They provide respite from urban environments, landscape diversity

and beauty, and social and aesthetic values difficult to quantify

but essential to the quality of life of Floridians.


Neither the federal government nor the state of Florida

directly regulates the use and conversion of wetland areas. In

both cases, the primary focus for regulating impacts on wetlands

is based on water quality objectives (Figure 1).

Federal Regulation

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulates wetlands use

under the authority of two statutes. Section 10 of the Rivers

and Harbors Act of 1899 gives the Corps authority to regulate

dredge and fill and other activities in navigable waters.

Section 404 of the Clean Water Act gives the Corps additional

authority over the discharge of fill into wetlands. Since the

overriding objective of the Clean Water Act is to maintain and

restore "the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the

nation's waters," the Corps' scope of jurisdiction under 404

extends well beyond those waters traditionally regarded as

navigable for commercial purposes.

In the review of permit applications, the Army Corps must

evaluate whether issuance of the permit is "found to be in the

public interest," and must give great weight to fish and wildlife


!mlusState of Florida

The Florida Department of Environmental Regulation (DER)

regulates dredge and fill activities in waters of the State

pursuant to Chapters 253 and 403, Florida Statutes (Figure 1).

Under Chapter 253, the DER may consider a broad range of criteria

to evaluate whether permit issuance to dredge and fill wetlands

is in the public's interest. However, the geographical extent of

Chapter 253 jurisdiction is based on a limited definition of

navigability. State dredge and fill regulation under Chapter 403

has much more extensive geographic jurisdiction, but only water

quality impacts may be considered.

Regional and Local Programs

Regional Agencies

The water management districts are provided authority to

regulate surface water management structures under Chapter 373,

F.S. Regional planning councils may also adopt protective

policies for their wetlands such as those recently promulgated by

the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council. Chapter 298, F.S.

provides for the establishment of special purpose districts to

fund drainage projects, primarily to create agricultural land out

of wetland areas.

Local Governments

Seminole County has recently adopted a wetlands ordinance

developed under the guidance of the Center for Wetlands. Other

local governments regulate aspects of flood plain development and

wetland impacts through traditional planning and zoning

functions, and some counties are in the process of developing

their own wetland ordinances.


Wetlands Policy

As noted above, Florida's approach to protecting wetlands

has been indirect, relying primarily on dredge and fill

permitting, and is limited largely to water quality concerns. An

approach focusing specifically on the resource to be protected

would be preferable so that jurisdictional issues, permitting

criteria, and research efforts can all be directed toward the

objective of protecting wetlands.

The most obvious prerequisite to a resource-based program

would be the establishment of a comprehensive state wetlands

policy. Such a policy should recognize the values and functions

of wetlands and create a public policy that establishes a strong

presumption in favor of preserving wetlands and their function.

Some states, notably California and Oregon, have adopted a "no

net loss" policy related to wetlands, but have relied heavily on

mitigation approaches to allow activities in wetlands that are in

the public interest. The mitigation concept is a crucial issue

in the design of a wetlands program, and will be discussed in

depth in a later section.

Establishing a Consolidated Approach to Dredge and Fill


Current legislative efforts are addressing the need to

consolidate Chapters 253 and 403 into a single, comprehensive

approach to dredge and fill permitting at the state level. From

a resource point of view, it makes little difference whether

important wetlands are above or below mean or ordinary high water

line, which is the extent of jurisdiction under Chapter 253.

Fish, wildlife, and other natural resource features may be as

valuable outside that line as they are in areas of navigable

water. Furthermore, establishment of jurisdictional lines by

surveys in wetland areas are extremely expensive, and it is


unnecessarily confusing and time consuming for applicants to have

to meet two separate standards if their project "straddles" the

jurisdictional division between Chapter 253 and Chapter 403.

The habitat protection test of Chapter 253 should apply

above and below the mean ordinary high water line, since water

quality standards of Chapter 403 do not directly consider habitat

destruction above this line.


Land Subject to Regulation

Even if Chapter 253 and Chapter 403 are combined, the

issues of geographical jurisdiction must still be addressed. As

noted earlier, jurisdiction under Chapter 403, extends to a broad

category of submerged lands defined by reference to a list of

specific waters of the state which include all the navigable and

title water subject to Chapter 253 and their "natural

tributaries." DER's jurisdiction of these tributaries was

broadly defined in the Roaring Creek case, but it is still not as

extensive as the Army Corps jurisdiction under Section 404 of the

Clean Water Act. The major limitations are the requirement of

connectedness to the waters of the state and the way in which the

landward extent of submerged lands is defined.

These limitations have caused difficulty in DER's

regulation of obviously important wetland areas. For example,

the DER's jurisdiction is unclear in parts of the Everglades due

to the fact that dikes, roads, or other structures break the

continuity between the area proposed to be impacted and the

definable "waters of the state." Another problem is the

protection of isolated wetland areas, such as wet prairies,

cypress domes and small lakes. For example, bayhead swamps, such

as Cow Bay in Putnam County and the 5300 acre Santa Fe Swamp in

Bradford County may face total destruction through peat mining.

They meet neither the vegetation nor the geographical

requirements to fall within DER's jurisdiction, yet their

contribution to the region's hydrology and ecology can hardly be

disputed. Regulation under Section 404 by the Army Corps can

reach these areas, which may be very valuable in terms of

function, while state regulation cannot.

The state's geographic jurisdiction under Chapter 403 and

Rule 17-4, F.A.C., is much more limited than the Army Corp's

jurisdiction under Section 404. Section 403.817, F.S., states

that landward extent "shall be defined by species of plants or

soils which are characteristic of those areas subject to regular

and periodic inundation by the waters of the state. The

application of plant indicators to any area shall be by dominant

species." This section also requires that any plant and soil

indicators for jurisdictional purposes meet legislative approval.

DER has never adopted a soils index, and the wetlands vegetation

list is incomplete. Thus far, any modifications have been

chilled by the legislative approval requirement. Furthermore,

the requirement of dominance creates an additional burden on the


department to justify its jurisdiction. The limitations of the

vegetative approach are clearly evident in examining the DER's

ability to regulate lakes which fluctuate greatly due to

Florida's cycle of drought and heavy rainfall. Land adjacent to

lakes may be dry for a sufficient period of time to make it

difficult to find dominant wetland species, but when the rainy

part of the cycle returns, these areas are once again inundated.

There are a number of approaches to problems associated

with DER's geographical jurisdiction. The vegetative indices are

currently being revisited by DER in anticipation of submitting

this list to the legislature. The concept of dominance has been

very controversial. Regulation under Section 404 requires only

the establishment of the "prevalence" of vegetation, and this

approach is followed in several other states in identifying

wetland areas subject to regulation.

