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More Threats to Wetlands


Manatee County commissioners recently voted to establish a second wetland mitigation bank in Manatee County.

ManaSota-88 is, and always has been, opposed to the concept of wetlands mitigation banking. Mitigation banking is inconsistent with and contrary to the statutory duty of the Department of Environmental Protection and the Water Management Districts.

Wetland mitigation banks do not prevent adverse cumulative impacts within wetland systems such as specific creek, riverine, and marsh basins, or Outstanding Florida Waters.

Current permitting requirements for mitigation banks are based on an unsubstantiated assumption that wetland mitigation banks will minimize the mitigation uncertainty associated with traditional mitigation and provide greater assurance of ecological success. ManaSota-88 is unaware of any reliable data that shows that mitigation banks will "minimize mitigation uncertainty." Large wetland creation attempts have failure rates like those of smaller wetland creation attempts. The quality of wetlands in mitigation banks tends to be poor. Wetlands in mitigation banks fall short of their goal, which is to replace the functions and values of a destroyed wetland. Mitigation banks do not replace natural wetlands.

The creation of wetlands doesn't work. It takes nature hundreds of years to create these delicate ecosystems. To expect that with the knowledge and skills of engineers, we can go out and build one and have it function as a naturally occurring wetland is not going to happen.

What is happening is that the Manatee County Commission is currently focused on achieving one objective: granting developers a permit to build. Wetland mitigation banking enables the developer to write a check and "start the bulldozer”. The value of the land destroyed is not factored into "the deal". Developers get to wipe out wetlands in high-priced land markets and mitigate wetlands to areas that are not under developmental pressures.

Mitigation banking is unproven, and a net loss of habitat occurs. Moving wetlands to areas that do not already have naturally occurring wetlands will have reduced value since there was not a need for the newly created wetland to exist at that location. Duplication of the functions and values of the destroyed wetland will not occur because the land banking area will not contain the same geological and hydrological features as the naturally occurring one.

Performance standards that adequately identify "successful" mitigation of a wetland, when all factors are considered, have not been developed by any federal, state, or local governmental agency. Until performance standards and criteria are implemented that identify successful recreation of wetlands, mitigation banking is bound to be a dismal failure.

Long-term successful duplication of water regimes, recharge, and discharge to underlying aquifers, soil profiles, food webs, and food chains of newly created wetlands, has not been supported by current scientific research. The evolution of a complex food web, as well as the plant succession associated with such ecosystems, may take years to occur, or may never occur. The plant and animal diversity within a natural system may be impossible to replicate.

Wetland Mitigation Banking encourages the destruction of existing wetlands of high environmental functions and values. It encourages wetlands to be compromised of their environmental values or functions prior to the submission of development plans for review and approval.

Given the failure of wetland mitigation sites, ManaSota-88 has no reason to believe that Manatee County’s mitigation banks will ever be successful.

Glenn Compton is the Chairman of ManaSota 88, a non-profit organization that has spent over 30 years fighting to protect the environment of Manatee and Sarasota counties.


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  • Charles

    Couldn't happen if Floridians decide whether they want to protect our waters by signing the petition to amend the state constitution and then voting for it. Get and sign the petition to get this on our ballot at https://www.floridarighttocleanwater.org/ and get others to sign. Look on the map provided on the site for where to sign or drop it off. The League of Women Voters are out at events gathering signatures also.

    The signed petitions are needed in order to put the question before the voters on the ballot — then the will of the voters can be determined. Florida Right To Clean Water is the voters opportunity to assure it, our state and local government never will — until forced to by having to follow a consttutional right we have the ability to establish. It is up to us to claim this right.

    Sunday, September 3, 2023 Report this

  • GRusso58

    Dear Manatee County Commissioner

    James Satcher -

    Amanda Ballard

    Kevin Van Ostenbridge

    Mike Rahn

    Ray Turner

    Jason Bearden

    George Kruse

    I attended the land use committee meeting on August 18, 2023 regarding the wetland and natural buffer regulations. I am a Bradenton resident who is deeply concerned with the natural environment in Manatee County. I was very impressed with the public turnout and the breadth of people who commented for over 4 hours. It was compelling to see people who were simple homeowners, small business owners, and local naturalists come together to discuss this issue. It was clear this was not a liberal or conservative issue. It was a local issue of high concern. By the way I am a registered Republican.

    Then you all voted, excluding Commissioner George Kruse, against your constituents. I hate to think that developers and Mosaic Corporation have more clout in this county than the people who voted you into office. But apparently you have no shame about who you support, and I am just naive. Congratulations to George Kruse for solely standing up to voice his concern for our county.

    So please take notice that I will take every opportunity to vote you out of office. I will also work to vote for new commissioners who respect our natural environment.

    Monday, September 4, 2023 Report this

  • WTF


    Wetlands provide many benefits. Chief among these are wetlands’ ability to filter impurities from water, store water to reduce flooding, keep carbon to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and provide habitat for many precious plant and wildlife species of Florida. Wetlands are also tied to our groundwater system making their existence and health important to drinking water and springs. Wetlands offer many recreational and cultural opportunities. Yet, despite all these benefits, more than half of the original wetland area in Florida has been drained, dredged and/or filled for development; with the vast majority being for residential and commercial development.

    Wetland Functions and Services

    Wetlands are vital to the health of our environment. They perform the same function for our landscape as kidneys do for our bodies, in that they filter and remove pollutants. Wetlands filter out 90% of the most common pollutants such as nutrients out of moving waters. Wetlands do this by slowing down water, allowing suspended materials carried in the water to drop out and become trapped by plants and/or soils. Similarly, dissolved constituents can be taken up by plants or combined in the soil. These filtering services help keep Florida waters fishable and swimmable. Thus, the destruction of wetlands may have contributed to the degradation of Florida waters. There are 1000s of impaired water segments in Florida and 33 in Sarasota County (see list). A water body designated as impaired generally means that it does not meet its designated use as a fishable and swimmable water. Not only do wetlands help to keep waters healthy for fish, but are also important to approximately 75 species of mammals, 283 species of birds, 122 reptiles, and 57 amphibians (Millsap et al. 1990).

    Wetlands are the Kidneys of Our Landscape

    Wetlands are in fact the purveyors of health and well-being and are often referred to as the kidneys of our landscape. Since we have lost over half of our total wetland area then we are operating off of one kidney in Florida. Unfortunately, our kidney has been severely compromised because it is failing to keep up with its ever growing body, which in this case is human development of the landscape.

    If it was your body, what would you do if you had a failing kidney? Likely you would limit the number of contaminants entering your body. Similarly, we need to limit the amount of contaminants leaving our land and entering our waters. Abide by UF/IFAS Extension recommendations for fertilizers and pesticides. Second, we could also sure up the functionality of our kidney by devoting a portion of our yard and/or neighborhood to create mini-wetlands that work to slow the rain water leaving our yards, driveways, and streets. These mini-wetlands can filter the pollutants before moving downstream to lakes, ponds, stream, canals, or bays. These mini-wetlands are known as rain gardens, bioswales, and lake or pond littoral zones. To learn more about planting Florida wetland plants in your neighborhood or to learn more about fertilizer and pesticide recommendations contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office.


    Thursday, September 28, 2023 Report this