The Florida Legislature
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Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Wetland Mitigation, Report No. 99-40, March 2000
 
Full report in PDF format


Florida Law directed the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) to review wetland mitigation options defined in state law. These options include onsite mitigation, offsite mitigation, offsite regional mitigation, and the purchase of mitigation credits from mitigation banks. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and four water management districts jointly administer the Environmental Resource Permit Program. The program regulates activities that alter the landscape and disrupt water flow to wetland areas and surface waters. Our review focused on
  • the effectiveness of the current mitigation options in offsetting adverse impacts to wetlands and wetland functions, including the consideration of cumulative impacts;
  • the cost of the various mitigation options; and
  • statutory or rule changes needed to increase the effectiveness of mitigation strategies.
We concluded that the state has made improvements to regulatory practices and permit conditions. However, the department and the districts need to take additional measures to ensure that mitigation fully offsets functions lost at impacted wetlands.

We made several recommendations.

  • The Legislature should require the department and the districts to develop and adopt a statewide mitigation assessment methodology by June 30, 2001.
  • Independent third parties should approve memorandums of agreement for public offsite regional mitigation areas, specifying the responsibilities of all parties involved and contain specific requirements.
  • The Legislature should require the department and the districts to provide additional regulatory guidance for cumulative impact assessment and, where necessary, redelineate drainage basins.
  • The Legislature should amend state law to require the department and districts to develop rules addressing a new mitigation option for single-family landowners.
  • The Legislature should amend state law to require the department and the districts to each file an annual report of permitted wetland activities following certain criteria.

Which Government Program Summaries contain related information?

Department of Environmental Protection
Water Management Districts

What other OPPAGA-related materials are available?

  • Report No. 01-40 Policy Review: Cumulative Impact Consideration in Environmental Resource Permitting, published in September 2001.
  • Report No. 12211 A Review of the Management and Storage of Surface Waters Program Administered by the Water Management Districts Under the General Supervision of the Department of Environmental Protection, published in December 1993.

Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by telephone (850/488-0021), by FAX (850/487-9213), in person, or by mail (OPPAGA Report Production, Claude Pepper Building, Room 312, 111 W. Madison St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475).
e-mail address: oppaga@oppaga.fl.gov


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