In areas where drought/flood cycles create difficulty in

establishing jurisdiction based on vegetation, hydrographic

history can also be utilized in conjunction with these factors to

more accurately define wetland extent. The Soil Conservation

Service has mapped areas of soil types in Florida and identified

wetlands by soil type for much of the state. DER is

investigating the use of a soils index, which can be a very

helpful tool.

Another approach to identifying the extent of wetlands is

to use mapping techniques. The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

is currently conducting a nationwide wetlands inventory and

mapping project. A great deal of information is available as to

location, type, and extent of wetlands in the state.

Technological advancements in mapping, such as the use of LANDSAT

equipment, have greatly increased our ability to accurately map

wetlands and visualize changes in vegetation, land uses and many

other factors. Furthermore, the soils map can be used as a guide

to wetlands jurisdiction, as the state of Connecticut does in its


Establishing maps on a scale sufficient to base regulatory

determinations can be very expensive, and it might take some time

to develop a comprehensive approach. However, given the

technology and information available, useful wetland maps could

be developed, and ultimately used for regulatory purposes. In

the interim, they could be used with the traditional indicators

of jurisdiction to improve identification of important areas and

to give notice to land owners and developers regarding the status

of property.

The state may wish to consider removing the requirement

for legislative approval of vegetative and soils indices. The

identification of indicator species and soils is an extremely

technical exercise best suited to the administrative process

under Chapter 120. Moreover, the hearing and appeals process

contained in Chapter 120 provides adequate protection for

affected interests. The legislature will continue to have the


prerogative to override any decision of DER should they feel

jurisdiction has been improperly extended by this process.

Finally, DER's jurisdiction over isolated wetlands such as

wet prairies and the Everglades needs to be resolved. This could

be done by broadening categories of "waters of the state" to

extend to isolated wetlands, by refining the continuity

requirement, or by providing specific authority to deal with

certain areas of the state. Granting certain discretionary

authority to DER would be a valid, important addition to wetlands

protection. For example, if an isolated cypress dome which does

not meet DER's jurisdictional criteria might support a major

rookery of highly endangered wood storks, DER should be provided

the discretionary authority to assert jurisdiction over that

wetland based on easily demonstratable and significant impacts to

that wildlife resource.

Activities Subject to Regulation

DER has fairly broad authority as to activities subject to

regulation. Jurisdiction over drainage operations, however, has

not been exerted, and these activities may be the greatest threat

to Florida's wetlands. A number of activities have been exempted

from DER and Army Corps jurisdiction, and general permits have

been issued for a number of others. General permits are

necessary to avoid costly regulation of relatively minor actions,

but care must be taken that cumulative impacts do not result in

the piecemeal destruction of important wetlands and their


Criteria for Evaluation of Permits

The need to extend the broader Chapter 253 considerations

of fish, wildlife, and other natural resource values to the

Chapter 403 area has already been discussed. Furthermore, the

DER should be authorized to consider the cumulative impacts of

projects on wetland values. Secondary impacts of projects need

to be considered, i.e., those activities that could reasonably be

expected to result from the permitting of an activity in a

wetland area, such as the increase of boat traffic in a manatee

sanctuary or other sensitive area due to the permitting of a

marina. The old guidelines promulgated by EPA under Section 404

should be examined because they provide a more thorough

discussion of those issues that should be considered in

evaluating the public interest of allowing a project to impact

wetlands. In particular, the water dependency of a project and

the alternatives available to that project should be considered.

Since Florida's wetlands are home for a large number of

endangered and threatened species, the DER should be authorized

to consider the impact of a project on such species. Finally,

DER should have authority to establish special criteria for

permitting in Areas of Critical State Concern and other special

management areas such as aquatic preserves.



The concept of mitigation has a number of definitions,

ranging from avoiding the activity that would cause the impact to

compensating for such impact by payment of fees or dedication of

other land not related to project impact. Mitigation is

generally employed to allow those projects which otherwise meet

public interest concerns to compensate for or minimize the long

term damage to a wetland system. Oregon and California have a

"no net loss" approach to wetland functions, and rely heavily on

mitigation, and in the case of California, mitigation banking, to

achieve this policy goal. In the federal regulatory scheme under

Section 404, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the authority

to recommend mitigation measures to avoid fish and wildlife

impacts, and the Corps has the authority to condition permits to

accommodate these interests. The mitigation efforts at the

federal level have been fairly successful, and in many cases the

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has saved developers money in the

redesign of projects. The wetlands policy to a great extent

dictates the type of mitigation that is allowed. On-site

mitigation, which attempts to avoid impacts of a particular

project, is much less controversial than off-site mitigation

measures, which involve the dedication of other lands or payments

to compensate for impacts.

An important distinction must be made between preserving

wetland functions and preserving wetlands. If it is determined

to be possible to recreate or maintain important wetland

functions by restoring other damaged wetlands to functional

capability, by reclaiming lands, such as phosphate lands, after

temporary land uses, or through other design or management means,

then the actual preservation of wetlands may not be as crucial.

This distinction is very important to activities such as mining,

which are temporary land uses followed by reclamation to land

forms that are as similar in nature and function as is

practicable. The phosphate industry has been very active in

projects to demonstrate the potential of reconstruction of

wetlands, with some promising results. However, the majority of

wetland reconstruction projects have only been in existence for

three years, although there is one project that was completed 8

years ago. A review of the literature indicates that although

mitigation offers great promise in accommodating the desire to

develop while preserving the public interest in the preservation

of wetlands, the re-creation of wetlands is still in the

experimental stage. Dr. Mark Brown, Assistant Research Scientist

at the Center for Wetlands, in a recent memorandum to Senator

Patrick Neal stated,

"In all, we believe that before reconstruction of

freshwater, forested and nonforest wetlands is considered

anything but experimental, there must be a greater number

of scientifically rigorous studies, in a diversity of

locations throughout Florida, involving many different

types of wetlands and over a long period of time."


DER is currently granting permits for experimental efforts in

wetlands reclamation. Such experimental efforts should be

encouraged, combined with'a scientifically rigorous monitoring

approach. Land owners should not be penalized for experimental

efforts that fail, if they are conducted as designed and


Regulations pursuant to the California Coastal Act allow

the payment of a fee to be used for purchase and restoration of a

degraded wetland equivalent in productive value to that of a

wetland being filled. This program allows a comprehensive plan

for wetland impact mitigation, and relieves the land owner and

developer from the burden of acquiring other suitable mitigation

sites. This approach may be unpopular both to developers and

environmentalists. The public may regard this as the developer

"buying" the right to destroy a wetland, whereas developers may

regard this as an opportunity for agencies to "exact"

unnecessarily high fees to compensate for impacts.


