That is why the State of Florida enacted The Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act. 1996 Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act; University of Florida IFAS (Extension Office) Contact Us Coral Gables City Hall 405 Biltmore Way Coral Gables, FL 33134 Tel: 305-446-6800 Fax: 305-460-5371 Hearing or Speech Impaired Telecommunication: TTY/TDD: 305-442-1600 Contact Us. 1, ch. Mangroves can be trimmed in a variety of ways to provide a pleasing view while protecting the health of the tree. The full damage, still contested, is not yet known. The riparian right to a view is often impacted by mangroves, and homeowners often desire to trim or remove mangroves to expand their view of a waterway. It would be hard to overstate the value of the coastal environment. Rules for Trimming of Mangroves in Pinellas County. Great for crabs, fish and birds. As long as a few leaves remained, no problem. And many times, they hear from fishermen or others ratting on their neighbors for hacking down the trees. s. 1, ch. Devnani said he considers himself a nature lover--but he wanted his view back. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. To make matters worse, the state environmental agency basically threw up its hands, saying the new legislation took away most--if not all--of the agency’s enforcement powers. Mangroves--the red, white and black species--grow at the water’s edge in tropical Florida, where their roots, leaves and branches nurture osprey, eagles and endangered wading birds. About DEP. This ability to move into the water means mangroves help create new islands and land. DEP may also require the purchase of “mitigation credits.” Those credits can be purchased from a “mitigation bank,” which is a property that is placed into permanent conservation in exchange for the right to put mitigation credits up for sale. Before taking any action concerning the trimming or removal of mangroves, homeowners should be familiar with the legal requirements and implications of their actions. They also support a vast commercial and recreational fishery, providing shelter and food for snook, trout, snappers and tarpon. After the general permit requirements are followed, subsequent maintenance of the mangrove height is allowed under the exemption rules. In 1996, the state passed the Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act to provide that protection, she pointed out. After a brief description of mangroves and their environmental significance, this article provides an overview of riparian rights and outlines the provisions of the Mangrove Act most critical to Florida’s waterfront homeowners. Staff biologists and arborists work closely with homeowners and trimmers to protect the important … Finally, the Mangrove Act provides for enforcement requirements. Legislative, Lobbying and Governmental Affairs, Administrative, Civil and Appellate Litigation, https://coast.noaa.gov/data/docs/states/shorelines.pdf, https://www.llw-law.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/General-Overview-of-Riparian-Rights-in-Florida.pdf. The State of Florida has over 8,000 miles of coastline[i], second only to Alaska among U.S. states. History. In some spots, trees were cut to the ground. Do not send any confidential information to us, unless and until a formal attorney-client relationship has been established, as memorialized in a formal, written engagement agreement. The black mangrove’s leaves are able to excrete excess salt absorbed into the tree, resulting in visible salt crystals forming on their underside. These professionals may be arborists, wetland scientists, ecologists, or others who can meet the statutory guidelines.[v]. § 403.9329 provides the qualifications and requirements to be certified as a Professional Mangrove Trimmer. If greater than 150 feet, only 65% of its length can be trimmed. The new rules, affecting stores, playgrounds and gatherings, are less severe than the stay-at-home order initiated in the spring. Other mangrove stands, they admit, might be more precious. It is important to note that homeowners may only use a general permit once for a property. In order to qualify as an exemption from the permitting requirements, the desired mangrove trimming must meet certain strict criteria. Since 1950, development in the state has resulted in the loss of “roughly 80% of our mangrove shorelines.” Yet, she continued, mangroves are vital in the environment. What’s open and closed amid L.A.’s stricter COVID rules. DEP reviews individual permits using the criteria found in Section 373.414, Florida Statutes. Forget the imperiled Everglades. For if nature can be ruthless and efficient, so can humans. A Professional Mangrove Trimmer must perform all work carried out under the general permit. Homeowners, or in some instances a Professional Mangrove Trimmer, can pursue these activities without any interaction with government agencies. The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners subsequently adopted a countywide ordinance regulating the trimming of mangroves. Whether the activity will adversely affect navigation or the flow of water or cause harmful erosion or shoaling. The information provided at this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Whether the activity will adversely affect the public health, safety, or welfare or the property of others. If red mangroves are being trimmed for the first time, notice to DEP must be provided. All three species grow in close proximity to one another, but each is specially adapted to inhabit a different area of the shoreline. Overview of the Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act. That is why the State of Florida enacted The Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act. [vi] Under the Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act, local governments can seek to be delegated permitting authority for mangrove trimming within their jurisdiction. This article will help homeowners understand their rights and the regulations concerning any mangroves that exist on, or adjacent to, their property. State Authorized Professional Mangrove Trimmers (PMTs) S. 403.9329 of the Mangrove Act states