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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XXVIII
NATURAL RESOURCES; CONSERVATION, RECLAMATION, AND USE
Chapter 373
WATER RESOURCES
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F.S. 373.4137
373.4137 Mitigation requirements for specified transportation projects.
(1) The Legislature finds that environmental mitigation for the impact of transportation projects proposed by the Department of Transportation or a transportation authority established pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349 can be more effectively achieved by regional, long-range mitigation planning rather than on a project-by-project basis. It is the intent of the Legislature that mitigation to offset the adverse effects of these transportation projects be funded by the Department of Transportation and be carried out by the use of mitigation banks and any other mitigation options that satisfy state and federal requirements in a manner that promotes efficiency, timeliness in project delivery, and cost-effectiveness.
(2) Environmental impact inventories for transportation projects proposed by the Department of Transportation or a transportation authority established pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349 shall be developed as follows:
(a) By July 1 of each year, the Department of Transportation, or a transportation authority established pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349 which chooses to participate in the program, shall submit to the water management districts a list of its projects in the adopted work program and an environmental impact inventory of habitat impacts and the anticipated mitigation needed to offset impacts as described in paragraph (b). The environmental impact inventory must be based on the rules adopted pursuant to this part, s. 404 of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. s. 1344, and the Department of Transportation’s plan of construction for transportation projects in the next 3 years of the tentative work program. The Department of Transportation or a transportation authority established pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349 may also include in its environmental impact inventory the habitat impacts and the anticipated amount of mitigation needed for any future transportation project. The Department of Transportation and each transportation authority established pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349 may fund any mitigation activities for future projects using current year funds.
(b) The environmental impact inventory must include a description of habitat impacts, including location, acreage, and type; the anticipated mitigation needed based on the functional loss as determined through the uniform mitigation assessment method adopted by the Department of Environmental Protection by rule pursuant to s. 373.414(18); identification of the proposed mitigation option; state water quality classification of impacted wetlands and other surface waters; any other state or regional designations for these habitats; and a list of threatened species, endangered species, and species of special concern affected by the proposed project.
(c) Before projects are identified for inclusion in a water management district mitigation plan as described in subsection (4), the Department of Transportation must consider using credits from a permitted mitigation bank. The Department of Transportation must consider the availability of suitable and sufficient mitigation bank credits within the transportation project’s area, the ability to satisfy commitments to regulatory and resource agencies, the availability of suitable and sufficient mitigation purchased or developed under this section, the ability to complete suitable existing water management district or Department of Environmental Protection mitigation sites initiated with Department of Transportation mitigation funds, and the ability to satisfy state and federal requirements, including long-term maintenance and liability.
(3)(a) To implement the mitigation option identified in the environmental impact inventory described in subsection (2), the Department of Transportation may purchase credits for current and future use directly from a mitigation bank, purchase mitigation services through the water management districts or the Department of Environmental Protection, conduct its own mitigation, or use other mitigation options that meet state and federal requirements. Funding for the identified mitigation option as described in the environmental impact inventory must be included in the Department of Transportation’s work program developed pursuant to s. 339.135. The amount programmed each year by the Department of Transportation and participating transportation authorities established pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349 must correspond to an estimated cost to mitigate for the functional loss identified in the environmental impact inventory described in subsection (2).
(b) Each transportation authority established pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349 which chooses to participate in this program shall create an escrow account within its financial structure and deposit funds in the account to pay for the environmental mitigation phase of projects budgeted for the current fiscal year. The escrow account shall be maintained by the authority for the benefit of the water management districts. Any interest earnings from the escrow account must remain with the authority.
