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Environmental Considerations

The Environmental Considerations GIS (ECG Tool) was built to help identify what types of environmental geographic data may be found at specific locations. When determining whether to buy or build on a property, residents, visitors and business owners should consider what potential environmental impacts, if any, there might be to the property.

The ECG can assist with providing a general idea of "What's in My Area" and provide needed answers for a specific location before you build, or before you buy or locate a property in Miami-Dade County.

The ECG is intended to assist citizens obtain general information, and is not meant as a sole information source for decision making. Citizens are encouraged to follow up with respective environmental programs for clarity and to receive details and assistance when making decisions based on the supplied information.

If you are visiting this page for the first time, please use the ECG Tool to determine which environmental consideration may be applicable to your specific property address.

For more information, email derm@miamidade.gov.

Flood Protection

Miami-Dade County is particularly susceptible to flooding from major rain events.

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Freshwater Wetlands

Freshwater wetlands are a major element of the South Florida landscape, providing vital functions that are essential to the health and welfare of the people of Miami-Dade County. Wetland areas in Miami-Dade provide direct recharge of water to the Biscayne Aquifer, filtering and replenishing the County's major source of drinking water. Moreover, the wetlands serve to purify surface and ground waters, provide storage capacity for localized flooding, and provide habitat for wildlife -- including many rare and endangered species.

Before conducting any work -- including clearing, dredging, plowing, filling or any other alteration of a property that contains freshwater wetlands -- a Class IV Permit will be required.

For more information, or to request a formal wetlands determination for a specific property, call 305-372-6585 or email dermwetlands@miamidade.gov.

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Coastal Wetlands

Coastal, or saltwater, wetlands consist of salt marshes and mangrove swamps. These wetlands contribute to water quality by removing excess nutrients and pollutants that originated in the uplands before they reach the estuary. Wetlands also offer important habitat for a wide variety of organisms that rely on the area as a nursery ground, and provide protection against coastal erosion.

A Class I Permit is required prior to doing any work in, on, over or upon the tidal waters of Miami-Dade County or any of its incorporated municipalities.

For more information or to request an official wetlands designation for a specific property, please call 305-372-6585 or email dermwetlands@miamidade.gov.

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Environmentally Endangered Lands

Recognizing the historic loss and degradation of native wetland and upland forest communities, Miami-Dade County voters created the Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) Program to preserve natural lands for the benefit of present and future generations. If you have questions about any properties located within the EEL project areas, please call 305-372-6687 or learn more about the the EEL Program.

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Contaminated Sites

Contaminated sites are sites within Miami-Dade County with contamination in the soils and/or groundwater. Miami-Dade County is responsible for ensuring that the contaminated sites are properly assessed and, if needed, addressed by the responsible party. If you would like to speak to someone regarding a specific site, call the Environmental Monitoring and Restoration Division at 305-372-6700 and reference an address or a Permit Number and/or File Number. You can also search more recent files online. The complete file information is available for review in person. Please contact Tanya Van Dyck at 305-372-6718 to schedule an appointment.

Before you plan to do work on a contaminated site that requires a permit for construction, dewatering, or drainage, call the Environmental Monitoring and Restoration Division at 305-372-6700. Staff can assist you with environmental information that may be needed along with your permit application to help streamline the permitting process as it relates to environmental conditions of the property.

Contaminated Sites closed with restrictions

This designation applies to sites closed by Miami-Dade County subject to restrictions, although documented onsite-only contamination (soil or groundwater) remains.

At these sites, any potential exposure to the contamination has been eliminated through the use of institutional and engineering controls, if required. As such, the site is safe. Inspections are conducted by the responsible party and by County staff to ensure that the conditions of the institutional and engineering controls, if applicable, are maintained.

In addition, for cases under Miami-Dade County’s jurisdiction, a risk-based corrective action permit is issued to provide additional assurance with respect to the maintenance of the institutional and engineering controls.

To inquire about a specific site, call 305-372-6700 and provide an address, permit number or file number; or search recent files online at http://derm.miamidade.gov.

To review the complete file information in person, call Tanya Van Dyck at 305-372-6718 to schedule an appointment.

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Superfund Sites

Superfund sites are contaminated sites. However, the environmental assessment and remediation are under the jurisdiction of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA contact for general information on Superfund sites in Miami-Dade County is Jan Rogers, Remedial Project Manager, USEPA Region 4, South Florida office, phone: 561-616-8868. Search the USEPA Superfund sites in Florida. USEPA Remedial Project Managers for each site are identified on this page.