Another component of the comprehensive approach to

wetlands regulation is the classification of wetlands based on

their type, size, value or function. Authority for DER to

classify wetlands was included in the last version of the Fish

and Wildlife Act considered by the Legislature in 1981. The

concept is to differentiate between those wetlands of the highest

ecological value, which would generally be preserved, a "middle

class" of wetlands of less value that could be developed provided

that wetlands or their functions were restored, and wetlands of

marginal value.

While classification may be attractive conceptually, since

it would provide more certainty as to the activities permitted in

given areas, it would be difficult to develop the criteria by

which wetlands would be classified. Wetlands vary greatly in

size, location, condition and type. The value or productivity

of a given wetland may not be easily related to a demonstrable

set of criteria. Furthermore, "sacrificing" certain wetlands is

unacceptable to many people who feel that the historical extent

of wetland loss in the state calls for a stronger approach to

protecting those that remain.

Possible approaches to classification should be explored

and scientifically researched. The mapping technologies

discussed previously may offer some basis for developing a

classification approach. If classification is employed, it

should be on a case by case basis due to the tremendous variation

between wetlands and the difficulty in establishing broad classes

that will truly reflect the values of a given wetland system.

Intergovernmental Relationships on Wetlands Regulation

Relation to Federal Regulation

Similarities and differences between state and federal

regulation of dredge and fill activities were discussed in


earlier sections. In general, the Corps' jurisdiction under

Section 404 of the Clean Water Act is broader than DER's and

allows the consideration of a wider range of criteria in

evaluating permits. The federal approach to permitting should be

examined to guide deliberations on establishment of a Florida

wetlands regulatory approach. Consistency between the two

programs to the extent practicable generally should reduce the

regulatory burden on applicants and clarify the protection goals

established by law. It should be kept in mind, however, that the

Task Force on Regulatory Reform chaired by Vice President George

Bush has recommended "streamlining" of Army Corps regulatory

programs in wetland areas, and recent proposed rule changes by

the Corps have demonstrated its intent to withdraw protection

from some of the areas currently regulated under Section 404.

The Corps' 404 program has been important to Florida in

protecting some vital wetland resources such as in the case

involving proposals to develop the tidal wetlands in the Marco

Island area by Deltona. If the Army Corps is successful in

withdrawing coverage from important wetland areas, it will be

even more crucial for state regulation to have a comprehensive

and rational program.

Role of Other Levels of Government and Other Agencies

As noted above, some local and regional governments in

Florida have adopted wetland protection strategies. In other

states, such as Connecticut, much of the authority for regulating

impacts on wetlands is delegated to local government.

Massachusetts, which originally stressed permitting at the state

level, has shifted much of the permit evaluation task to local

conservation commissions. Development interests are concerned

about proliferation of programs focused on wetlands protection.

Each of these levels of government may have a different

definition of wetlands and regulate from a different perspective.

Furthermore, some government bodies may not have the technical

expertise to make good decisions on wetlands issues. On the

other hand, much of good wetlands management involves land use

decisions, and these decisions have traditionally been made at

the local level. The local government has available to it tools

not available to state agencies. These may include wetland

zoning or wetland elements of local comprehensive plans, special

ordinances dealing with aspects of wetlands use, floodplain

zoning, subdivision regulation, building codes and other special

purpose controls. Since the impacts of a given activity on a

particular wetland is generally a site specific determination,

qualified local governments that deal with the "hands on" aspects

of development may well be in the best position to tailor

development to minimize disturbance of wetlands. John Kusler, in

his recent book Our National Wetland Heritage states that, "based

upon the experience of the last decade, the advisability of a

strong local role in wetlands regulation is now clear,

particularly for inland wetlands."

In order to avoid the confusion of having different

policies, definitions, and criteria for wetlands at each level of

government, the legislature could standardize some of these

criteria and clarify the role of local government in a state

wetlands program. Wetlands protection issues would certainly be

an element of an integrated policy planning framework such as is

being considered by the Environmental Land Management Study

Committee II. The state's standards could be translated through

regional plans and incorporated in local plans which would help

to establish some consistency in regulating wetlands.

Concern for wetlands must be incorporated in the planning,

zoning, and management functions of local governments. Urban

sprawl greatly contributes to the demise of wetlands, both

through direct impacts and by displacing other uses such as

agriculture to the less expensive land areas, which are quite

often wetland areas in Florida. The state's objective in dredge

and fill permitting must be reflected in the policy plans and

management goals of local governments. These objectives must be

reflected as well in the policies, planning activities, and

permitting of other state agencies, such as the Department of

Transportation, the Department of Corrections, and the Department

of Agriculture and Consumer services. Chapter 298 drainage

districts must be revisited in the light of new wetland policies.

In earlier attempts to establish considerations of fish

and wildlife habitat impacts on wetlands above the mean high or

ordinary high water line, the Game and Fresh Water Fish

Commission has been envisioned in several different roles.

Earlier proposals required that DER coordinate with the Game

Commission where fish and wildlife impacts were involved. Later

versions gave the Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission the

opportunity to comment on permits and to recommend mitigation

opportunities. Recent discussions on wetlands legislation have

been noticeably silent on the role of the Game Commission. As

the state agency charged with the conservation of fish and

wildlife resources, it is important that the Game Commission have

an effective role in evaluating impacts. The relationship

between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corps

should be examined as a practical model. The Corps must give

"great weight" to the comments of the Fish and Wildlife Service

regarding the impacts of a project, and may require mitigation

actions recommended by the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Other Components of a Comprehensive Wetlands Protection Approach

Incentives and Tax Policy

One component of a successful wetlands program should be

incentives offered to property owners to keep wetlands in uses

that preserve the character and function of the resource.

Florida does provide one option for a conservation tax assessment

in Florida Statutes 193.501. This provision has been little

used, presumably because land owners are unwilling to agree to

long term restrictions on the development options. Other tax

advantages can be provided through gift and estate tax policy.

The federal Water Bank Program makes payments to land

owners and farm operations under 10 year land use agreements on

important migratory water fowl nesting and breeding areas.

Dr. G. Ronnie Best with the Center For Wetlands at the

University of Florida has stated that we must become aggressive in

providing incentives to people for preserving wetlands if we

intend to protect these areas in our rapidly growing state.


As noted above, several important aspects of wetlands

management require further research to be of use. The whole area

of freshwater wetlands needs to be more thoroughly investigated

to identify their function, value, and tolerance to disturbance.

Further research is necessary on the ability to re-create

wetlands and their functions. This research will also help

provide the basis for a classification scheme, and further

refinements to wetland mapping and inventory efforts will provide

useful tools in identifying protection areas.

Finally, it is essential that the state implement a

tracking system to document wetland losses in Florida. For the

last eighteen months, DER has tracked losses that result from

their own permitting. However, the system does not tabulate

wetland destruction outside DER's jurisdiction resulting from

exempted or illegal activities, or cumulative impacts. Informed

policy decisions and adequate protection of wetlands require

accurate monitoring of wetland status, similar to the groundwater

monitoring network established by the 1983 Water Quality

Assurance Act.

