Five Important Environmental Topics
You Should Know About
There are five Environmental Hot Topics that can affect your developments. We describe them in summary fashion below, with links to a more detailed discussion included. Our team is monitoring these and other important topics and have experience navigating these issues. Please contact us should you have any questions regarding how these topics may affect your projects.
1. WOTUS Final Rule
The United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers have promulgated a final rule regarding Waters of the United States (WOTUS) set to take effect on March 19, 2023. The rule adopted the relatively permanent waters and the significant nexus tests, which appears to signal a desire for future flexibility in expanding jurisdictional waters. The American Farm Bureau Federation, among others, has filed a legal challenge to this new WOTUS rule. Read more.
2. Florida Imperiled Species Tool
Planning or in the process of executing a development project in Florida? This tool provides easy access to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission’s Species Conservation Measures and Permitting Guidelines which help avoid and minimize incidental “take” of state listed species, and determine if a permit may be needed. Read more.
3. Florida Stormwater Rulemaking
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the state’s water management districts are expected to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking in the third week of February 2023 regarding stormwater system design criteria. Six rule development workshops have been held to date. The proposed rule aims to increase consistency in design criteria across the state, to support the effective protection of the state’s water resources and reduce the presence of excess nutrients in waterbodies. Read more.
4. USFWS Opts to Not List Eastern
Population of Gopher Tortoises Under ESA
After rigorous analysis of available scientific and commercial data, the US Fish & Wildlife Service has decided not to list the eastern population of Gopher Tortoises – which includes those in Florida – under the Endangered Species Act, while the western population continues to meet the definition of a threatened species under the Act. Future changes to state protections could lead to a reevaluation of existing regulatory mechanisms. Read more.
5. USFWS Proposes to De-List the
Wood Stork in Florida
The USFWS intends to delist the Southeastern population of the wood stork, such that it will no longer be protected under the Endangered Species Act. Read more.