Environmental Review Information for Development

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The Environmental Review Section's focus during the development planning process is to protect and preserve the county's natural resources while seeking to balance growth and development. The Environmental Review Section accomplishes this by reviewing a project's civil and landscape plan set which may include:

  • Wetland Delineation Report
  • Wetland Mitigation Plan
  • Wetland Buffer Enhancement Plan
  • Water Quality Monitoring Report
  • Open Space and Native Habitat Assessment
  • Threatened and Endangered Biological Survey Report
  • Best Management Practices Plan / Erosion and Sediment Control Plan
  • Well Management Plan

This Section also ensures that landscape plans include tree protection measures, accurate tree replacement ratios, roadway landscape buffers, perimeter landscape buffers, and vehicle use area landscaping. Environmental Review Section staff monitor and manage residential street tree requirements as well as conduct exotic, nuisance species removal inspections, silt fence staking and screening inspections, and wetland buffer enhancement or wetland mitigation inspections. The balance of growth and development is accomplished through reviewing and addressing all of the submitted natural resource related documents during the entire project review process and providing comments to the Planning Department Case Manager which are then included within a larger comment report provided to the applicant.

Erosion and Sediment Control Plan

With few exceptions, an Erosion & Sediment Control Plan (ESCP) is required for every development project. The ESCP is required to be provided in accordance with Section 355 of the Land Development Code.

The main purpose of the ESCP is to ensure that the construction activities on-site do not result in silt or soil traveling off-site. Silt fencing is customarily placed at the perimeter of the limits of construction area. ERS staff conduct two inspections at every development site. One is for silt fence staking to ensure that the silt fence stakes are located in the correct locations before the actual silt fence is installed, per the approved development plan. The second inspection is after the silt fence is installed to ensure it is installed in the correct manner and at the locations indicated on the approved site plan. Staff may need to advise the applicant to shift or adjust the silt fence to avoid damage to the root systems of trees that are to remain or be preserved or to ensure wetland buffers are delineated accurately.

The other purpose of the ESCP is to keep water on-site, whether it comes from rainfall events or from dewatering a pond being excavated. A dewatering plan is often a part of the ESCP and shows how and where the dewatering will occur. Staff usually requires that they be on-site during the activation of dewatering activities to ensure that the methods proposed are effective.

The State of Florida provides designers and reviewers a manual for erosion and sediment control that can be found here (PDF).

Habitat Preservation

Habitat Preservation is required by both the Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code (LDC) and is reviewed by the environmental reviewers during the development review process. The purpose of this section of the LDC is to provide standards necessary to protect critical habitat and the habitats for both flora and fauna of species of endangered, threatened, or special concern status in the county, and to ensure that an appropriate amount of land shall be set aside and/or protective management plan instituted to protect habitat of endangered, threatened or special concern plant and animal species. Habitat preservation is especially important when it occurs adjacent to wetland habitats, creating even more valuable habitat for wildlife. Often, upland habitat is preserved on-site to serve as mitigation for wetland impacts elsewhere on-site. When upland habitat is preserved it is required to be placed in a conservation easement along with wetlands and wetland buffers.

(Section 705 of the Land Development Code)

Threatened and Endangered Species

Threatened and Endangered Species are regulated by either the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (U.S. F & W S) or Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC). The Manatee County Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code require that during the proposed development approval process, project sites be biologically surveyed for Species of Special Concern and threatened or endangered species by a qualified biologist and evaluated for the presence of listed species or their nesting, burrowing, or denning sites. If protected species or nesting, burrowing or denning sites are encountered at the project site, county staff instruct the project's applicant to contact the relevant Federal or State agency for specific instructions and guidelines or required permits. County staff may also request additional surveys be conducted if warranted.

Section 705 of the Land Development Code

Other Useful Links

Manatee County Natural Resources Interactive Map Viewer

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Florida's Endangered Species Webpage

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Information for Planning and Consultation (IPAC)

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Wildlife Webpage

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Bald Eagle Management Webpage


Well Management Plan

Water wells are regulated by the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD). Manatee County upholds the requirements of SWFWMD through Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code policies that implement the regulations. During development review of a project, environmental review staff requires that the applicant identify the location of any existing wells on the parcel and if there are wells, staff requires a Well Management Plan be submitted.

A Well Management Plan (WMP) is required with every site that contains at least one water well on-site. The WMP is required to contain the following information for each well:

  • Digital photo of well along with nearby reference structures
  • GPS coordinates (latitude and longitude)
  • Methodology used to secure well during construction (e.g. fence, tape)
  • Final disposition of well (i.e. used, capped, or plugged)

Development Review staff requires the WMP with the review process and provides the plan to staff within the Natural Resources Department that deal with Well Permitting. Well Permitting staff, in turn, check that the wells are properly permitted or that they are abandoned or plugged in accordance with SWFWMD requirements.

(Section 704 of the Land Development Code)