The MTAC was given the task of writing the 1996 Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act (1996 MTPA) which presently governs mangrove trimming. FAQ Links. Latvala, who said the controversy over his bill took him “by surprise,” promised to rewrite the legislation and try to make everyone happy. This Act regulates the trimming and alteration of mangroves while also banning the use of herbicides and other chemicals used to defoliate mangroves. This also results in coastlines that swiftly change location and appearance, as new trees spread and grow along the shore. All three species grow in close proximity to one another, but each is specially adapted to inhabit a different area of the shoreline. 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. Together, the red, black, and white mangroves form a rare and important ecological system in South Florida and play critical roles in anchoring the shoreline, providing unique habitats, and cleaning the water. Since … Increased population also means increased pollution, reduced natural habitat, and greater demand for water and recreational access. Since the 1940s, about 86% of the mangroves in Florida have been lost—50% in the Tampa Bay region alone. However, certain mangrove trimming activities … These professionals may be arborists, wetland scientists, ecologists, or others who can meet the statutory guidelines.[v]. Whether the activity will adversely affect navigation or the flow of water or cause harmful erosion or shoaling. That is why the State of Florida enacted The Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act. L.A. County tightens COVID-19 restrictions today: What you need to know. There may also be restoration and replacement plantings required, in addition to the fines. Mangrove trimming and preservation act. Homeowners, or in some instances a Professional Mangrove Trimmer, can pursue these activities without any interaction with government agencies. All contents copyright © 2002 - 2020 Lewis, Longman & Walker, P.A. The higher level of scrutiny and potential for mitigation requirements makes the hiring of an environmental scientist practically mandatory when seeking an individual permit. The trees also control erosion, filter pollution and protect against hurricane damage. 403.9322 Legislative findings. 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. Any mangrove trimming that exceeds the limits for an exemption or a general permit requires an individual permit. 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. The Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act, enacted in 1996, sets regulations on how these trees can be maintained. For the last decade, trimming mangrove trees along canals and bays was often a cumbersome and expensive affair, involving brain-teasing paperwork, complex rules and a $500 permit. Before taking any action concerning the trimming or removal of mangroves, homeowners should be familiar with the legal requirements and implications of their actions. Yutzy strongly suggests that customers allow our company of experts to take care of mangroves to abide by those detailed laws. The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners subsequently adopted a countywide ordinance regulating the trimming of mangroves. The problem, they say, is that not all mangroves are alike. The third distinction found throughout the Mangrove Act concerns the height of the mangrove trees prior to trimming. The roots of the red mangrove filter the salt out of ocean and brackish water, providing fresh water to the tree. Under the law, these limits include: Certain other activities qualify for exemptions under the Mangrove Act, including maintaining “previous mangrove configurations” and “historically established maintenance trimming.” Proof of the prior status may be necessary to secure the exemption. The mangroves must be located on the owner’s property, or within their adjacent riparian area. If a homeowner fails to maintain the mangroves consistent with the initial general permit requirements, the homeowner must apply for an individual permit to carry out additional trimming. 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. It essentially ended the permit requirements and allowed much more liberal manicuring. Mangroves can be trimmed in a variety of ways to provide a pleasing view while protecting the health of the tree. 1996 Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act: 403.9321 Short Title -- Sections 403.9321 - 403.9333 may be cited as the "Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act." § 403.9329 provides the qualifications and requirements to be certified as a Professional Mangrove Trimmer. The MTPA governs how mangroves are managed in the state, unless you live in one of the delegated local governments. In some spots, trees were cut to the ground. 403.9321 Short title.— Sections 403.9321 - 403.9333 may be cited as the “Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act.” History.—s. First, the law distinguishes trimming activity undertaken by a homeowner from trimming performed by a “Professional Mangrove Trimmer.” As the scale of the intended trimming increases, the regulations mandate that a qualified Professional Mangrove Trimmer complete the work. That is why the State of Florida enacted The Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act. 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. Mangroves form an important part of the ecology of South Florida, and through legislation, Florida has decided to protect and preserve these trees. [vi] Under the Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act, local governments can seek to be delegated permitting authority for mangrove trimming within their jurisdiction. “Obviously, the law needs to be amended,” he said. Homeowners benefit from the protection the mangroves provide from storms, the trees’ ability to clean the water, and the beautiful wildlife they attract. Our teams are licensed to permit and trim mangroves in the state of Florida. Staff biologists and arborists work closely with homeowners and trimmers to protect the important … It is important to note that homeowners may only use a general permit once for a property. The property shoreline length must be less than 150 feet. Devnani said he considers himself a nature lover--but he wanted his view back. will not create or establish an attorney-client relationship. Preparing this application typically requires the assistance of an environmental scientist. 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. Recognized as Florida’s treasures, Mangroves should be pruned and trimmed skillfully in compliance with the Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act to ensure their preservation and growth. After the general permit requirements are followed, subsequent maintenance of the mangrove height is allowed under the exemption rules. In addition no more than 65% of the mangrove area can be trimmed and trimming must be carried out so that no more than 25% of the foliage is removed annually. Bad for waterfront views and property values. Latvala and the bill’s other outspoken supporters pledge to amend the new law. 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. If peculiar or unusual circumstances exist related to the property, homeowners may wish to hire an environmental attorney to assist in obtaining the permit. Due to the rapidly increasing development along the coast of Florida, it is critical that mangrove habitats are protected from further destruction. Latvala hoped his new law would simplify the process. For if nature can be ruthless and efficient, so can humans. It would be hard to overstate the value of the coastal environment. The black mangrove lives just upland from the red mangrove, near the high tide line. “They are the most productive food web that anyone has ever measured,” said James Beever, perhaps the state’s most eminent mangrove biologist at the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission. This state ownership extends up to the high-tide water line. Mangroves aren’t just beneficial; they’re essential. Where once tangled fringes existed along shorelines, there are now neat hedges. Latvala himself confessed to being somewhat shocked by the aggressive cutting. California breaks record for hospitalizations. 