the qualifications for persons considered to be ‘professional mangrove trimmers’ and states the requirements for persons who desire to be state mangrove trimmers. IV. The third distinction found throughout the Mangrove Act concerns the height of the mangrove trees prior to trimming. In 1995, the Florida Legislature sought to balance environmental protection and homeowners rights when it passed the “Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act,” (hereinafter, the “Mangrove Act”). The mangroves must qualify as a “mangrove fringe,” i.e. The higher level of scrutiny and potential for mitigation requirements makes the hiring of an environmental scientist practically mandatory when seeking an individual permit. To qualify as a Fringe, the mangrove area must measure no more than 50 feet from the most landward mangrove trunk to the trunk of the most waterward tree. Many homeowners aspire to live on the coast so they can enjoy the waterfront lifestyle. The black mangrove is also salt tolerant, and a system of roots protrude up from the ground like a carpet of pencils, providing air to the root system and protecting it during flooding. The full text can be accessed online at: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/. The Act does allow homeowners to trim mangroves that have been legally trimmed previously. In an effort to preserve and protect the remaining mangroves in the county, the Board of County Commissioners sought and received a delegation from the state of Florida to enforce the state’s Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act. The 1996 Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act (MTPA) is overseen by the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation. The red mangrove occupies shallow water, and is nicknamed the “walking mangrove” because its recognizable tangle of aerial prop roots makes it appear as though the tree is taking a stroll out into the water. And so, Republican state Rep. Jack Latvala from the Tampa area pledged he was going to take a stand. Increased population also means increased pollution, reduced natural habitat, and greater demand for water and recreational access. Critics like Latvala said it was a royal pain in the neck. The Reed decision led to the 1995 Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act, which substantially changed Florida's mangrove protection statutes. The MTPA governs how mangroves are managed in the state, unless you live in one of the delegated local governments. (1) The Legislature finds that there are over 555,000 acres of mangroves now existing in Florida. The commissioners voted unanimously to have their staff gain the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's approval to enforce the state's Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act. Public health officials in some counties are warning that unless the coronavirus surge can be stopped, hospitals could run out of beds in weeks. Lawton Chiles signed, Latvala’s controversial Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act of 1995. For trees greater than 16 feet in height, only 25% of their foliage can be removed annually. For more information, contact Kathryn Rossmell at firstname.lastname@example.org and Seth Behn and email@example.com. They make up Florida’s southern and aquatic vegetation salt-water areas. Mangroves are protected by the State's "Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act" and the enforcement of this statute has been delegated to Pinellas County. The Pinellas County Commission subsequently adopted a Countywide ordinance regulating the trimming of mangroves. The second important regulatory distinction differentiates between most mangrove trimming and trimming in what is described as the “Riparian Mangrove Fringe.” Trimming within a Riparian Mangrove Fringe is exempt from certain requirements. [v] Fla. Stat. The general permit process requires a higher level of authorization, and a Professional Mangrove Trimmer must perform all trimming undertaken per a general permit. The Mangrove Act attempts to walk this tightrope by limiting mangrove trimming without outright banning alterations. Due to their ecological importance, mangroves have long enjoyed protection through State of Florida regulations concerning removal and trimming. Gatherings with anyone other than household members is banned in new county protocols. The act repealed existing statutes that regulated the trimming of mangroves and replaced them with several new statutes that reduce the amount of permitting and paperwork required for that activity. Since the 1940s, about 86% of the mangroves in Florida have been lost—50% in the Tampa Bay region alone. What you do — how we ALL act in the next six weeks — will make the difference between an inconvenient fall and a disaster that will take years to overcome. And yet, the conservationists and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection also are being blamed for the massacre--for promulgating rules and regulations in the past that critics say were so complicated, so mind-numbingly detailed and unrealistic, that the current backlash was almost inevitable. The Mangrove Act creates three regulatory schemes, which are overseen by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) oversees[vi]. The roots of the red mangrove filter the salt out of ocean and brackish water, providing fresh water to the tree. This is also true for mangroves previously trimmed under a general permit, but for which additional or greater trimming is now desired. When canvassing the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) offices state wide, she had been recommended to him by every DEP office he contacted within Florida as "the expert" on mangrove trimming. