September 2023, Volume 25, Issue 8

Thank you to our Newsletter Sponsors!

 Table of Contents

A Message from Your Membership Chair

Cassidy Reichert

I am thrilled to announce that FSA’s current membership is the highest it’s ever been with a total of 339 members! This was a lofty goal of the Membership Committee, and I hope to continue on this path for this upcoming fiscal year. I have no doubt that we can continue growing and improving as Florida’s premiere association for stormwater resources. As FSA continues to flourish, the Membership Committee remains dedicated to membership retention, innovative recruitment strategies, and analyzing member services. We aim to produce a membership survey this year, so please consider completing it so that we can continue to thrive as an association.

Speaking of member services… What are the benefits of being a member of FSA?

  • Networking and information sharing with other stormwater professionals
  • Discounts on two statewide conferences and one statewide seminar
  • Free webinars each year for you and your staff (membership is organizational, not individual)
  • Stormwater operator certification courses through the FSA Fogarty Training Center
  • Outstanding regulatory and advocacy services
  • Weekly legislative updates during legislative session
  • Ten issues of the fastTRACKS e-newsletter per year
  • Free job postings to the Career Center
  • Exclusive access to FSA’s Survey of Stormwater Utilities

October kicks off the Fall Recruitment Campaign and continuing membership renewal process. Although the Membership Committee is tasked with communicating member benefits to potential members and generating innovative recruitment tactics, I like to think that this mission is really an association-wide effort for FSA. The Member Services page on FSA’s website is a great tool when talking to potential new members and a reminder to current members about all of the great benefits FSA membership brings. Please remember to renew quickly to maintain your organization’s member benefits!

I am honored once again to be FSA’s Membership Committee Chair, and I look forward to another productive year!

Cassidy Reichert
Membership Committee Chair
City of Jacksonville

2023 Winter Conference - Register Now!

Winter Conference 2023FSA invites you to attend the 2023 Winter Conference! The Conference will be held at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista South in Kissimmee, Florida from November 29 - December 1, 2023.  The Conference will cover a variety of key issues facing Florida’s stormwater community. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to network with your peers, see the latest technologies and products in the Exhibit Hall, and learn from leading stormwater experts.

Membership Renewal Open Now!

FSA’s 2023-24 fiscal year begins November 1st.  Don’t let your membership lapse!  Keep all of the member services and benefits current for ALL of the employees of your organization.  Early renewal notices were sent in mid-August.  Moving forward, watch your inbox for renewal emails from FSA as we will not be mailing paper invoices this year.  QUESTIONS?  Call (888) 221-3124.

WOTUS Update

On August 29th, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released an updated revised final rule (referred to as the “conforming rule”) based on decisions made by the US Supreme Court ruling on the Sackett v. EPA case.  The conforming rule, which became effective on September 8th, removed some of the key components of the significant nexus test. The conforming rule was released to better define jurisdictional control of wetlands not directly connected to navigable waters yet does leave some questions on how states can define and interpret wetland designations.  During the September interim committee meeting mentioned earlier in this newsletter, FDEP provided an overview of the Sackett decision and how that may impact how Florida permits wetlands, and many questions were asked on how the state will move forward and if legislature can assist with the implementation of federal rule.  One should assume this will be a big topic in 2024, and state legislators may want to pass laws that limit state wetland designations to only follow the federal approach, vs the more comprehensive state approach taken now. Visit FSA’s WOTUS page for more information as we continue to monitor this topic.

FSA Seminar and Statewide Stormwater Rule

The FSA Fall Seminar was held on September 8th in Kissimmee, FL, and the focus was solely on the new – yet not effective – Statewide Stormwater Rule. The Fall Seminar offered a detailed analysis of the rule with FDEP providing detailed examples of implementation. FSA greatly appreciates the information provided by FDEP staff, who not only provided information but answered questions from participants and took comments on how best to move forward. As discussed in previous newsletters and during the Fall Seminar, the adopted rule remains waiting for rule ratification, hopefully during the 2024 Legislative Session. The adopted rule, published in March 2023, is not effective until legislative ratification, meaning any changes to the certified rule will require a full reset of the process, including a new review and comment period, and another chance to challenge the rule. Visit the Statewide Stormwater Rule section of the FSA Advocacy page for a complete history of how we got here.

2024 Legislative Session Interim Committee Meetings Update

CapitolInterim Committee Meetings for the 2024 Legislative Session started in September, including the Water Quality, Supply & Treatment Subcommittee which met on September 19th. The focus of the meeting was a presentation on wetlands including a permit overview by FDEP and a summary of mitigation banking by the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD). FDEP provided guidance on how recent revisions to Waters of The United States (WOTUS) will impact the state process, acknowledging that there are still some questions on the interpretation of the new revised WOTUS rule that may impact wetland determinations. SJRWMD staff provided a detailed summary on wetland mitigation banking, including the regulations that define the process, the mechanisms for sales, and some of the ongoing efforts to expand existing mitigation opportunities. Wetlands will likely be a significant topic during the 2024 Legislative Session, and we can assume that legislators may take action to further limit the state’s ability to make wetland determinations beyond the federal definition. Stay tuned, FSA will continue to monitor this subject and provide updates.

Water Quality Enhancement Area Rule Development and Workshops

FDEP continues its efforts to develop the Water Quality Enhancement Area (WQEA) rule. This rule making effort is 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 include environmental resource permitting requirements for the water quality enhancement area facilities and the governmental entities. FDEP plans on having a workshop this Fall (tentatively late October) to discuss rule language, visit WQEA Rulemaking page for details.

FDEP MS4 Population Review

Data has been published by the EPA based on the 2020 census population numbers which could increase the size and/or need to develop new MS4 entities. This new data will largely impact Phase II entities but all MS4s should stay engaged. FDEP recently announced that they are currently reviewing data this Fall and Winter noting changes to permittees, including an increase to boundaries or new designations, could happen as early as 2024. Visit EPA’s NPDES page for more information.

Blue Green Algae Task Force Meetings

The Florida Blue Green Algae Task Force (BGATF) held two meetings during the month of September. First on September 12th, the Task Force held a Pre-Meeting Presentation, which focused on the ongoing Task Force discussion on Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) project locations and prioritizations. FDEP presented data on restoration project planning and assessment, including how projects are tracked, monitored, and assessed, and new project requirements of HB 1379. The meeting’s focus was to provide information as no comments or questions were allowed from the public. On September 20th, the Task Force held a full meeting in West Palm Beach, FL. The meeting focused on two topics, the first being a summary of past symposia on the science of algae research and mitigation efforts. The second topic returned to the BMAP project analysis. Members discussed the information presented previously focusing on project development and assessment.  Visit the BGATF page for all meeting details and materials.

2023 is Flying By - Don't Let Your Certification Expire!

Level 1 Manual

Level 2 Manual

The last opportunity in 2023 to renew your Stormwater Operator Certification will be through online webinars held on November 7, 2023. FSA Certifications must be renewed every five years. The Fogarty Training Center offers Online Recertification Webinars that provide a convenient, cost-effective way to renew your certification. Register for Level 1 and/or Level 2 by Friday, October 27th to save your seat! 

Not sure when your certification expires? Log in to your personal FSA profile, scroll down to find your Level 1 and/or Level 2 expiration year or you can view the Stormwater Operator Certification Renewal Date List.

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