October 2023, Volume 25, Issue 9

Thank you to our Newsletter Sponsors!

 Table of Contents

A Message from FSA's Conference Committee Chair

Mike HardinFSA’s Winter Conference registration is open and there’s still time to secure your spot! This Winter Conference will take place at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista South in Kissimmee from Wednesday, November 29th to Friday, December 1st. It is a beautiful facility, and we are excited to see everyone again to share ideas and grow our personal connections. You’re not going to want to miss it!

The Florida Stormwater Association strives to be your best source for stormwater education, product information, and networking. This year’s conference will feature an excellent pre-conference workshop focused on resilience and sustainability with experts from around the state. The conference will feature presentations from top stormwater professionals across the state on an array of topics relevant to Florida from resilience planning to guidance on dealing with biosolids, and conference attendees are eligible to receive continuing education credits.

We hope you’ll join us for the last event of the year, we look forward to seeing you there!

Mike Hardin, PhD, PE, CFM
Conference Committee Chair
Geosyntec Consultants

Fertilizer Ordinance Survey

In late September, FSA members received FSA’s Fertilizer Ordinance Survey requesting basic information from local governments about current fertilizer ordinances and whether they include a seasonal application ban. For those that have responded to the short survey, we greatly appreciate your feedback! If you have not yet responded you still have time, the survey will be open until COB Friday, November 3, 2023. The survey is simple in nature but will provide valuable information for the 2024 Legislative Session.

As a reminder, at the end of the 2023 Legislative Session, a one-year ban was adopted for new local government fertilizer ordinances that includes a seasonal ban on fertilizer application. FSA aligned with the Florida League of Cities and Audubon Florida requesting that the Governor veto this budget line item. FSA believes that this ban was not necessary and a study that could have significant impact on local government policy cannot be achieved in a 6-month time frame. While a study could be valuable, it should be done in a manner that allows adequate time to conduct research, be coordinated through an unbiased party, and would allow local governments (that rely on these bans) to participate in the research. Despite our concerns, the ban was adopted, and the University of Florida Institute for Food and Agricultural Science (UF/IFAS) is currently conducting a literature review on the effectiveness of fertilizer ordinances including seasonal bans. This review is due to be completed before the start of the 2024 Legislative Session.

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 and increased nutrient removal throughout the state of Florida. It applies to all public and private developments, including residential, commercial, industrial, and permitted agricultural facilities. The rule also strengthens operation and inspection requirements and outlines how to manage stormwater runoff from construction sites. The final draft rule was published with a Notice of Change on March 24, 2023, and was filed with the Department of State on April 28, 2023. The next step in the rulemaking process is ratification by the legislature which must be done before the rule will be effective given the statewide fiscal impact of the rule change. We anticipate seeing ratification of the rule during the 2024 Legislative Session.

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.

Water Quality Enhancement Area Rule Development and Workshops

FDEP is continuing the development of the Water Quality Enhancement Area rule by scheduling the first rule development workshop for November 8th. This is a rule development workshop will discuss and receive public input on the development of proposed amendments to Chapter 62-330, F.A.C., to establish a water quality credit trading program between water quality enhancement areas permitted under the environmental resource permitting program and governmental entities. Input will also be requested on potential future rule development workshop topics. Visit FDEP’s Water Quality Enhancement Areas Rulemaking webpage for updates on this rulemaking effort including details on upcoming workshops. FSA will continue to monitor and communicate with FDEP and provide comments. Throughout this process if you have comments you would like FSA to include, please email them to [email protected].

Of note, the rule development that occurs during these workshops does not impact the stormwater rule package that has already been adopted and is pending ratification by the Legislature.

FDEP Impaired Waters Rule (IWR) Assessment Update

On October 8, 2023, FDEP notified stakeholders that draft assessment lists of waterbodies and water segments for the 2022-24 Biennial Assessment were available for review and comment. These draft lists were developed based on water quality and biological data included in the IWR Run 64 database, which included data through July 13, 2022.