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has been working under the current Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act since 1996. The state’s environmental regulators often insisted on visiting the site and battling with property owners over each cut. Florida’s popularity also generates concerns for the health of the environment. Mangroves aren’t just beneficial; they’re essential. Latvala hoped his new law would simplify the process. Yes, You Can Have Mangroves and Still Have a View. While the general permit requires the homeowner (or homeowner’s agent) to file a notice with DEP, this notice is relatively straightforward, and DEP must take action on the notice within 30 days or it is deemed approved. Yutzy strongly suggests that customers allow our company of experts to take care of mangroves to abide by those detailed laws. Mangroves cannot be greater than 24 feet in height before trimming. As of the date of this paper, the local governments that have assumed mangrove permitting authority are: Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Town of Jupiter Island, City of Sanibel, and Sarasota County. The property shoreline length must be less than 150 feet. Since each perform a special job in the ecosystem, the alteration and trimming of mangroves is governed by Sections 403.9321-403.9333, Florida Statutes, of the Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act. Yet the state legislators and the courts recognize the value and importance of a homeowner’s riparian rights, including the right of access and a view. [ii] The “Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act” encompasses Sections 403.9321 through 403.9333, Florida Statutes, (2019). This article is not intended to serve as legal advice and does not establish a lawyer-client relationship. Whether the activity will adversely affect the conservation of fish and wildlife, including endangered or threatened species, or their habitats. Mangrove Trimming and Protection Act Highlights An inspection by the City’s Natural Resources staff is ALWAYS required prior to trimming mangroves. State environmental regulators report getting hundreds of calls about the new legislation. Mangrove trimming under a general permit is not limited to the Riparian Mangrove Fringe and can continue up to 500 feet waterward from the most landward mangrove tree. Mangrove trimming is protected and permitted under sections 403.9321-403.9333 of the Florida Statutes, the 1996 Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act. Here are some of the highlights: Mangrove Trimming . However, certain mangrove trimming activities … Those criteria include: DEP may require mitigation as a condition of approval for an individual permit. The root system also benefits upland property owners by buffering and absorbing wave and tidal energy, which can help stabilize the shoreline and protect the upland property from eroding in large storm events. Our teams are licensed to permit and trim mangroves in the state of Florida. Since … Sections 403.9321-403.9333, Florida Statutes, may be cited as the "Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act." Increased regulations apply to trees greater than 10 feet in height prior to trimming, and those greater than 16 feet in height before trimming are subject to greater regulation still. It essentially ended the permit requirements and allowed much more liberal manicuring. These rights are typically referred to as “riparian rights.”, Riparian rights provide the legal outline of the activities a homeowner can expect to enjoy when purchasing property that is on the water. 95-299. This Act regulates the trimming and alteration of mangroves while also banning the use of herbicides and other chemicals used to defoliate mangroves. will not create or establish an attorney-client relationship. [i] Shoreline Mileage of the United States, NOAA Office for Coastal Management, https://coast.noaa.gov/data/docs/states/shorelines.pdf; accessed on June 21, 2019. At Zimmerman Tree Service, we’re Professional Mangrove Trimmers (PMT) and ISA Certified Arborists, well-versed in Florida statutes regarding mangrove trimming and beyond. Welcome to our comprehensive gift guide for the 2020 holiday season. • Restore natural vegetative structure and hydrology of altered mangrove forests within the known range of the mangrove rivulus to increase the availability of suitable habitat for the species. Simply contacting Lewis, Longman & Walker, P.A. It seemed so simple, and the time so politically ripe for a no-nonsense Republican solution to the most vexing environmental problem in a state overwhelmed with vexing environmental problems. At the same time, the Mangrove Act affirms the rights of waterfront property owners, specifically including the homeowners’ “riparian right of view.”. Homeowners benefit from the protection the mangroves provide from storms, the trees’ ability to clean the water, and the beautiful wildlife they attract. Mangroves form an important part of the ecology of South Florida, and through legislation, Florida has decided to protect and preserve these trees. General Mangrove Trimming & Alteration Regulations. [ii] In recognition of the important role mangroves play in Florida’s ecology, the Mangrove Act sets out to provide important protections for the trees and limits the ability to trim or remove them. For a homeowner to do the trimming without hiring a Professional Mangrove Trimmer: If a Professional Mangrove Trimmer will perform the work, a greater level of trimming may qualify for an exemption. However, the courts and the Florida legislature have recognized that when upland property abuts the water, that upland property includes certain rights by virtue of its adjacency. A few months ago, the Republican-led state Legislature passed, and Democratic Gov. Where once tangled fringes existed along shorelines, there are now neat hedges. In 1995, the Florida Legislature sought to balance environmental protection and homeowners rights when it passed the “Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act,” (hereinafter, the “Mangrove Act”). Any mangrove trimming that exceeds the limits for an exemption or a general permit requires an individual permit. The Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act, while complex, marks an important effort to balance these objectives in a way that preserves property values for owners while protecting the environment for the benefit of all Floridians. Latvala, who said the controversy over his bill took him “by surprise,” promised to rewrite the legislation and try to make everyone happy. Mangroves are protected by the State of Florida's "Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act" and the State of Florida enforces the statutes protecting Mangroves. The mangroves must be located on the owner’s property, or within their adjacent riparian area. This distinction arises from the belief that mangrove habitats greater than 50 feet have an increased ecological importance and thus warrant a greater level of protection. Forget dying reefs, evaporating wetlands, endangered manatees and roseate spoonbills. 