Florida is not only surrounded by water it is also covered in wetlands. The wetlands play a vital role in protecting our water resources because they trap floodwaters, restore groundwater supplies, remove pollution, and provide habitats for fish and wildlife. The wetlands also contribute a great amount to our economy with activities such as fishing, hunting, agriculture, and recreation.
Florida’s population has nearly doubled since 1980, and with this growth comes new construction. Due to prevalence of wetlands in Florida and rapid urbanization, it’s important to keep these habitats protected from sources of pollution, such as erosion and debris. Contractors and builders must take extra precautions when building near wetlands to help prevent critical impacts on our groundwater, natural habitats, and the economy. Violations to wetlands such as dredging or filling without a permit are taken very seriously, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection can seek monetary fines up to $10,000 per violation per day.
Wetlands are one of Florida’s most important natural resources, and it is crucial we continue to protect them as our state grows in population.