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. 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. Whether the activity will adversely affect the public health, safety, or welfare or the property of others. 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. 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. 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. 95-299. Florida hosts three native mangrove species: red mangrove, black mangrove, and white mangrove. 403.9322 Legislative findings.--(1) The Legislature finds that there are over 555,000 acres of mangroves now existing in Florida. [v] Fla. Stat. Florida’s popularity also generates concerns for the health of the environment. Since Florida has lost 86% of its mangroves since the 1940s, legislation has taken action to make sure the endangered tree population is protected. The black mangrove’s leaves are able to excrete excess salt absorbed into the tree, resulting in visible salt crystals forming on their underside. Why all the fuss? Many homeowners aspire to live on the coast so they can enjoy the waterfront lifestyle. Overview of the Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act. 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. Filing for an individual permit requires a greater level of detail both in the submittal package and the review by DEP. The full damage, still contested, is not yet known. 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. In fact, if a professional “mangrove trimmer” is employed, a property owner can whack 30-foot trees thigh high, as long as they are still--technically--alive. V. Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act Regulations. Critics like Latvala said it was a royal pain in the neck. Great for crabs, fish and birds. 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. less than 50 feet in depth. The 1996 Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act (MTPA) is overseen by the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation. 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. 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”). 1996 Mangrove Trimming & Preservation Act 403.9321 Short title. Op-Ed: On the COVID frontlines, we’re tired of hearing lame excuses for risky behavior. Mangrove Trimming and Protection Act Highlights An inspection by the City’s Natural Resources staff is ALWAYS required prior to trimming mangroves. “I’ve lived here 30 years, and I could not see the water from my house,” said Salu Devnani, a homeowner on old Tampa Bay, who vigorously cut his trees and set off a firestorm when local nature lovers and fishermen saw his handiwork. Florida’s legislature and government agencies strive to balance protection for the environment, meeting the needs of its citizens, and maintaining a strong economy. Rules for Trimming of Mangroves in Pinellas County. And so, Republican state Rep. Jack Latvala from the Tampa area pledged he was going to take a stand. 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. For trees greater than 16 feet in height, only 25% of their foliage can be removed annually. 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. Lawton Chiles signed, Latvala’s controversial Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act of 1995. The information provided at this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. At Zimmerman Tree Service, we’re Professional Mangrove Trimmers (PMT) and ISA Certified Arborists, well-versed in Florida statutes regarding mangrove trimming and beyond. Whether the activity will adversely affect the fishing or recreational values or marine productivity in the vicinity of the activity. The Mangrove Act creates three regulatory schemes, which are overseen by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) oversees[vi]. In 1845, Florida was granted statehood and joined the United States. 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. 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. The new rules, affecting stores, playgrounds and gatherings, are less severe than the stay-at-home order initiated in the spring. 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. Before trimming, the mangroves must not exceed 10 feet in height. Mangroves are protected by the State's "Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act" and the enforcement of this statute has been delegated to Pinellas County. Other mangrove stands, they admit, might be more precious. The Mangrove Act attempts to walk this tightrope by limiting mangrove trimming without outright banning alterations. Simply contacting Lewis, Longman & Walker, P.A. What’s open and closed amid L.A.’s stricter COVID rules. 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. II. If greater than 150 feet, only 65% of its length can be trimmed. And many times, they hear from fishermen or others ratting on their neighbors for hacking down the trees. Similar to the exempt trimming limitations, no tree may be cut shorter than 6 feet. Yes, You Can Have Mangroves and Still Have a View. This article will help homeowners understand their rights and the regulations concerning any mangroves that exist on, or adjacent to, their property. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice and does not establish a lawyer-client relationship. [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. A few months ago, the Republican-led state Legislature passed, and Democratic Gov. The first scheme allows relatively limited mangrove trimming to occur “exempt” from any permitting requirements. Some people, unfortunately, went overboard, he said. 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. They also support a vast commercial and recreational fishery, providing shelter and food for snook, trout, snappers and tarpon. Mangroves are protected by the State's "Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act" and the enforcement of this statute has been delegated to Pinellas County. DEP reviews individual permits using the criteria found in Section 373.414, Florida Statutes. Public health officials in some counties are warning that unless the coronavirus surge can be stopped, hospitals could run out of beds in weeks. 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. 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 general permit process requires a higher level of authorization, and a Professional Mangrove Trimmer must perform all trimming undertaken per a general permit. 95-299. We do not intend to treat as confidential, any information sent to us via this website and, such information could be used against you in the future. Some grow in clumps along an otherwise lifeless canal and do not support much biological growth, and these can be whacked. Mitigation may include planting additional mangroves on the property or at a remote location. But it does not look like it will be easy. The Reed decision led to the 1995 Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act, which substantially changed Florida's mangrove protection statutes. State environmental regulators report getting hundreds of calls about the new legislation. [ii] The “Mangrove Trimming and Preservation Act” encompasses Sections 403.9321 through 403.9333, Florida Statutes, (2019).
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