April 2023, Volume 25, Issue 4

Thank you to our Newsletter Sponsors!

 Table of Contents

2023 Legislative Session Ends Next Week! 

The large number of bills that would impact local government authority and water policy has been trimmed down to just a few that might pass by the May 5, 2023 end of the Regular Session. FSA has included a few of these bills on our Priority Issues list that we believe to have a direct impact on water policy decisions. Many of these bills could directly impact how local governments are allowed to govern, may have significant impacts on what can (and cannot) be done, and preemptions on current activities that may be requirements from state law. The bills may also significantly impact the passage of any local ordinance or rule, and the time to complete any action may face increased delays and time constraints to complete even minimal governance actions.

FSA members will find a current list of Priority Issues, Bill Tracking Reports, news articles and information on individual bills on the Member’s Only Legislative Page. Current Priority Issues include:

  • Preemption of Local Licensing Authority
  • Residential Building Permit Restrictions
  • Biosolids Disposal and Funding
  • FDEP Regulatory Changes
  • Wastewater Grant Programs 

Florida Legislative Session Recap Webinar

Join FSA on May 18th (New Date!) for the only "post Session" webinar focused on Florida stormwater legislation! The webinar will examine what was introduced, what passed and failed in 2023, and what might be returning for 2024. Diana Ferguson, FSA's Lobbyist, and Kevin Coyne, Regulatory Affairs, will review legislative actions on biosolids, permitting requirements, measures to preempt the regulatory authority of local governments, and many other bills. Register today to save your seat!


Diana Ferguson
Florida Stormwater Association


Kevin Coyne
Regulatory Affairs
Florida Stormwater Association


The webinar is brought to FSA members free of charge thanks to the sponsorship of Applied Sciences.

Statewide Stormwater Rule – Adopted But Not Effective

The Florida Statewide Stormwater Rule, initiated through the 2020 Clean Waterways Act, sets a framework for stormwater management throughout the state of Florida. It applies to all public and private developments, including residential, commercial, industrial, and permitted agricultural facilities. The rule also outlines how to manage stormwater runoff from construction sites and how to prevent pollution from entering waterways. It is designed to ensure that Florida's waterways remain clean and healthy for future generations.

The final draft rule was published on February 24, 2023, then FDEP published a Notice of Change to the Proposed Stormwater Rule on March 24, 2023. As part of the rulemaking process, the Department is required to submit all materials, including a copy of the rule and Statement of Estimated Regulatory Costs at least 21 days prior to the proposed adoption date. This timeframe allows stakeholders to review the changes and establishes a window of time for legal challenges. The 21st day was April 14, 2023 and no legal challenges were filed. FSA provided comments to Secretary Hamilton on April 14th noting the association’s concerns with some of the proposed changes, but ultimately supported FDEP to get the rule delivered to the Legislature for ratification this year.

The next step in the process is ratification by the legislature due to the fiscal impact of the rule change. In preparation of the rule being introduced to the Legislature, FSA has been closely working with our legislative contacts to provide information and support. At this time, a bill has not been filed and with only one week remaining in the 2023 Legislative Session, this is unlikely. If the rule is not ratified this year, it will sit in a holding pattern, adopted but not effective, until it is ratified by the legislature next year.

FSA continues to support the effort to strengthen stormwater design standards and criteria on a statewide basis. Standards that are more protective of water resources statewide will lessen the need for local governments to adopt their own (more stringent) standards and allow for regulatory consistency. We will continue to monitor this process closely and will keep you informed. We greatly appreciate our membership who provided input and support during this ongoing rulemaking effort.

FSA’s Annual Conference Reaches Capacity  

The FSA Annual Conference will be held June 14-16, 2023, celebrating 30 Years of Leadership in Stormwater. Attendees will meet in Ft. Myers, FL to hear from industry-leading experts on regulatory, technical, and management topics. This year’s event features concurrent educational tracks, more than twenty presentation topics, up to 9.25 hours of continuing education, networking opportunities, and much more! Attendee registration is closed as we have met capacity. If you would like to be added to the waitlist, please complete the waitlist form. Visit the FSA Conference page to view the agenda, registration rates, continuing education information, and more.

WOTUS Update 

The final “Revised Definition of ‘Water of the United States’ Rule” took effect on March 20, 2023, however due to preliminary injunctions, the agencies are interpreting “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) consistent with the pre-2015 regulatory regime in 26 states (Florida included). Meanwhile, the US Supreme Court has yet to rule on Sackett v. EPA to “clarify” its 2006 ruling in Rapanos v. United States regarding the conditions under which wetlands are “jurisdictional.”  Since 2015 the WOTUS rule has been subject to numerous updates, court rulings, and congressional reviews. WOTUS definitions are important to local governments because they can impact the determination of which waters are subject to the provisions of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and related permitting requirements, dredge and fill regulations, and other programs. Watch the FSA Advocacy Page for further developments! 