(c) For mitigation implemented by the water management district or the Department of Environmental Protection, as appropriate, the amount paid each year must be based on mitigation services provided by the water management districts or the Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to an approved water management district mitigation plan, as described in subsection (4). The water management districts or the Department of Environmental Protection, as appropriate, may request payment no sooner than 30 days before the date the funds are needed to pay for activities associated with development or implementation of permitted mitigation that meets the requirements of this part, 33 U.S.C. s. 1344, and 33 C.F.R. part 332, in the approved water management district mitigation plan described in subsection (4) for the current fiscal year. The projected amount of mitigation shall be reconciled each quarter with the actual amount of mitigation needed for projects as permitted, including permit modifications, pursuant to this part and s. 404 of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. s. 1344. The subject year’s programming of funds shall be adjusted to reflect the mitigation as permitted. If the water management district excludes a project from an approved water management district mitigation plan, if the water management district cannot timely permit a mitigation site to offset the impacts of a Department of Transportation project identified in the environmental impact inventory, or if the proposed mitigation does not meet state and federal requirements, the Department of Transportation may use the associated funds for the purchase of mitigation bank credits or any other mitigation option that satisfies state and federal requirements. Upon final payment for mitigation of a transportation project as permitted, the obligation of the Department of Transportation or the participating transportation authority is satisfied, and the water management district or the Department of Environmental Protection, as appropriate, has continuing responsibility for the mitigation project.
(d) Beginning with the March 2015 water management district mitigation plans, each water management district or the Department of Environmental Protection, as appropriate, shall invoice the Department of Transportation for mitigation services to offset only the impacts of a Department of Transportation project identified in the environmental impact inventory, including planning, design, construction, maintenance and monitoring, and other costs necessary to meet the requirements of this section, 33 U.S.C. s. 1344, and 33 C.F.R. part 332. If the water management district identifies the use of mitigation bank credits to offset a Department of Transportation impact, the water management district shall exclude that purchase from the mitigation plan, and the Department of Transportation shall purchase the bank credits.
(e) For mitigation activities occurring on existing water management district or Department of Environmental Protection mitigation sites initiated with Department of Transportation mitigation funds before July 1, 2013, the water management district or the Department of Environmental Protection, as appropriate, shall invoice the Department of Transportation or a participating transportation authority at a cost per acre of $75,000 multiplied by the projected acres of impact as identified in the environmental impact inventory. The cost per acre must be adjusted by the percentage change in the average of the Consumer Price Index issued by the United States Department of Labor for the most recent 12-month period ending September 30, compared to the base year average, which is the average for the 12-month period ending September 30, 1996. When implementing the mitigation activities necessary to offset the permitted impacts as provided in the approved mitigation plan, the water management district shall maintain records of the costs incurred in implementing the mitigation. The records must include, but are not limited to, costs for planning, land acquisition, design, construction, staff support, long-term maintenance and monitoring of the mitigation site, and other costs necessary to meet the requirements of 33 U.S.C. s. 1344 and 33 C.F.R. part 332.
(4) Before March 1 of each year, each water management district shall develop a mitigation plan to offset only the impacts of transportation projects in the environmental impact inventory for which a water management district is implementing mitigation that meets the requirements of this section, 33 U.S.C. s. 1344, and 33 C.F.R. part 332. The water management district mitigation plan must be developed in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Transportation, participating transportation authorities established pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349, other appropriate federal, state, and local governments, and other interested parties, including entities operating mitigation banks. In developing such plans, the water management districts shall use sound ecosystem management practices to address significant water resource needs and consider activities of the Department of Environmental Protection and the water management districts, such as surface water improvement and management (SWIM) projects and lands identified for potential acquisition for preservation, restoration, or enhancement, and the control of invasive and exotic plants in wetlands and other surface waters, to the extent that the activities comply with the mitigation requirements adopted under this part, 33 U.S.C. s. 1344, and 33 C.F.R. part 332. The water management district mitigation plan must identify each site where the water management district will mitigate for a transportation project. For each mitigation site, the water management district shall provide the scope of the mitigation services; provide the functional gain as determined through the uniform mitigation assessment method adopted by the Department of Environmental Protection by rule pursuant to s. 373.414(18); describe how the mitigation offsets the impacts of each transportation project as permitted; and provide a schedule for the mitigation services. The water management districts shall maintain records of costs incurred and payments received for providing these services. Records must include, but are not limited to, planning, land acquisition, design, construction, staff support, long-term maintenance and monitoring of the mitigation site, and other costs necessary to meet the requirements of 33 U.S.C. s. 1344 and 33 C.F.R. part 332. To the extent moneys paid to a water management district by the Department of Transportation or a participating transportation authority are greater than the amount spent by the water management districts in providing the mitigation services to offset the permitted transportation project impacts, these moneys must be refunded to the Department of Transportation or participating transportation authority. The mitigation plan shall be submitted to the water management district governing board or its designee for review and approval. At least 14 days before approval by the governing board, the water management district shall provide a copy of the draft mitigation plan to the Department of Environmental Protection and any person who has requested a copy. Subsequent to the governing board approval, the mitigation plan shall be submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection for approval. The plan may not be implemented until it is submitted to, and approved in part or in its entirety by, the Department of Environmental Protection.
