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DEP 101: Wetlands

Florida wetlands are areas that are inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater at a frequency and a duration sufficient to support a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soils. Wetlands are vital to the health of the environment because they remove and filter pollutants. Wetland plants and soils trap and take up pollutants, which helps keep water suitable for swimming, fishing and drinking.

The depth of water on wetlands varies, and they often serve as temporary storage for surplus water, thereby reducing flooding. Wetlands also support a wide array of fish and wildlife, which in turn supports the commercial fishing industry, tourism and other recreation industries.

Both state and federal permits may be required to alter wetlands and other surface waters. The Environmental Resource Permit Program within the Department of Environmental Protection regulates the construction, alteration, maintenance, removal, modification and operation of all activities in uplands, wetlands and all other surface waters that alter, divert and change the flow of surface waters.

All state and local agencies use the same method to determine wetland boundaries based on chapter 62- 340 in the Florida Administrative Code. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers holds it own definition and standards for wetlands at a federal level. The differences in methods may produce different wetland boundaries in some situations.

Last Modified:
April 11, 2018 - 1:23pm

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