As noted in the announcement:

The draft assessment lists were developed pursuant to Chapter 62-303, Florida Administrative Code, and include all 29 basins in the state. The Draft Verified Lists include those waters that are proposed as additions to the State's Verified List of Impaired Waters and the federal 303(d) list. The Draft Delist Lists include those waters that are proposed for removal the State's Verified List and federal 303(d) list. The Draft Study Lists include those waters that do not attain water quality standards and additional information is needed to confirm attainment; where there is an alternative restoration plan in place; that have an adverse trend in nutrients or nutrient response variables; or where there are exceedances of stream nutrient thresholds, but the department does not have enough information to fully assess nonattainment of the stream nutrient water quality standard. The Draft Study List Removals Lists include those waters that no longer meet the listing requirements for the Study List, as identified in Rule 62-303.390, F.A.C., and are submitted to EPA for removal from the CWA section 303(d) list.

The Department held two public meetings, one on October 18th and the other on October 25th, and FDEP will be receiving comments on the draft lists until November 10, 2023. Comments on the draft assessment lists should be submitted by email to [email protected].

New Stormwater Funding Resources! 

Environmental Justice and Climate Resilience Program – November 9th Deadline
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) recently launched the third edition of the EJ4Climate grant program that addresses “Community empowerment strategies to improve resilience to extreme weather events in urban settings.” Initiated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2021, the EJ4Climate Grant program is dedicated to empowering underserved and vulnerable communities, and Indigenous communities, across North America to help prepare them for climate-related impacts. The deadline to apply is November 9, 2023, view the Call for Proposals. For more information about the EJ4Climate Grant Program, contact [email protected].

Innovative Water Infrastructure Workforce Development
EPA announced a new Request for Applications for the Innovative Water Infrastructure Workforce Development Grant Program. Over $20 million in grant funding will be available for eligible organizations interested in building a stronger pool of skilled and diverse workers in the water and wastewater utilities sector – including stormwater and green infrastructure. Learn more.

Job training and workforce development are an important part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance economic opportunities and address environmental justice issues in underserved communities. Eligible organizations interested in applying must submit their application to EPA by November 17, 2023. EPA encourages all eligible organizations who have an interest in the following types of projects to apply:

• Project Area 1: Targeted internships apprenticeships for skilled water utility trades.
• Project Area 2: Education programs designed for elementary, secondary, and higher education students.
• Project Area 3: Regional industry and workforce development collaborations to hiring qualified candidates.
• Project Area 4: Leadership development, occupational training, mentoring, or cross-training programs that support career advancement.
• Project Area 5: Education and training programs designed for decentralized (septic) water workers to support public health for communities that rely on private wells for drinking water or septic systems.
• Project Area 6: Training and development for workforce development programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants to benefit disadvantaged communities.

Water Finance Clearinghouse
EPA’s Water Finance Center recently posted a new Financing Stormwater Management Infrastructure learning module. This learning module is for municipal officials and utility managers seeking to identify financing to support capital investments in stormwater management. The purpose of the learning modules is to provide an interactive learning experience for users who are interested in exploring specific water finance topics. The learning modules are designed to provide a high-level overview of water finance topics as well as additional content that dives deeper into the subject matter. Resources and case studies are included throughout the modules to provide additional information on the specific water finance topic. Visit EPA’s Water Finance Clearinghouse for more information. 

Seagrass Restoration General Permit Revised Draft

FDEP is proposing to amend portions of Chapter 62-330, F.A.C., and create a new rule. These amendments and new rule will create a new General Permit for Seagrass Restoration. These changes propose to simplify and clarify rule language, increase efficiency, and improve coordination with other agencies for seagrass restoration projects. A revised draft Seagrass Restoration General Permit is now available online. For more information on this rulemaking effort, visit the Division of Water Resource Management's Rules in Development webpage or email Zachary Eckstein or Timothy Rach.