Before you plan to do work on a Superfund property that requires a permit for construction, dewatering or drainage, please call the Pollution Control Division at 305-372-6700 and the EPA at the number listed above. Miami-Dade County and the EPA can assist you in environmental information that may be needed along with your permit application to help streamline the permitting process as it relates to environmental conditions of the property.

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Brownfield Areas

To promote economic redevelopment and environmental restoration in urban areas, certain areas of Miami-Dade County have been designated as brownfield areas. Brownfield areas are officially designated by local counties or municipalities. These areas have more than one brownfield site; however, some of the properties in a brownfield area may not be contaminated.

Brownfield areas in Miami-Dade include all of the unincorporated areas within the Enterprise Zones, Enterprise Communities, Empowerment Zones, Targeted Urban Areas and areas eligible for Community Development Block Grants, and include those brownfield areas designated by the cities of Hialeah, Homestead, Medley, Miami and Opa-locka.

Redevelopment of a property within a brownfield area may entitle you to certain benefits and incentives, including a sales tax credit on building materials purchased for the construction of an affordable housing project or mixed-use affordable housing project; a bonus refund for job creation; and loan guarantees for primary lenders.

For more information on financial incentives for the redevelopment of sites in brownfield areas, call 305-375-1254. For information on the cleanup of contaminated brownfield sites, call 305-372-6700 or email DERMPCD@miamidade.gov.

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Wellfield Protection Areas

In Miami-Dade County, drinking water is drawn from the Biscayne Aquifer, a freshwater-bearing limestone rock formation underground. This aquifer allows millions of local residents and visitors to enjoy the benefits of having a clean, accessible and relatively inexpensive source of potable water. Nonetheless, the aquifer is extremely porous and the water table is very close to the surface of the ground where we live, work and play, making it vulnerable to pollution. Pollutants that are discharged onto the ground or that occur in surface waters can contaminate the groundwater and be drawn into wells that supply drinking water.

For these reasons, the County oversees programs to protect the Biscayne Aquifer from potential sources of contamination. To reduce the risk of pollution and cost of treatment of the public water supply, Environmental Resources Management works with industry, business and homeowners, especially in specific areas around the network of drinking water wellfields known as Wellfield Protection Areas (WPAs).

The WPAs are designated based on geological characteristics of the aquifer and the flow of water through it. New activities that use or store hazardous materials or generate hazardous waste are prohibited within certain parts of WPAs. There may also be limitations on excavations within a WPA, or on septic tank specifications and uses.

If you are purchasing a property or propose operating a business in a WPA and intend to use or store hazardous materials, or the property is served by a septic tank or on-site domestic water well, you should contact Environmental Resources Management to discuss, and better understand, any prohibitions, limitations or possible exemptions that apply to the property or business.

For questions regarding properties located within a WPA, call the Plan Review Section at 786-315-2800, or email dermplanreview@miamidade.gov.

For more information on general permitting requirements and land use restrictions in Wellfield Protection Areas, call 305-372-6700 or email dermpred@miamidade.gov.

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Natural Forest Communities

Natural Forest Communities (NFCs) are designated upland natural areas (such as Pine Rockland and Hardwood Hammocks) due to their rarity and unique environmental value. These remnant forest fragments often contain endangered, threatened, rare or endemic plant species, provide important wildlife habitat values, and may contain rare geological features.

The total area of all designated NFCs represents less than 3% of the historical coverage of forests within Miami-Dade County. The greatest threats to these habitats are development and degradation due to fragmentation and exotic plant infestation. The protection afforded NFCs, through Section 24-49 of the Code of Miami-Dade County, helps to maintain rare habitat that harbors endangered and threatened plants, several of which are in turn integral to the survival of rare animal species unique to Miami-Dade.

Prior to performing any work within a designated NFC, including land clearing or exotic plant removal, an NFC permit from Miami-Dade County's Forest Resources Program is required. NFC regulations allow for some clearing in order to obtain a reasonable use of a property that contains NFC, however there may be situations where the buildable area of a property is significantly reduced and vegetation must be preserved. For more information about obtaining an NFC permit or to verify a property is a designated NFC, call the Forest Resources Program at 305-372-6548.

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Page Last Edited: Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:36:05 AM
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