Monitoring and Enforcement

Very few permits for dredge and fill in wetlands are

denied outright. However, a large percentage of those permits

granted are granted with important conditions as to how the

project will proceed. An effective monitoring and enforcement

system is necessary to see that these conditions are implemented,

since they can make a great deal of difference as to the

magnitude of the impact visited upon a wetland system by the

activity. Mitigation measures that require long term

maintenance, such as maintaining free flow conditions in culverts

under roads, are particularly troubling and difficult to follow.

Any permit that is conditioned upon certain mitigative actions

must also include a workable monitoring program coupled with

effective enforcement.

Land Acquisition

An essential component of wetlands protection is the

acquisition of particular critical wetland areas. Florida

already has one of the leading programs in the nation for land

acquisition, and the Save Our Rivers and Conservation and

Recreation Lands programs both buy coastal and inland wetlands.

The programs could be enhanced by establishing a mechanism for

identifying high quality areas. The Natural Areas Inventory

currently underway will be of great assistance in identifying

particularly valuable wetlands and should improve our ability to

purchase only the most desirable lands.


The impact of agriculture on wetlands should be

specifically examined. As noted previously, agriculture is

forced into wetland areas as urban areas expand and land values

become too high for maintaining agricultural uses. Many

agricultural uses are consistent with the maintenance of

functioning wetland systems, as long as good management practices

are followed. Other practices, such as draining and diking

wetland areas can result in oxidation of muck and soils causing

subsidence which will result in loss of wetland function. As

Florida's population growth continues, competition for land

resources will grow. Only conscious choices regarding the

priority and distribution of land uses will enable the state to

maintain both agricultural and wetland areas.

Balancing Regulation and Private Property Rights

In the recent case of Graham v. Estuary Properties, the

Florida Supreme Court upheld the denial of a permit to dredge

mangroves. The court refused to find that this denial

constituted the taking of private property without compensation.

The court relied in part on the Wisconsin Supreme Court case Just

v. Marinette County wherein the court concluded:

"an owner of land has no absolute and

unlimited right to change the essential

natural character of his land so as to use

it for a purpose for which it was unsuited

in its natural state and which injures the

rights of others."

The public's interest in preserving wetlands and their functions

must be balanced with the owner's interest in making use of this

property. In order to avoid hardship, wetland areas should be

identified or mapped with reasonable accuracy, and information

should be available to anyone as to the presence of wetlands that

fall under protective regulation. One option that would avoid

the unpleasant surprise of finding parts of property

undevelopable would be to require that a deed for property

include a notation that parts of the property contain wetlands

which require a permit prior to development. Requiring such

notice will help insure that the diminution of property values

that may be represented by the presence of wetlands will be

reflected in the purchase price of the property.

Budget and Personnel Assessment for Dredge and Fill Permitting

A 1982 evaluation of DER's dredge and fill permitting

program by the Governor's Office of Planning and Budgeting

confirmed that serious salary discrepancies exist among DER

permitting staff, the private sector and the U. S. Army Corps of

Engineers. The disparate salaries result in high personnel

turnover, inconsistent decision making, inexperienced staff and

low morale. The impact of budget and personnel problems on the

effectiveness of the dredge and fill program has been repeatedly

demonstrated and requires rectification.


The following set of wetland descriptions was compiled by

D. Mark Brown of the Center For Wetlands, University of Florida,

and encompass components of classification schemes of the U. S.

Fish and Wildlife Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, the

Florida Land Use and Cover Classification System and the Soil

Conservation Service. The classification of these Florida

community types was determined based upon dominant species,

hydroperiod, soils, and water regime (Brown and Starnes, 1983).

1. Deep marshes

These are wetlands often dominated by free-floating or

rooted aquatic plants; they are generally flooded permanently by

fresh water, and are located along rivers, lakes, and streams

throughout the state. Soils associated with these marshes are

level, poorly drained, and covered with 3-6 feet of water during

the growing season.

2. Shallow marshes

These herbaceous communities are adapted to prolonged

flooding and are often dominated by one or several species.

Soils underlying shallow marshes are saturated or covered with 6

inches or more of water for much of the growing season. Eight

major different types of freshwater marshes have been defined

within Florida based on dominant vegetation. The 2.5 million

acres of Everglades in south Florida are the most striking

example of this community type, which is also found throughout

the state around ponds, canals and sloughs.

3. Wet prairies

Occurring in areas of low topographic relief, wet prairies

(or freshwater meadows) contain open expanses of grasses, sedges,

rushes and herbs as well as scattered shrubs and small trees.

They are regularly flooded by contiguous upland areas, and remain

wet or with 0.5 to 2 feet of water during much of the year. The

"savannas" of the Apalachicola National Forest are full of rare

pitcher plants, orchids and sundews, and are a type of wet


4. Cypress domes

Also called cypress heads, these communities are

stillwater wetland forests occurring in depressions in relatively

flat upland areas such as pine flatwoods. Cypress domes are

poorly drained and dominated by pond cypress and swamp blackgum,

to a lesser degree. Water fluctuation is an essential

requirement of these communities. Cypress domes are familiar

features of the inland north and central Florida landscape.

5. Hydric hammocks

These communities are dominated by broad-leaved trees

growing on poorly drained, usually saturated soils. These

hammocks are generally intermediate communities between higher

pine flatwoods and river swamps, and contain many soil types and

a diversity of vegetation types. Cabbage palm hammocks are a

type of hydric hammock. Typical examples are located near

Crescent Lake in Volusia and Flagler Counties.

6. Bayheads

These peat-forming communities are dominated by broad-

leaved evergreen trees that grow in very acid, saturated soils

subject to periodic flooding. Bayheads characteristically occur

in or around flatwood depressions or ponds or associated streams.

Apparently impenetratable, these communities have high stem

counts and very dense foliage. The Santa Fe Swamp in Bradford

County contains a high proportion of bayhead community.

7. Mixed hardwood swamps

Dominated by deciduous hardwood trees, these communities

border rivers and basins that are submerged or saturated much of

the year. Maintenance of this system is dependent upon periodic

flooding and water levels and may fluctuate annually as much as

five feet. No tree species is consistently dominant; plant and

wildlife diversity are both quite high. The great floodplains of

the Apalachicola and Suwannee Rivers are examples of typical

mixed hardwood swamps.


A. Federal regulation

The Corps has broad authority to regulate discharges to

the nation's waters, except for certain exempted activities. In

addition to these statutory exemptions, the Corps has issued

general permits on a state, regional, and nationwide base for

categories of activities judged to have minimal adverse

environmental effects. Such general permits exclude large

categories of activities from active review by the Army Corps.