(a) Specific projects may be excluded from the mitigation plan, in whole or in part, and are not subject to this section upon the election of the Department of Transportation, a transportation authority if applicable, or the appropriate water management district. The Department of Transportation or a participating transportation authority may not exclude a transportation project from the mitigation plan if mitigation is scheduled for implementation by the water management district in the current fiscal year unless the transportation project is removed from the Department of Transportation’s work program or transportation authority funding plan, the mitigation cannot be timely permitted to offset the impacts of a Department of Transportation project identified in the environmental impact inventory, or the proposed mitigation does not meet state and federal requirements. If a project is removed from the work program or the mitigation plan, costs spent by the water management district before removal are eligible for reimbursement by the Department of Transportation or participating transportation authority.
(b) When determining which projects to include in or exclude from the mitigation plan, the Department of Transportation shall investigate using credits from a permitted mitigation bank before those projects are submitted for inclusion in a water management district mitigation plan. The Department of Transportation shall exclude a project from the mitigation plan if the investigation undertaken pursuant to this paragraph results in the conclusion that the use of credits from a permitted mitigation bank promotes efficiency, timeliness in project delivery, cost-effectiveness, and transfer of liability for success and long-term maintenance.
(5) The water management district shall ensure that mitigation requirements pursuant to 33 U.S.C. s. 1344 and 33 C.F.R. part 332 are met for the impacts identified in the environmental impact inventory for which the water management district will implement mitigation described in subsection (2), by implementation of the approved mitigation plan described in subsection (4) to the extent funding is provided by the Department of Transportation, or a transportation authority established pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349, if applicable. In developing and implementing the mitigation plan, the water management district shall comply with federal permitting requirements pursuant to 33 U.S.C. s. 1344 and 33 C.F.R. part 332. During the federal permitting process, the water management district may deviate from the approved mitigation plan in order to comply with federal permitting requirements upon notice and coordination with the Department of Transportation or participating transportation authority.
(6) The water management district mitigation plans shall be updated annually to reflect the most current Department of Transportation work program and project list of a transportation authority established pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349, if applicable, and may be amended throughout the year to anticipate schedule changes or additional projects that may arise. Before amending the mitigation plan to include new projects, the Department of Transportation must consider mitigation banks and other available mitigation options that meet state and federal requirements. Each update and amendment of the mitigation plan shall be submitted to the governing board of the water management district or its designee for approval. However, such approval shall not apply to a deviation as described in subsection (5).
(7) Upon approval by the governing board of the water management district and the Department of Environmental Protection, the mitigation plan shall satisfy the mitigation requirements under this part for impacts specifically identified in the environmental impact inventory described in subsection (2) and any other mitigation requirements imposed by local, regional, and state agencies for these same impacts. The approval of the governing board of the water management district and the Department of Environmental Protection authorizes the activities proposed in the mitigation plan, and no other state, regional, or local permit or approval is necessary.
(8) This section does not eliminate the need for the Department of Transportation or a transportation authority established pursuant to chapter 348 or chapter 349 to comply with the requirement to implement practicable design modifications, including realignment of transportation projects, to reduce or eliminate the impacts of its transportation projects on wetlands and other surface waters as required by rules adopted pursuant to this part, or to diminish the authority under this part to regulate other impacts, including water quantity or water quality impacts, or impacts regulated under this part which are not identified in the environmental impact inventory described in subsection (2).
History.s. 1, ch. 96-238; s. 36, ch. 99-385; s. 1, ch. 2000-261; s. 93, ch. 2002-20; s. 39, ch. 2004-269; s. 30, ch. 2005-71; s. 12, ch. 2005-281; s. 1, ch. 2009-11; s. 3, ch. 2012-174; s. 22, ch. 2014-223; s. 5, ch. 2016-11.