Regulatory Methodology and Unmitigated Wetland Loss in SW Florida

Regulatory Methodology and Unmitigated Wetland Loss in SW Florida

A Comparison of Documented Wetland Alterations vs. Alterations Detected by Remote Sensing

LAP Lambert Academic Publishing ( 2019-09-09 )

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This research used Geographical Information System (GIS) data to estimate the acreage of wetland loss due to small-scale activities (taking into account exempt, permitted, and unauthorized activities) in the Southwest District of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) between 2006 and 2011 and compared that with the unmitigated wetland net loss that DEP documented during that time for authorized activities and violations that were discovered. FDEP records show that 88% of non-compliance cases remain unresolved. Evidence shows that many of the water features categorized as wetlands in the GIS interface are reservoirs which do not provide the functions necessary to mitigate for wetland loss. Evidence also shows that many small-scale wetland alterations were not detected by remote sensing, indicating that there is a great level of uncertainty in the GIS interpretation. Consequently, achievement of the No Net Loss goal in Florida cannot be determined using documented alterations, nor can it be determined by use of medium-high resolution aerial imagery. The analysis can be extrapolated to the rest of Florida, where State wetland protection regulations are constant.

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By (author) :

Kathleen Castor

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General Natural Sciences