CODE of MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA Codified through Ord. No. 03-179, enacted
July 22, 2003. (Supplement No. 39)
Chapter 24 ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION*
*Editor's note: Chapter 24, §§ 24-1--24-7, 24-11, 24-15--24-25, 24-30--24-39, 24-43,
24-47--24-49, 24-53--24-56, is originally derived from Ord. No. 67-95, § 1, adopted Dec.
19, 1967, effective ten (10) days after enactment, which ordinance amended said
chapter and sections to read as herein set out. Prior to amendment said chapter and
sections were originally derived from Ord. No. 63-14, adopted April 23, 1963, effective
ten (10) days after enactment, as amended by:
Ord. No. Section Date Ord. No. Section Date
64-39 11 9- 1-64 66-45 1 9-20-66
64-64 1 12-15-65 66-46 1 9-20-66
65-29 1 4-20-65 66-47 1 9-20-66
65-48 1 7- 6-65 66-48 1 9-20-66
65-73 1 11-23-65 67-15 8 3- 7-67
The title of the chapter was changed from "Pollution Control" by § 1 of Ord. No. 83-117,
adopted Dec. 20, 1983.
Cross references: Boats, docks and waterways, Ch. 7; dumps and landfill sites, Ch.
11B; development within coastal flood hazard districts, Ch. 11C; solid waste
management, Ch. 15; environmentally endangered lands program, Ch. 24A; water and
sewer regulations, Ch. 32; zoning, Ch. 33; areas of critical environmental concern, Ch.
33B; Biscayne Bay management, Ch. 33D; Key Biscayne Beach preservation, Ch. 33F.
State law references: Environmental control, F.S. ch. 403.
Art. I. In General, §§ 24-1--24-57.1
Art. II. Work in Canal Rights-of-Way, Tidal Waters, Submerged Bay-Bottom Lands and
Wetlands; Dewatering; Construction of Drainage Systems, §§ 24-58--24-59.2
Art. III. Tree Preservation and Protection, §§ 24-60--24-60.9
Art. IV. Stormwater Utility, §§ 24-61--24-61.5
ARTICLE I. IN GENERAL
Sec. 24-1. Short title.
This chapter enacted under and pursuant to the provisions of the Home Rule Charter of
Government for Miami-Dade County, Florida, shall be known and may be cited as the "
Miami-Dade County Environmental Protection Ordinance."
(Ord. No. 67-95, § 1, 12-19-67; Ord. No. 83-117, § 1, 12-20-83)
Sec. 24-2. Declaration of legislative intent.
The Board finds and determines that the reasonable control and regulation of activities
which are causing or may cause pollution or contamination of air, water, soil and
property is required for the protection and preservation of the public health, safety and
welfare. It is the intent and purpose of this chapter to provide and maintain for the
citizens and visitors of Miami-Dade County standards which will insure the purity of all
waters consistent with public health and public enjoyment thereof, the propagation and
protection of wildlife, birds, game, fish and other aquatic life, and atmospheric purity and
freedom of the air from contaminants of synergistic agents injurious to human, plant or
animal life, or property, or which unreasonably interfere with the comfortable enjoyment
of life or property, or the conduct of business. The Board finds it necessary to establish,
within the unincorporated and incorporated areas of Miami-Dade County, Countywide
water control, coastal engineering, and coastal wetlands management programs for the
purpose of maintaining adequate water levels, flood control, drainage, water
conservation, and prevention of saltwater intrusion; for preserving beaches and
shorelines; for managing coastal wetland resources; for acquisition of lands by gift,
donation, purchase, condemnation or otherwise, as necessary for such programs; and
providing for cooperation with federal, State and local agencies and authorities.
