HCNSO Student Theses and Dissertations

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Defense Date


Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only


Oceanographic Center

First Advisor

Charles Andrew Cole

Second Advisor

Richard E. Dodge

Third Advisor

John James Goldasich

Fourth Advisor

Larry O'Donnell


This study examines the effectiveness of the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation (FDER) in regulating, through mitigation, the wetlands of Broward County, Florida. Utilizing agency permit files, wetland impacts and required mitigation were analyzed for the years 1983 - 1991. Field evaluations were conducted to determine the actual area of wetland impacts and completion of required mitigation as permitted by FDER. Mitigation areas were evaluated based upon a set of criteria developed for this study. A total of 82 permits were reviewed, resulting in the evaluation of 30 completed mitigation areas. Results indicate that freshwater wetlands containing both forested and marsh areas were permitted for the largest impact and were impacted the most by project activities. However, mangroves comprised the largest area of required mitigation while freshwater forested areas composed the largest area of completed mitigation. The largest impact to the county's wetlands occurred in 1986 and the most mitigation was required in 1987. The study found no trend or consistency in mitigation ratios as analyzed on a yearly basis, although impacts or mitigation involving only trees commanded a higher mitigation ratio than impacts expressed as an area. The overall potential mitigation ratio for permits issued by FDER between 1983 and 1991 in Broward County was 2.3:1; however, by excluding preservation and easement areas, the ratio becomes 1.2:1. The actual mitigation ratio for areas with completed project impacts and mitigation was 2:1; by excluding preservation and easement areas, the ratio becomes 0.7:1, indicating a loss of wetland area through the FDER permitting process. Results of mitigation area evaluations found that permitted wetland impacts were incomplete at 24% of the sites, mitigation was not required in 5% of the permitted projects, mitigation was either incomplete or not attempted at 41% of the proposed mitigation areas, and permit requirements were met at 30% of the mitigation areas. The completed mitigation areas were ranked by using criteria developed for this study. On a scale of 1 to 3, with 3 being the highest, saltwater mitigation areas averaged a rank of 2.3 and freshwater mitigation areas averaged 2.0.

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