Water Quality Enhancement Areas Rulemaking

On March 14, 2023, FDEP submitted a Notice of Rule Development for Rule 62-330.010, F.A.C. to establish a water quality credit trading program between water quality enhancement area facilities permitted under the environmental resource permitting program and governmental entities. The rule will also include environmental resource permitting requirements for the water quality enhancement area facilities and the governmental entities. This rule is a requirement of House Bill 965 adopted in 2022, which states the provisions of the bill will not be implemented until a FDEP rule is finalized.

At this time no draft rule has been posted and an extension of time was submitted on March 20, 2023, to further the timeline for this rule development. As FDEP moves forward, FSA will communicate with FDEP and FSA members to review draft rule language and provide feedback as the final rule is completed.

New General Permit for Seagrass Restoration

On March 23, 2023, FDEP proposed a new rule development effort, to update portions of Chapter 62-330, F.A.C. This new rule will create a new General Permit for Seagrass Restoration, including an effort to “simplify and clarify rule language, increase efficiency, and improve coordination with other agencies for seagrass restoration projects.” View the draft General Permit for Seagrass Restoration rule and the recording of FDEP’s April 19, 2023 workshop. The Department will accept comments until May 3, 2023. Please share any rule comments with FSA as we will be monitoring the rulemaking process as it continues. 

Draft Proposed TMDL Priority Waters for 2022-24 Metrics

In May and December of 2022, FDEP held workshops to provide an overview of the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) prioritization, and also allow stakeholders to provide feedback and comment on the draft list. In a follow up to that effort, FDEP has updated the TMDL priority website with further information on how the process was completed and the metrics used to do the prioritization. FSA members have been very involved in the TMDL process, and we recommend reviewing the updated information and reaching out to FDEP staff with any further questions on the updated material.

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding Website

EPA recently launched a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funding webpage that shares the latest information on each state’s funding. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests in water infrastructure, providing $50 billion for water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure upgrades. The majority of this funding, approximately 85 percent, flows through the State Revolving Funds (SRFs).

To procure Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, each state must publish an Intended Use Plan and then apply for funding. Each state can access five different BIL funding streams: Clean Water SRF General Supplemental funding, Clean Water SRF Emerging Contaminants funding, Drinking Water SRF General Supplemental funding, Drinking Water SRF Emerging Contaminants funding, and Drinking Water SRF Lead Service Line Replacement funding. Because each state manages these funds differently, statuses may vary across states and funding categories.

Sea Level Rise Study

The sea is rising substantially along the Gulf Coast and a new batch of studies shows that the danger posed to people living along the Gulf of Mexico is increasing substantially. "Sea level is not only rising in [the Gulf] but is rising faster every year," said Soenke Dangendorf of the University of Tulane. View a recent study performed by Tulane University about significant increases in sea level rise on the gulf coast of Florida. If accurate, the impacts will be substantial. Another study by researchers at the University of Arizona pins Hurricanes Ian and Michael on the rising sea levels, which killed 234 people and caused $138 billion in damage. USF climate scientist Gary Mitchum says warming waters are making storms more intense, often in a less-predictable fashion. The studies blame forty percent of climate change on man-made causes, while the rest could be from natural changes in ocean temperature. Measurements taken along the Gulf Coast in Pensacola show that for most of the 20th century, sea level increased, and sometimes decreased, by one to two millimeters a year.

FSA’s Educational Foundation is Providing Scholarships!

The FSA Educational Foundation’s Scholarship Program awards financial assistance to qualified graduate students attending Florida colleges and universities. Applications are accepted annually from graduate-level students in colleges or schools of engineering, natural science, public administration (or closely related fields) that have an interest in stormwater quality, management, or finance. Qualified applicants should submit an Application Form along with supporting materials by August 11, 2023.

Board Elections Coming in June

FSA is looking for dynamic leaders dedicated to ensuring the continued success of the Association. There will be elections to fill vacancies on the Boards of Directors of the Florida Stormwater Association (FSA) and the FSA Educational Foundation (FSAEF) during the Friday Annual Membership Meeting at the Annual Conference. This is your chance to help lead the primary organization dedicated to furthering the stormwater management profession and water quality improvement programs in Florida.

What’s in it for you?

  • A significant role in advancing your profession
  • An opportunity to enhance the value and set the direction of FSA and FSAEF
  • Access to up-to-date information about the challenges facing your profession
  • The chance to exchange ideas and perspectives with other volunteer leaders

Hurry, nominations must be submitted by June 1st! We want to hear from you! If you’re interested in serving or if you know of a member that you would like to recommend, please complete a Leadership Nomination Form todayView our 2023 Nominations here.

 We appreciate your feedback! Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about FSA.