This article explains how to increase the value of private Wetlands and why Wetlands has a bad reputation.


Disclaimer: The implementation of the information and ideas contained in this article are the responsibility of the property owner to verify and obtain permission from their local office in charge of evironmental protection.


WETLANDS VALUE AND HISTORY

WHY WETLANDS HAS A BAD RAP:

You’re warned by everyone you know to avoid Wetlands. Even the Real Estate community gets it wrong and warns you about buying property that has Wetlands as part of your purchase. The only problem for you as a potential buyer is that you’re listening to them. All you’re hearing are people repeating the negative view of Wetlands that originates from the construction industry.


Years ago, when people had the idea of developing or owning land for profit, Wetland was quickly eliminated from consideration. Many other people ended out buying land that could not be developed due to the unknown (or more likely, undisclosed) presence of Wetlands. Imagine how you’d feel if you bought land for development and found out after you own it that you can’t build on it. Often, Buyers were unaware of what they were purchasing, and frequently overpaid by a wide margin.


Buying property in the U.S. without knowing that Wetlands exists is less likely to happen today since the locations of the Wetlands are fully known and mapped. Buyers who do their due diligence, including Wetland Delineation, should easily uncover the existence of Wetlands. Not being able to build on the Wetland area, and unintentionally buying wetlands are the two main reasons for the negative reputation.


If it’s not your intent to build on the Wetland portion of your property, the underlying reason why Wetlands has a bad rap does not apply to you. There are many benefits to owning Wetlands if you understand its uses.


BAD RAP CONTINUES TODAY:

Small builders don’t want to hassle with Wetland regulations or find a work-around for building on property with Wetlands. Real Estate agents who don’t understand the Wetland portion of a property tend to think in terms of buildable lots. That thinking helps perpetuate the negative warnings instead of understanding the benefits of owning property with Wetlands as a component of the purchase.



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WETLANDS AUDIO


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Video: Improving the value of Wetland property (and a short history):

WETLANDS CAN BE A GREAT OPPORTUNITY:

Most people will have an opinion about your real estate purchase. They likely have good intentions but may not understand what you want and like for yourself. You're the person buying so keep that in mind as you hear opinions. You may end out missing your perfect property and end out with your friend's ideal preference. If you’re not planning on being a developer or building a house on the location of the Wetlands (including buffer zones), then buying property with a Wetland component can be a great opportunity.


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IMPROVING THE VALUE OF PRIVATE WETLAND PROPERTY:

In most instances, you can improve the usability of the Wetlands. Improved usability will increase the value of your Wetland acreage. With approval from the Agency in charge in your county (example, Environmental Protection Commission in Hillsborough County), you can file for approvals to cut trails, put in boardwalks (where useful), bridges (simple or high end), decks over water or scenic areas, and environmentally friendly structures like a Gazebo, Yurts, etc. You do need approval!

There are many benefits to owning property with Wetlands. If you’re a buyer looking at property in an area known for wetlands, call Scott to discuss the benefits.

SELLING PROPERTY WITH WETLANDS:

Your marketing approach should be different than how you market a cookie cutter house. There are some crossover marketing channels, but there are also several different approaches that you should be using to sell for top dollar.

If you’re a seller, speak with Scott about how to market your property.


ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA) and Private Wetlands:

The Rules of the Environmental Protection Agency and those agencies that report to them, aren’t created to stop private landowners from enjoying their Wetland portion of their property. They just want to make sure the Wetlands are not being degraded, or the ecological benefits destroyed.


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AGENCIES THAT CARRY OUT THE MISSION OF THE EPA:

When you want to improve your Wetland property, you need approval from the local agency in charge. As an example, in Hillsborough County, you would contact the Environmental Protection Commission. Many other counties have their own department that will handle Wetland usage issues.

For guidance of which agency handles your area, search the Water Management Districts map (scroll down when on their page) and you’ll find local contacts who can point you in the right direction (or call Scott for assistance
813-325-1005 Ext 701 or
941-882-5484 Ext 701).

When a county does not have an office like the Environmental Protection Commission, you can contact the Florida Environmental Protection Agency.

POPULATION AND WETLANDS LOSS IN FLORIDA

    YEAR / POPULATION

  • 1935:   1,613,000
  • 2020: 22,000,000 (projected)

  • YEAR / WETLANDS ACREAGE

  • 1830: 20,300,000 Acres
  • 2020: 10,100,000 Acres

The largest loss of Wetlands occurred before we understood the value of Wetlands. Since we now understand the importance of Wetlands, the loss of Wetlands has slowed tremendously. In fact, it is likely that the loss will turnaround and we’ll start to regain some of the lost Wetlands.

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RESTORED WETLANDS:

Before the canals were dug, dikes built, and millions of Wetland Acres were filled, the flow of water through the Wetlands had the effect of cleaning pollutants from Rain and other water sources. Since the Wetland’s natural flow has changed due to the need to accommodate Florida’s growth, many of the restored Wetlands no longer function as they originally had. Restored or newly created Wetlands are better than no fix to the loss of Wetlands but, they won’t function as well as the original natural conditions. The diversity of wildlife in the Wetlands is another important consideration.

RED TIDE and the loss of Wetlands:

The dreaded Red Tide that hits the West Coast of Florida every year can be traced back to the 50% loss of the Everglades natural flow and the change in water flow from Lake Okeechobee through the Everglades. Part of the water flow is also channeled East and West to accommodate a sugar cane farm and roads blocking the original flow.

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MITIGATING CREDITS FOR WETLANDS:

There are several variables in determining how much wetland can be developed in exchange for each Mitigating Credit you purchase. A great explanation is in this video by
Victoria Colangelo from
The Mitigation Banking Group:

Large developers buy mitigating credits when they want to build on land that has a component of Wetlands. If a large developer can do a workaround for the Wetland portion of their project, it often costs less than buying Mitigating Credits, but, the existence of Wetlands won’t stop developers from building.

CREATING A MITIGATING CREDIT BANK (YOU'RE THE BANKER):

Creating a Mitigating Credit Bank is complicated but can be done by anyone who has the property and financial resources required to restore or improve degraded Wetlands. (The Bank is the Wetland site itself.) Many government agencies are involved in the approval process. Mitigating Banks are privately and publicly owned. The credits are accounted for using a Ledger system which is recorded by the government agency that issued the approved credits for the bank.

THE PERMITEE (You/Permitted to Impact the Wetlands):

If you are developing land that has a component of acreage as wetlands, you may be able to buy Mitigating Credits to offset the loss (impact) that your development will cause to the Wetlands.

If you need assistance, call Scott:
941-882-5494 Ext 701
813-324-1005 Ext 701

BUFFER ZONES:

If you're buying property with Wetlands and you also have the idea of building on the upland portion, make sure you know your Buffer Requirements (in addition to zoning). If you're thinking of building near Wetlands, you'll need to know if you're required to have a 25 or 50 Foot Buffer between your structure and the Wetlands before you'll get approved.

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BUYING OR SELLING PROPERTY IN FLORIDA:

If you want to buy or sell property with a Wetland component, anywhere in Florida, call Scott to discuss your options. He can help you make sure that you’re using the best approaches to sell your property, or if buying, that the property is suitable for your expected usage purpose

If you have Real Estate questions, call Scott
Phone: 941-882-5494 Ext 701
Phone: 813-324-1005 Ext 701

Environmental Protection Agency aka EPA

Florida office of Environmental Protection - Water Policy


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