Recent proposals by the Corps to expand the use of general

permits and generally withdraw jurisdiction from wetland areas

has met with stiff opposition from conservation organizations.

Corps permit review involves balancing the benefits and

detriments of the proposal, and is intended to discourage the

unnecessary alteration or destruction of wetlands. The project

must also meet guidelines promulgated by EPA under Section 404.

Other federal agencies, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Service, also review and comment on permits. The Corps must give

great weight to these views on fish and wildlife considerations,

and the permit may be conditioned to mitigate fish and wildlife


In addition to permitting under Section 404 of the Clean

Water Act, there are other programs specifically focused on

certain wetland resources. For example, the Federal Water Bank

Program provides authority for agreements with land owners to

preserve wetlands that are significant in the breeding and

maintenance of waterfowl.

B. State of Florida

The major authorities regulating impacts on wetlands are

the dredge and fill permitting requirements set forth in Chapters

253 and 403 (F.S.) The Florida Department of Environmental

Regulation (DER) is charged with carrying out the relevant

provisions of those acts. Chapter 253 gives DER jurisdiction

over the beds of navigable waters in the state, and establishes a

broad range of environmental criteria to guide permit decision

making. Chapter 403 extends the jurisdiction of DER to more

wetland areas, but limits consideration to water quality impacts.

Geographic jurisdiction of Chapter 253 extends to the line

of mean high water in coastal areas and the ordinary high water

mark of inland navigable waters. Jurisdiction under Chapter 403

extends to a broader category of submerged lands, defined by

reference to a specific list of waters of the state and a list

of wetland vegetative indicators. The waters of the state

subject to permitting jurisdiction include all the navigable and

tidal waters subject to Chapter 253 and their "natural

tributaries." Artificially created water bodies connected to

these waters are also covered, but natural tributaries do not

include intermittent natural water courses which normally do not

contain contiguous area of standing water. Natural lakes are

considered waters of the state except those lakes that: 1) are

owned entirely by one person; 2) become dry each year and are

without standing water; 3) are no more than ten acres of water

area for the maximum average depth of two feet existing

throughout the year.

The landward extent of submerged lands is defined by

reference to a list of plant species. Lands contiguous to waters

of the state on which a combination of the listed species

constitutes the dominant plant community are considered submerged

lands subject to 403 jurisdiction. A transitional zone is also

provided for.

The DER requires permits for the construction of various

structures, dredging or filling in water subject to regulation.

A number of activities are exempt from permitting although they

are required to meet state water quality standards. Examples of

these include restoration of sea walls, private docks with less

than 1000 square feet in the installation of overhead

transmission lines.

The DER coordinates review of permits with the Corps of

Engineers. Projects below a certain threshold are processed by

district offices, with other applications processed by the

Tallahassee office of DER. The agency reviews the application

for completeness. Once the application is complete, DER has

ninety days to take action on the permit.

*-' t

The review of applications for Chapter 403 is limited to

consideration of water quality impacts. The applicant must

provide "reasonable assurance" that the project will meet state

water quality standards. The evaluation of biological impacts

must be related to violations of water quality. In contrast,

permitting under Chapter 253 is much more rigorous. An

ecological study and a biological survey are required, and a

hydrographic survey may also be requested. To receive a permit

under Chapter 253, the applicant must show that dredging will not

interfere with the conservation of fish, marine, and wildlife, or

other natural resources to such an extent as to be contrary to

the public interest. A similar test is provided for the filling

of land pursuant to Chapter 253.

The Department of Environmental Regulation is provided

jurisdiction under Chapter 253 to consider a broad range of

criteria in evaluating whether the issuance of permits to dredge

and fill wetlands is in the public interest. However, the

geographical extent of Chapter 253 jurisdiction is based on a

limited definition of navigability. Regulation under Chapter 403

has much more extensive geographic jurisdiction, but only water

quality impacts may be considered.

Figure I. Comparison of Federal (Section 404, Clean Water Act) and
State (Chapters 253 and 403, F.S.) Regulation of Wetlands Alteration

1. Lands Subject to Jurisdiction

Section 404

*Jurisdiction extends from
navigable waters of the United
States to the line at which plant
species intolerant of flooding or
saturated soils begin to grow.

2. Activities Subject to Regulation

Section 404

W COE permits required-for "the
un discharge of fill material from a
point source into the navigable
waters at specified disposal sites"
Certain farming and construction
activities exempted, as well as
federal construction projects.
General permits may also be issued
(see Appendix II).

Chapter 253, F.S.

Extends to the line of mean
high water in coastal areas and
the ordinary high water mark of
inland, navigable waters.

Chapter 253, F.S.

DER permits required for construction
or installation of various structures,
dredging or filling in waters subject
to regulation. Many activities are
exempt from permitting, though still
required to meet state water quality

Chapter 403, F.S.

Extends to a broader category of
submerged lands, defined by reference
to a specific list** of waters of the
state and a list of wetland vegetative

Chapter 403, F.S.

DER permits required for construction
or installation of various structures,
dredging or filling in waters subject
to regulation. Many activities are
exempt from permitting, though still
required to meet state water quality

*Navigable waters defined by NRDC v. Callaway as all waters of the United States.

**List includes all of the navigable
not include intermittently inundated
feet deep.

and tidal waters subject to Chapter 253 and their "natural" tributaries. It does
water/courses or lakes owned by one person, become annually dry or are less than 2

***A combination of the listed species must constitute the dominant plant community in order for land to be considered
submerged. Jurisdiction may also include a "transitional zone" of the first 50 feet landward of submerged lands or 1/4
of the distance between submerged and upland lands, whichever is greater.

Figure I (Continued)

3. Criteria for Review of Permits

Chapter 253, F.S.

A broad range of criteria may be
evaluated for compliance. Permit
issuance is contingent upon project
being "in the public interest".
Benefits of the proposed alteration
must outweigh the damage to the
wetlands resource. Permit must
consider cumulative impacts, and
Corps must give great weight to
fish and wildlife considerations.

A broad range of criteria may be
evaluated for compliance. An
ecological study and a biological
study must be conducted; a
hydrographic survey may also be
required. Activities must not
"interfere with the conservation
of fish, marine and wildlife or
other natural resources to such
an extent as to be contrary to the
public interest ... ." A finding
must also be made that the natural
flow of the navigable water will
not be impeded and that adjoining
land will not be injured.

Chapter 403, F.S.

Limited to consideration of water
quality impacts. Biological and other
impacts may be considered only as
related to water quality. Applicant
must provide "reasonable assurance"
that the project will meet state water
quality standards.

Section 404





By Ms. Ane Merriam

October, 1983


The overall discussion topic for Group E is Water

Resources Management. This particular subarea of that discussion

addresses the current dilemma of proper land management of our

productive and vital water recharge areas. The dilemma is

characterized by a host of issues, but the major features would

include the following four considerations.

