USDA to Invest $5 Million in the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program

Dan USDA-NRCS, Water, Wetland

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is investing up to $5 million in the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program (WMBP). This grant program supports the development of mitigation banks for use by agricultural producers seeking to maintain eligibility for USDA programs. Funds are available to Tribes, state and local government entities, nonprofits and other organizations. “Our goal is to …

Clean and Healthy Waters

‘Clean and Healthy Waters’ Initiative Proposed?

Dan Florida, Irrigation, Legislative, Regulation, Water, Wetland

(NSF/Tallahassee/April 25, 2022) — A political committee has filed a proposed constitutional amendment that would create a “fundamental right to clean and healthy waters” and allow lawsuits against state agencies for harm or threatened harm to lakes, rivers, wetlands and other types of water bodies. The committee FloridaRighttoCleanWater.org has proposed the initiative for the 2024 ballot, according to newly posted information …

redistricting plan

Environmental Changes Teed Up for Florida Budget Talks

Dan Environment, Florida, Irrigation, Lake Okeechobee, Legislative, Regulation, Water, Wetland

(NSF/TALLAHASSEE/Feb. 22, 2022) — A controversial environmental bill the Senate massaged last week after outcries from Everglades activists, fishing guides and Gov. Ron DeSantis is ready to become part of budget talks with the House. With little comment, the House on Tuesday, took up the bill (SB 2508) and nine other Senate measures and positioned them for negotiations that will …


ACEP Working to Protect Wetlands in Florida

Dan Conservation, Environment, Florida, Irrigation, USDA-NRCS, Water, Wetland

While wetlands are some of Florida’s treasures, over the years we’ve seen an acreage decrease of nearly half. According to a U.S Fish and Wildlife Service report, over 20 million wetland acres have been lost since settlers began draining and diking them back in the 19th century. And of course now, population growth continues to threaten what remains. USDA’s Natural Resources …

Environmental Groups Wary of Senate ‘Heartland’ Plan

Dan Conservation, Environment, Florida, Irrigation, Water, Wetland

(TALLAHASSEE/January 18, 2022) — Florida lawmakers could further carve up the use of voter-approved conservation money, after a Leon County circuit judge this month rejected a challenge by environmental groups to how money has been spent. The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday approved a measure (SB 1400) that would provide $20 million a year to help protect …

Modified Proposals

USDA?Continues to Invest in Wetland Mitigation Banks

Dan USDA-NRCS, Water, Wetland

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to award grant funding for the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program (WMBP). The latest one announced this week is nearly $5 million and will support development of mitigation banks for the restoration, creation or enhancement of wetlands to compensate for unavoidable impacts to wetlands at another location. This latest announcement adds to the more than $12.4 …


DeSantis Pitches $99.7 Billion Budget

Dan Economy, Florida, Water, Wetland

(NSF-TALLAHASSEE/Dec 9, 2021) — Saying that Florida is “clicking on all cylinders,” Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday proposed an election-year $99.7 billion budget that would funnel money to education, the environment and law-enforcement officers while giving motorists a temporary gas-tax break. The proposal, which came as DeSantis runs for a second term in November, will be a starting point for …


Agricultural Water Use Changes Proposed

Dan Citrus, Irrigation, Water, Wetland

Taylor Langford O’Bannon, food safety Extension agent for the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), shared information on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposed changes to the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Safety Rule. The changes pertain specifically to Subpart E (Agricultural Water). “The proposed changes, if finalized, will replace the pre-harvest microbial quality criteria and testing …


Reactions to Latest EPA Announcement on WOTUS

Dan Irrigation, Legislative, Water, Wetland, WOTUS Act

Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Army released a proposed rule to re-establish the pre-2015 definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS). The proposed rule would remove the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), which was finalized in 2020 and provided long-overdue certainty and clarity for farmers affected by the scope of WOTUS jurisdiction. Various commodity …


AFBF: EPA Should Keep “Navigable” in New WOTUS Rule

Dan Irrigation, Water, Wetland

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) submitted recommendations last week on the definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS). The comments were filed with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers. In June 2021, the EPA announced its intent to revise the definition of WOTUS and solicited pre-proposal recommendations. In the recommendations, AFBF expresses disappointment …