Regional Mitigation Plan
Under section 373.4137, Florida Statutes (FS), the Northwest Florida Water Management District (NFWWMD) offers mitigation services, as an option, to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for road projects with unavoidable wetland impacts when the use of private mitigation banks is not feasible (the NWFWMD does not compete with private mitigation banks). As required by this statute, a regional mitigation plan has been developed, and is annually updated, to address FDOT mitigation needs submitted to the NWFWMD. Components of the Regional Mitigation Plan include the Sand Hill Lakes Mitigation Bank, the federally-permitted In-Lieu Fee Program, and other mitigation projects.
Approval from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) is obtained before the NWFWMD proceeds with implementation of any mitigation project. If the NWFWMD identifies use of a private mitigation bank to offset an impact that has been submitted by FDOT, that project is excluded from the mitigation program and it is the responsibility of FDOT to purchase mitigation bank credits.
Since 1997, the NWFWMD mitigation program has implemented over 30 projects for FDOT needs. In July, 2009, the Regional Mitigation Plan Review Team (consisting of representatives from NWFWMD, FDOT, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Fish & Wildlife Service, US National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission) received an Interagency Partnership Award from the Transportation Research Board.