Recharge areas occur not only in high and dry

landscapes such as the familiar "Green Swamp" area, but also in

wetlands such as marshes, cypress swamps, ponds, and rivers, as

well as in conjunction with discharge areas such as springs.

Many of the same physical features of the high and dry

landscapes which enhance natural recharge of the state's

groundwater aquifers are also attractive for development. Well-

drained soils covering a landscape often adjacent to surface

water bodies, generally supporting native vegetation, are natural

economic inducers to would be developers.

Additionally, the relatively low land costs of wetlands

present economic incentives to development which would plug up

these surface connections between the aquifers and the


And while the amount of fresh water available for use

in Florida during the 1980's is expected to remain unchanged, the

population is expected to increase by over 3.3 million. Most of

this growth is expected to occur in areas poor in water resources

such as South Florida and the West Coast, both of which rely

quite heavily on groundwater supplies.

This last issue displays the essence of the two edged

sword piercing this subarea. If the population continues to

locate in the already populated coastal and southern areas, then

water will need to be piped in from the central and northern

water-producing areas, which will undoubtedly add to the rising

cost of new growth. On the other hand, if developers begin

migrating more to the inland water-rich areas which function as

productive rechargers to the statewide groundwater aquifers,

their development activities may preclude or significantly reduce

the land's ability to continue recharging the state's major

drinking water resource. As more and more coastal counties are

faced with the occurrence of diminishing surface and ground water

supplies nearby, and as aquifers are contaminated by salt water

as a result, the push inland toward recharge lands is enhanced.


The human desire to both inhabit and manage recharge areas

is not new. In ancient China there was a profession called a

"geomancer," which literally translates to "Earth Diviner." The

geomancer used a metal disc inscribed with astronomy and water

signs. He placed the disc on a magnetic stone and from its

orientation read the "lines of force" that stretched across the

landscape. Some of the most beautiful Chinese villages and towns

were designed by geomancers who located houses so as to

concentrate or disperse activities in the communities. The

presence of or access to water was considered highly significant

to the geomancer who felt that the direction and intensity of the

water flows coupled with the aesthetics and usefulness of stored

waters were compelling reasons to either build or not to build on

a particular site, or facing in a particular direction. Modern

scientists and land use planners interested in managing water

recharge areas vary from planners, geologists, meteorologists,

foresters, ecologists, hydrologists, engineers and attorneys.

Among our professionals, however, we do not have a modern day

equivalent to the ancient geomancer. By contrast, the

understanding of the air-water interface meterologyy) has been

developed far more rigorously through space physics, a compliment

to the field of aeronautical engineering. Nevertheless, some

might profess that there appears to be a need for modern

"watershed managers" who would aggressively deal with the

overlapping subjects of land and water management. Additionally,

they would be in tune with and use the dynamics of the hydrologic

cycle to maintain a healthy freshwater balance in Florida's

groundwater budget account while accommodating the various

prospective withdrawals.

If we were to try and list some basic tenets of watershed

management, they might include the following:

1. The process of infiltration of water into the ground

is the result of a finely tuned natural pump and storage

facility. This finely tuned facility is extremely efficient

physically, but is also a bargain economically. The value to

humans of this natural facility could be estimated by calculating

the cost of our technology providing the same service, including

such things as pumps, generators, containment vessels, and

filtration systems. The cost differential ranges from double the

cost in some areas to several orders of magnitude in other areas,

determined by the cost of the replacement water sources.

2. The transfer of a water-recharging landscape into a

lesser recharging or non-recharging one results in losses of an

exponential nature. For example, paving over an area that had a

high recharge rate in the natural condition not only results in a

direct loss of water that could be stored in an aquifer, it also

generates more storm water (thereby adding to a costly problem),

and it generally degrades the quality of the water once it

finally reaches its new destination.


3. Significant alterations to a recharge area affect

other delicately balanced natural support systems. For example,

the aquifer found just under the soil surface is crucial to

vegetation. The forests and rangelands not only produce useful

products, but also provide air-purifying and soil-conserving

functions as well.

4. Significant alterations to a recharge area also affect

the hydrologic cycle. The flow of water between the atmosphere,

land and underground is also a finely tuned machine with numerous

interconnections and subtleties between and among the many

physical states water traverses. A significant reduction in

recharge rates of an area would also affect evaporation and

transportation rates, which are equally important to local weather



How significant is this issue for Florida? So much has

been observed and written regarding the abundance of Florida

waters. Mostly people are referring to our visible surface

waters, which appear plentiful. Yet as vast as Florida's surface

water storage is, it pales in comparison to the enormous

freshwater storage capacity of water-bearing zones beneath the

land surface known as aquifers. There are two types of aquifers

in Florida: non artesian, which occur in unconfined, usually

shallow, water table conditions, and artesian, where water is

confined under pressure beneath a relatively impermeable

formation (or aquicludes) so that water surface is not free to

rise or fall, except in open connections to the surface--through

wells, springs or sinkholes.

Non artesian aquifers receive and store water by way of

infiltration through the overlying soil and are refilled or

"recharged" primarily by local rainfall. In contrast, artesian

aquifers are recharged in areas where the limestone rock of the

aquifer "crops out" or is open at or near the earth's surface,

and where the overlying confining layers have been breached by

erosion or through sinkholes.

The principle artesian aquifer in Florida is the Floridan

Aquifer which underlies most of the state and extends northward

into parts of Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama. The Floridan

Aquifer is one of the most productive aquifers in the world and

may contain as much water as the Great Lakes. The aquifer

consists of dolomite and limestone which are respectively

cavernous and porous. The Floridan is the thickest and contains

the most fresh water in central and north Florida, where potable

fresh water can extend as much as 2,000 feet below the land

surface (DER, 1978).

In south Florida, the Fliridan Aquifer becomes highly

mineralized and is not potable. Here-, shallow, non artesian

aquifers are used for potable water. The most important of these

shallow, non artesian aquifers is the Biscayne Aquifer underlying

Dade, Broward, and southern Palm Beach counties, which is the


only water supply for 54 percent of the state's population

(Parker et al., 1955). Fortunately, this aquifer is recharged

through local rainfall and infiltration of surface water from the

huge water conservation areas to the west. Another important non

artesian aquifer is the Sand and Gravel Aquifer (unconfined

sands), a major source of water in the extreme western Panhandle

(NWFWMD, 1979).


From an administrative perspective, the management

decisions regarding land use of recharge lands may be approached

either directly or indirectly, passively or aggressively. In

general, the options may fall into the following general


Develop land use plans to be used as a policy guide for

development for:

(a) specific, identified areas

(b) generally described areas according to

prescribed functions or identified physical


Prepare land use regulations to specifically deal with

recharge lands for:

(a) specified and/or mapped areas

(b) areas identified by function or other general


(c) These regulations might be restrictive types

such as zoning or

(d) may be inducer types such as transfer of

development rights.

