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Rulemaking on Wetland Uniform Mitigation Assessment Methodology

Posted Friday, June 12th, 2015

Rulemaking is underway to amend Florida’s wetland uniform mitigation assessment methodology (UMAM rule), which is the method by which wetland impacts and mitigation lift are calculated across all state and local programs. UMAM is also used, in modified format, by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) for Section 404 permitting in Florida. Formal rulemaking has not yet been initiated, but rule development has been underway with stakeholder and regulator workgroups for more than a year. The resultant work product has been a web-based worksheet that will create more uniformity and consistency by creating questions with a defined suite of responses to assess community structure, location/landscape support, and water environment.

Two “subworksheets” were developed specifically to address community types that were difficult to assess under the current rule, hard-bottomed communities (i.e., coral) and streams. Another public workshop on final draft of the new UMAM worksheet was held on June 3, 2015, with a focus on the recently completed draft hard-bottomed community worksheet. The Corps is still field testing the stream and hard-bottom components of the worksheet but hopes to sign on to this version much sooner than it did the original UMAM. Final comments on the draft are requested by June 15, 2015, and draft rule language to amend UMAM rule to reference the worksheet, make some minor changes, and add some mitigation-bank specific language will be circulated to interested parties soon. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection expects to publish notice of the proposed rules by the end of June. Thereafter, once the rule goes final there will be a 6 month lag time in effective date to allow for development of an implementation manual (i.e., instruction manual) for use of the worksheet and to allow, time permitting, training.

For additional information contact Susan Stephens.

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