Legislative Session Interim Committee Meetings Update

We are just around the corner from the start of 2024 Legislative Session and state representatives are busy working on interim committee meetings and special sessions. Interim Legislative Committee meetings will continue through December 2023 and the 2024 Legislative Session convenes on January 9th. So far, the Water Quality, Supply & Treatment Subcommittee met once in September but has no future meetings on the calendar. The Select Committee on Hurricane Resiliency & Recovery and the Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittees both met in October. During the Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee, state agencies, including FDEP, provided an overview of budget requests for 2024. Watch FSA’s Members Only Legislative webpage as we track key stormwater focused legislation for the 2024 Session.

Join Us at FSA's Winter Conference

Join us for FSA's 2023 Winter Conference to be held November 29 - December 1, 2023, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista South in Kissimmee, Florida. View the agenda to see what important topics stormwater professionals are discussing such as our Pre-Conference Workshop panel focused on Resiliency and Sustainability.

Are you looking for a way to show your commitment to the stormwater community? Seeking an opportunity to share your products with Florida’s stormwater professionals? If so, show your commitment and interact with stormwater professionals as a Winter Conference exhibitor or sponsor! Learn more or register today on the Exhibitor and Sponsor Information page.

Meet Jessica Kramer
Deputy Secretary, Regulatory Programs, FDEP

Jessica Kramer will be providing the keynote address at FSA’s Winter Conference! Jessica Kramer joined FDEP as Deputy Secretary for Regulatory Programs in February bringing extensive experience in environmental and water resources policy.

Ms. Kramer most recently served as Senior Policy Advisor and Counsel for Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, where she worked with clients in the energy, environment, and natural resources fields, providing legal advice as well as assisting with congressional lobbying efforts. Prior to Brownstein, she worked on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, where she provided legal and policy counsel on all matters related to water as well as on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Ms. Kramer served as the principal staffer responsible for drafting, negotiating, and managing the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021. She was also the lead staffer on the water and water-related provisions contained in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, signed into law in November 2021.

Welcome to the Department Jessica, FSA looks forward to seeing you at the Winter Conference!

2024 FSA Education Events – Save the Date

With the year coming to an end, many of you are asking for information on FSA’s 2024 educational events. Mark your calendars now to join us next year for FSA’s preeminent stormwater education:

  • Webinars  March 14, 2024 and May 9, 2024 – Free Online Events
  • Annual Conference  June 12-14, 2024 – Sanibel Harbour Marriott
  • Fall Seminar - September 6, 2024 – Embassy Suites Lake Buena Vista South
  • Winter Conference – December 4-6, 2024 – Embassy Suites Lake Buena Vista South

Stay tuned for more details including the release of the Annual Conference Call for Presentations in November!

TODAY is the Last Day to Register for FSA's Final Recertification Courses of the Year!

Level 1 Manual

Level 2 Manual

Registration will close today, Tuesday, October 31st for the Stormwater Operator Recertification Courses on November 7th. FSA Stormwater Operator 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 today!

Don't know when your certification expires? To find out you can view the Stormwater Operator Certification Renewal Date List or contact FSA. Visit the Fogarty Training Center's recertification webpage for all the details.

 Don’t Let This Be Your Last Newsletter - Renew Today 

FSA’s 2023-24 fiscal year begins November 1st. Don't let your member benefits end, renew today! After November 1st, your organization's membership will enter a temporary 30-day “Grace Period.” Your membership will expire on November 30th and all benefits will be discontinued for your organization. Renewal information has been sent to the primary contact in your organization. If you would like to check your membership status, call us at 888-221-3124 or email FSA today.

Invest in the Future of Stormwater Management!

Did you know that FSA’s Educational Foundation sponsors scholarships every year? Join us at the 2023 Winter Conference to see this year’s recipients. By providing these scholarships, students are encouraged and inspired to pursue careers in stormwater management.

The Foundation needs your help. These scholarships are only made possible by you, with your generous contributions. The best part is your contribution is a WIN! WIN! By donating, you not only help to further the stormwater management profession, your donation is also tax-deductible.

Individuals can give - Organizations can give – It’s tax deductible!

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