Modify the property tax structure to accommodate

special function lands such as recharge areas.

In addition to these general program options there is

another series of options to consider. Namely, at what level of

government or private sector should the option be: (a) developed;

(b) critiqued; (c) implemented? The principle players from which

to choose might include local planning commissions, local elected

officials, water management districts, regional planning

councils, state agencies, state elected officials, developers and

other interested citizens.

Furthermore, the level of understanding of the problem, as

well as the magnitude of the problem, may be different in various

parts of the state, so that in some cases the solution to the

problem is harder to obtain than in other instances.

Therefore, what emerges is an option matrix from which

decision makers may choose, combine, accept, and reject. Figure


1 is a sample of such an option matrix which may help to

stimulate discussion.

The matrix may be used to decide who should play what role

in resolving this problem as well as the kinds of options

available. For example, in Item I. Data and Information

Gathering--there may be a role for local planners, water

management districts, regional planning councils and state

agencies. The data is often the key to how serious the problem

is and in this situation the data is varied across the state and

housed in various forms.

Item II would establish whether the solution should be a

restrictive type such as zoning or building codes, or perhaps an

inducer such TDR. (This might also include structural

alterations, such as artificial recharge through connector


Item III would include the general options already

itemized including planning, regulations, and taxing.

Item IV would specifically identify who is accountable for

what in solving this problem and how we know if that entity is

doing a good job.

Item V identifies fiscal impacts.

These elements in the matrix may be reviewed with respect

to the various levels of participants (including local, regional,

state) such that each level knows what they are responsible for.

Obviously, the matrix is not all-inclusive but hopefully provides

a springboard from which water recharge issues maybe addressed

systematically and objectively.


Figure 1: Options Matrix for Resolving the Problems of Managing Recharge Lands in Florida



o Government

o Others


o Government

o Others


o Government

o Others
Deve lopers

Data C Info.
(what is

Policy Goals
(who wants what)

Management and
Options (what can
be done)

ity (How to

Fiscal Impact

(Funding for
matrix activities)

4. 4 .1 L


By Mr. Don Morgan

October, 1983


Two major issues stand out from all others when

considering floodplain management:

1. What is the best use for floodplains--the storage and

conveyance of flood waters or development?

2. Who should make the decisions in planning for and

regulating the use of floodplains?

Under natural conditions in times of high water, low

riverine areas hold the overflow from the river (see Figure 1).

However, these overflow (floodplain) areas are being subdivided

and developed at an ever-increasing rate. Development may

include residences, mining, timber, public utilities, industry or

manufacturing, bridges, and agricultural activity. Flooding

adversely affects not only people and their property but also the

river. While septic tank failure, well contamination, road and

bridge damage, building structural damage, and even death may

occur during a major flood, the river can experience increased

siltation and runoff as well as contamination from septic tanks,

fertilizers, and pesticides.

Because flooding is a regional problem, federal, state,

and local governments have become involved, in a variety of ways,

in floodplain planning and management. The National Flood

Insurance Program requires that a community establish standards

for protecting development in floodplain areas from flood damage

in order to qualify the area for federally subsidized flood

insurance. Also, under state law, each local government must

adopt a comprehensive plan as a guide for growth and development

in accordance with the Local Government Comprehensive Planning

Act. Floodplain management can be addressed in several elements

of the plan including land use, conservation, open space, and

recreation. Zoning, subdivision regulations and building codes

also provide guidelines for land use and development. Each

county usually has its own set of ordinances, whether enforced or

not enforced. Rarely are these uniform from county to county.

However, regulatory goals must be consistent to successfully

implement a strict floodplain management program. Other agencies

such as U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and DER permit dredge and

fill operations and construction activities in floodplains.


The following account is taken from the article entitled

"The Jackson Flood of 1979, A Public Policy Disaster" by

Rutherford H. Platt in the American Planning Association Journal,

Spring 1982. It is presented here because it vividly

demonstrates the serious consequence of a "no-policy" floodplain

policy and the relative impotence of the present institutional

structure to address regional flooding.

Jackson, Mississippi, is located on the Pearl River. The

town, was founded on high ground above the Pearl. However,

development began spreading onto the adjoining floodplain. The

floodplain across the river was considered to be too wet for


Prompted by flooding in 1961, Congress approved funding

for a levee and channel straightening for the Pearl River near

Jackson. Development then began expanding rapidly in the

floodplain areas on both sides of the river.

Buoyed by the feeling that the levee was the ultimate

solution for flood control, enormous amounts of development took

place in the floodplain areas. A network of public roads and

bridges was constructed thereby causing growth in private

enterprise such as shopping centers, business, housing

developments, and apartment complexes. Public facilities such as

a new sewage treatment plant, electrical substations and a museum

also were constructed in this area.

Lack of effective land use regulations and planning

contributed to the dilemma. Zoning was changed to residential,

commercial, and industrial uses. The growth problem was further

compounded by the fact that the Pearl River floodplain at Jackson

fell under the jurisdiction of two counties, four municipalities,

and two special districts--Pearl River Valley Water Supply

District and the Rankins-Hind Urban Flood and Drainage Control

District. There seemed to be very little coordination among them

to limit development in this area. State and federal governments

who did have jurisdiction to discourage building in the

floodplain chose not to exercise their power.

The major function of the water supply district was the

control of a large dam. Although this water supply district was

given authority to aid flood control, the dam was not constructed

to control floods. It was used instead as a recreation spot for

the adjacent landowners whose taxes helped finance the district.

Only a small amount of floodwaters could be contained by this dam

by lowering the pool level.

The flood and drainage control district's function was to

provide land and easements for a federal flood control project

authorized by Congress in 1960. It would then operate and

maintain these facilities. These flood control projects were the

much acclaimed levees.


Neither of the counties had adopted any sort of floodplain

zoning. None of the four municipalities had any form of

floodplain building controls. The regional planning council and

the Corps of Engineers, although cautioning the people of the

flooding hazard, felt their roles were in the realm of

identifying areas subject to flooding and did not have the power

to carry out their own recommendations.

In April, 1979, the Pearl River added five additional feet

to the previous record levels and overran its banks. It

outflanked the Jackson levee. Damage was sustained by nearly

2,000 dwellings, and 298 commercial structures housing 730

businesses were flooded. Approximately 6,400 people fled from

the advancing waters. A new $54 billion sewage treatment plant

that had been built in the floodplain was damaged; and, of

course, other services including telephone, electricity, and fire

protection, were cut back considerably. The operators of the dam

tried to protect its integrity as well as maximize storage.

