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Wetland Mitigation

Wetland Mitigation: The Project
A New Idea
Moving the Wetland
The Results
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Florida has developed very rapidly.  In just the last 50 years, populations around the state have exploded.  People bring with them a need for roads, schools, hospitals and other support.  Because of rapid growth, the limitations of the natural resources and the need to implement smart growth plans have become a high priority.  Though it’s been criticized by developers and environmentalists alike, Florida’s growth management laws are among some of the toughest.  Still, having laws on the books fairly enforcing them can sometimes be two different things.  In Florida the battle between growth and environmental protection is quite contentious.

One thing is certain, no agency or group of agencies can enforce enough laws to protect Florida completely.  Cooperation among developers, environmentalists and government agencies is necessary if we are to ensure that economic and environmental sustainability share the highest priority.  To some it may appear that these three difference groups have differing agendas which make cooperation a nearly impossible task.  In reality, there is one concept which unites them all- sustainability.    

The idea of sustainable development is starting to take hold.  Government, environmental and private concerns are recognizing that we can no longer afford to grow beyond our means.  Florida lost more than half its wetlands in the last century.  To maintain our environmental treasures, our quality of life and our vital groundwater supply, it is essential that remaining wetlands be fervently protected.  

Sustainability is the idea that Florida can develop reasonably and rationally, providing economic opportunity for all its residents while still protecting out unique and delicate environment.  If you think about it, environmentalists want to protect Florida’s wildlife and habitats, but they recognize that growth is a continual process.  The business community recognizes that economic opportunity is important but won’t last if we ruin our quality of life.  And government agencies are beginning to realize that the essence of genuine protection is found when the business community is rewarded for doing the right thing.

At the same time, the Florida Legislature has decided that property rights and associated economic development are also important for Florida’s future.

The Challenge: How can these be balanced?

How can property owners and developers have the right to use their assets while we ensure the environment is protected?  For government to do well in this new, collaborative environment, they will have to think outside the traditional, regulatory mindset.


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