FDEP Moving Forward with Policy Putting Wetlands at Risk Despite Ongoing National Emergency
Despite the previous objections by thousands of commenters, Governor DeSantis’ administration has moved forward with a program that will put our wetlands at risk. A new policy rule was published in February 2020 that would allow the state of Florida to sidestep critical federal wetlands protections.
Take action to tell the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) that you object to this new policy and ask them to reverse course.
Florida is home to the largest wetland ecosystem in the lower 48 states. Florida’s wetlands are vital to maintaining its unique ecosystems. Wetlands store excess water after heavy rainfall and serve as protective buffers against intense storms. Wetlands naturally restore water quality and treat the agricultural and stormwater runoff which fuels toxic algae blooms.
If FDEP doesn’t change course, developers will get their way and construction projects in wetlands could be fast-tracked. The newly published rule would pave the way for the state of Florida to take on the federal Clean Water Act authority of issuing Section 404 “dredge and fill” permits (the authorizations needed to destroy wetlands for development). Under this proposal, federal protections that safeguard wetlands, fisheries, historical resources, and endangered species, will be negated.
Our wetlands are critically important to the state’s economic well-being and its residents’ quality of life. Florida is already developing at a breakneck speed, putting enormous pressure on limited, natural resources.
FDEP is proceeding with the public comment window on this proposal despite being in the midst of a pandemic emergency when families are focused on their health, communities, and jobs. The Conservancy and others have requested FDEP provide a reasonable extension for the comment window until the public is safe and able to fully participate.
Send a message to protect our wetlands from overdevelopment. Please tell the state of Florida to abandon the 404 assumption program.
Send an email to protect our wetlands from overdevelopment. Please copy and paste the information below to tell the state of Florida to abandon the 404 assumption program.
Dear FDEP Secretary Valenstein and Ms. Mason:
I oppose assumption of the 404 permit program by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
- I am troubled that the FDEP’s comment window has not been appropriately extended, given the global health emergency continuing to impact the public’s ability to participate fully in this important issue.
- Federal protections inherent in the current process help to preserve our natural resources and the state of Florida rules cannot replicate or replace these foundational laws.
- The state assumption proposal will jeopardize our state’s over 100 imperiled species because it will shortchange the current process by which the agencies review impacts of development on endangered species.
- Florida is home to the largest wetland ecosystem in the lower 48 states.
- Wetlands store excess water after heavy rainfall and serve as protective buffers against intense storms. Wetlands naturally restore water quality and treat agricultural and stormwater runoff which fuels toxic algae blooms.
- Florida is already developing at a breakneck speed, which puts enormous pressure on our natural resources. Wetland destruction permitting is not something that should be fast-tracked.
The protection of our vital wetlands is necessary to a thriving Florida. Please abandon your efforts to pursue 404 permitting assumption and keep the federal protections Florida’s wetlands depend on.