However, they were hampered by inadequate information about the

amount of stream runoff expected to reach the reservoir. Little

or no notice was given to persons downstream when large amounts

of water were released from the dam. When the river finally

peaked, the 6,400 residents that had fled the rising waters faced

up to 10 feet of water in their homes and months of cleanup.

This problem is not unique to Jackson, Mississippi.

Florida has also had many floods in the past; however, with the

tremendous increase in population in the last 20 years there are

parts of the state that could face a flooding disaster of the

same magnitude, if not worse, than Jackson. Central and southern

Florida, in particular, has drained and channelized the wetlands

in the past for agriculture. The lands around Lake Okeechobee

have been converted into farming areas, citrus groves, and

pastures for cattle grazing. More land was opened for

development bringing more and more people to the Sunshine State.

In addition to the draining and channelization of central

and southern Florida, land along Florida's rivers is in high

demand mainly for its aesthetic and resale value. This land is

being rapidly subdivided and developed. Along the Suwannee River

alone, 900 people were forced from their homes in 1973 due to

flood waters. By 1981 approximately 7,100 lots were within the

100-year floodplain. If these lots were developed over the next

20 years, using 2.5 persons per household as average, then

conceivably 17,750 persons would have to be evacuated if a 100-

year flood event occurred on the Suwannee River. A similar

crisis in central or southern Florida would have an even more

dramatic effect.

Development in the floodplain can actually increase the

flow of flood waters. Runoff is increased due to impervious

roofs and road surfaces, therefore increasing the amount of water

flowing to the river. If significant areas are paved or covered

with impervious material downstream, flood levels would be

increased even more. Cutting of channels and removal of

vegetation results in altered drainage patterns and higher

runoff. New roads, bridges and buildings act as dams creating a

backwater effect upstream. This in turn causes flooding in areas

that previously were not flooded.

Presently, the course for restriction of development is

haphazard at best. Like Jackson, there seems to be too little

coordination between local, county, state, and federal agencies.


Solutions to floodplain management fall into two

categories--nonregulatory and regulatory. Because the general

public is now looking to federal, state, and local authorities

for assistance, it is up to these authorities to implement a wide

and effective range of methods to lessen flood losses and protect

the floodplain.

1. Nonregulatory

A. Structural

A fairly obvious solution to floodplain management in the

realm of nonregulatory approaches is the physical control of the

action of the floodwaters. This would allow floodplain

development while holding losses down to a reasonable level.

These measures could include dams, levees, reservoirs, and

channels. Other modifications could include constructing

terraces and planting and maintaining vegetative cover to help

slow runoff. All of these structural measures are expensive and

require on-going maintenance. Furthermore, many of these

structures are subject to failure and all disrupt natural

conditions. As the Jackson, Mississippi example demonstrated,

structural solutions offer little protection from floods which

exceed their design level.

B. Non-structural

While structural solutions emphasize modification of the

watershed, the nonstructural approach recognizes the natural

hazards and values of lands in the floodplain and accepts their

land use limitations. One nonstructural approach is to simply

prohibit development in the floodplain. Other nonstructural

solutions include flood forecasting, warnings, and evacuation


plans; educating the public on flood hazards; voluntary

floodproofing; purchasing lands in the floodplains; and tax

adjustments to encourage open space.

2. Regulatory

Regulatory approaches should also be examined in the

floodplain management question. To avoid the "no-policy"

floodplain policy consequences, planning for the present and

future should also be considered. The nature of flooding is such

that private citizens and local units of government cannot

adequately respond to the problem. Therefore, it is up to

federal, state, and local governments to become involved in

floodplain planning and management programs.

A. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which is

administered by the Federal Emergency Management

Agency (FEMA) could be used for reducing future

losses due to flooding. It should be a "must" for

communities that wish to develop floodplain lands.

This program requires that a community establish

standards for protecting development from flood

damage. These requirements must be strictly

enforced. If the standards are inadequate or not

strictly enforced, it will only encourage development

in the floodplain. This insurance does provide some

compensation for property damage caused by flooding.

The costs are spread over a large number of people

that are exposed to similar risks. FEMA could also

be used to help in providing flood hazard maps,

developing regulations, and technical assistance.

B. Legislative initiative could be used to set policy

as to who would make the decisions in floodplain

planning and regulation. If special enabling acts do

not exist, these could be enacted by special

statutory provisions. Agriculture, an element often

left out, would need to be addressed as would local

governmental uses, such as schools, roads, bridges,

and sewer plants. Cost allocations and

responsibilities should be defined. Such policy

would settle the ambivalence on the part of numerous

local entities by fixing responsibility to a certain

agency or agencies. This would, in turn, establish

consistent policy statewide, which is definitely


Pre-disaster contingency plans would further cut losses

from flooding. A disaster preparedness policy would give

warnings of floods before they happen and would provide accurate

forecasts. Such a policy would also help emergency protection

and rescue operations during the flood and to assist in recovery

and rehabilitation afterwards. As the timing in a flooding


situation is critical, this plan must be able to be effected on

very short notice.

C. On the local level, floodplain management could be

addressed in the comprehensive plans required in the

Local Government Comprehensive Planning Act. These

plans act as guides for growth and development.

Management of overflow areas could be addressed under

the land use, conservation, and/or recreation


D. Zoning, building, and subdivision regulations, which

are consistent from county to county, could be

developed for use in the development of the

floodplain area. These regulations and ordinances

could impose standards in floodplain areas for the

use of structures and land. This would be especially

effective if accurate flood maps were available.

Because private land development depends on public

utilities, policies governing the location,

construction, design, and use of public buildings,

sewers, roads, utilities, and so forth can be

effective in limiting development. Again, these

regulations have to be strictly enforced to work.

While exclusive state control or exclusive local control

has advantages, a combination of regulatory provisions may be

more satisfactory. Since the state more than likely has access

to more expertise than local governments, a state agency may be

given authority to study, plan, and regulate certain classes of

floodplain areas, to help local entities develop their regulatory

programs, and to regulate general development in floodplain areas

where local units fail to adopt satisfactory regulations. The

state agency may also be used to coordinate data gathered from

local, state, and federal agencies and provide much-needed

expertise in permit review. It may also be a more appropriate

unit for the regulation of governmental uses such as roads,

bridges, levees, and sewage treatment works. A state agency

could also adopt areawide regulations where local restrictions

are politically unfeasible. However, local adoption of

regulations in floodplain areas may result in better cooperation

of landowners and may provide speed and efficiency in



Figure 1


1. REGULATORY FLOODWAY-Kept open to carry floodwater-no building or fill.
2. REGULATORY FLOODWAY FRINGE-Use permitted if protected by fill, flood proofed or
otherwise protected.
3. REGULATORY FLOOD LIMIT-Based on technical study-outer limit of the floodway fringe.
4. STANDARD PROJECT FLOOD (SPF) LIMIT-Area subject to possible flooding by very large

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