403.9322 Legislative findings. Some people, unfortunately, went overboard, he said. As a Professional Mangrove Trimmer registered in Hillsborough County, I state that the work proposed in this application will be performed in compliance with Chapte 1-14, Rules of the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County, Mangrove Trimming and Preservation, and in accordance with the conditions set forth in the permit. Mangroves cannot be removed, trimmed, or disturbed without a permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Lawton Chiles signed, Latvala’s controversial Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act of 1995. When the desired mangrove trimming exceeds the amount permitted under the exemptions, the mangrove trimming is regulated by the second regulatory scheme, known as the “general permit” process. V. Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act Regulations. The story of the mangrove debacle stands as a cautionary tale for a nation and a Republican-led Congress that is pushing to roll back a raft of environmental protections--bills that would limit the roles of the Environmental Protection Agency and Interior Department to police unique habitats, endangered species and water quality. Mangrove trees are fascinating and unique plants that have evolved to occupy an important ecological niche – the transition zone between land and salt or brackish water. The MTAC was given the task of writing the 1996 Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act (1996 MTPA) which presently governs mangrove trimming. What followed was the Great Mangrove Massacre. This is about mangrove trees--one of the most biologically important but loathed plants in Florida, where they grow like towering, wonderful weeds at the water’s edge. There may also be restoration and replacement plantings required, in addition to the fines. Latvala and the bill’s other outspoken supporters pledge to amend the new law. The problem, they say, is that not all mangroves are alike. Freed from state environmental regulators, and given the choice between the mangrove and a nice view of Sarasota or Tampa Bay, many homeowners and developers fired up their chain saws. Homeowners may also trim mangroves when their height exceeds 6 feet but is not taller than 10 feet. Why all the fuss? Latvala himself confessed to being somewhat shocked by the aggressive cutting. The law also allows for the “grandfathering” of mangrove trimming that exceeds the standards set out in the code, if a homeowner can demonstrate that an increased level of trimming existed prior to the enactment of the Mangrove Act. Kathleen A. Baxter, founder and owner of Coastal Planting Service, served by personal request of the late Governor Chiles on the Mangrove Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) which was given the task of writing the 1996 Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act (1996 MTPA) which presently governs mangrove trimming. Bad for waterfront views and property values. and mangrove forest restoration, per Florida’s Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act. The beauty of that waterfront, coupled with a temperate climate and abundant wildlife, has lured tourists and new residents alike, contributing to the State’s population growth and popularity as a tourist destination. Due to the rapidly increasing development along the coast of Florida, it is critical that mangrove habitats are protected from further destruction. The third type of native mangrove, the white mangrove, lives further upland than the red or black mangroves and more closely resembles a typical upland tree, although it may also appear in a dense shrub-like community. The Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act preserves the health of mangroves by preventing careless and inexperienced trimming, which can cause harm to them. Mangroves are protected by the State of Florida's "Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act" and the State of Florida enforces the statutes protecting these important species. Mangroves are protected by the State's "Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act" and the enforcement of this statute has been delegated to Pinellas County. Since Florida has lost 86% of its mangroves since the 1940s, legislation has taken action to make sure the endangered tree population is protected. 95-299. General permits may be used for mangrove trimming that does not qualify as exempt. 1996 Mangrove Trimming & Preservation Act 403.9321 Short title. As discussed above, the Mangrove Act both protects the State’s mangrove habitats and recognizes property owners’ riparian rights – including the right to access the water and the right to a view towards the channel. The third and final permitting scheme is that of the “individual permit.” These permits are required when the impacts to the mangroves exceed what is allowed under an exemption or the general permit rules. This state ownership extends up to the high-tide water line. The black mangrove lives just upland from the red mangrove, near the high tide line. These include fines levied for every tree illegally modified or destroyed. The Mangrove Act’s regulations establish some important distinctions. Similar to the exempt trimming limitations, no tree may be cut shorter than 6 feet. 403.9322 Legislative findings.--(1) The Legislature finds that there are over 555,000 acres of mangroves now existing in Florida. The Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act, enacted in 1996, sets regulations on how these trees can be maintained.
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