The Board further finds it necessary to maintain within Miami-Dade County a
freshwater wetlands management program for the purposes of providing adequate
water levels, flood control, water conservation, protection of water quality and recharge
to the Biscayne aquifer, and prevention of saltwater intrusion; for the maintenance of the
biological integrity of freshwater wetlands in Miami-Dade County; for the protection of
the interrelated natural functions between Miami-Dade County's wetlands and the
natural systems in Everglades National Park; for managing freshwater wetland
resources in accordance with environmental standards and management criteria as
recommended by the Miami-Dade County Comprehensive Development Master Plan
and Chapter 33B of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida, as amended from time to
time; and providing for cooperation with federal, State, and local agencies and
The Board finds it necessary to establish for Miami-Dade County a Tree and Forest
Resources Program for the purpose of protecting, preserving and replacing tree canopy,
preserving natural forest communities including associated understory, providing
protection for specimen-size trees and environmentally-sensitive tree resources,
conserving rare, endangered, threatened and endemic species, protecting historically-
significant tree resources, promoting the preservation of subtropical vegetation and
unique or unusual species, providing for wildlife habitat, maintaining the natural
character of neighborhoods, preservingthe natural diversity of species, promoting
environmentally-sound aesthetics, and providing for improved environmental quality by
recognizing the numerous beneficial effects of trees (including improvements to air
quality, maintenance of land areas essential to surface water management and aquifer
recharge, reduction of heat and noise pollution, water and energy conservation and
provision of shade and physical and psychological benefits to the people of Miami-Dade
County by enhancing urban development). This program shall be a minimum standard
and shall apply to both the incorporated and unincorporated areas, and in the
unincorporated areas shall be enforced by the Department of Environmental Resources
Management, and in the incorporated areas shall be enforced by the municipalities,
unless the County is notified by a municipality, in the form of a letter from an official of
the municipality or by resolution, that the municipality desires the County to enforce the
County Tree Management Program within the municipality. Any municipality may
establish and enforce its own ordinance provided such ordinance is equivalent to or
more stringent than the provisions of Ordinance Number 89-8.
The provisions of this chapter are not intended and shall not be construed as
superseding or conflicting with any statutory provisions relating to, or rules and
regulations promulgated by, the Florida State Department of Environmental Regulation,
but shall be construed as implementing and assisting the enforcement thereof. It is not
the intent of this Board to hereby preempt the authority of any municipality in the
exercise of its authority to issue coastal construction permits or to restrict it from
adopting more stringent standards, the purpose of this chapter being to establish
minimum standards for the issuance of coastal construction permits within all of Miami-
(Ord. No. 67-85, § 1, 12-19-67; Ord. No. 80-54, § 1, 6-3-80; Ord. No. 83-70, § 1, 9-6-
83; Ord. No. 88-92, § 2, 9-22-88; Ord. No. 88-95, § 2, 10-4-88; Ord. No. 89-6, § 1, 1-17-
89; Ord. No. 89-8, § 2, 2-21-89)
Sec. 24-3. Definitions.
In construing the provisions of this chapter, where the context will permit and no
definition is provided herein, the definitions provided in Chapter 403, Florida Statutes,
as may be amended from time to time, and in rules and regulations promulgated
thereunder, as may be amended from time to time, shall apply. The following words and
phrases when used in this chapter shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this
(1) Adequate protection by natural means shall mean one (1) or more of the
following processes of nature that produces water consistently meeting the
requirements of the standards in this chapter: Dilution, storage, sedimentation, sunlight,
aeration, and the associated physical and biological processes which tend to
accomplish natural purification in surface waters and, in the case of groundwaters, the
natural purification of water by infiltration through soil and percolation through
underlying material and storage below the ground water table, as may be approved by
(2) Adequate protection by treatment shall mean complete or full treatment which is
the combination of the controlled processes of coagulation, sedimentation, absorption,
filtration, disinfection, or other processes which produce a water consistently meeting
the potable water standards including processes which are appropriate to the quality of
the raw water supply; works which are of adequate capacity to meet maximum
demands without creating health hazards, and which are located, designed and
constructed to eliminate or prevent pollution; and conscientious operation by well
trained and competent personnel whose qualifications are commensurate with the
responsibilities of the position and acceptable to the DERM.
(2.1) Adequate transmission capacity shall mean that each pump stations receiving
sewage flow from the sewer service connection, the pump station immediately upstream
from the pump station receiving sewage flow from the sewer service connection, and all
pump stations through which sewage flow from the sewer service connection is
transmitted to the wastewater treatment facility receiving such sewage flow, is operating
(A) with fixed-speed pumps at a nominal daily average pump station operating time
equal to or less than ten (10) hours per day, taking into account all existing sewage flow
and loadings, including anticipated sewage flow resulting from all previously authorized
sewer service connections or (B) with multiple-speed pumps at a nominal average
power consumption that is equal to or less than forty-six (46) percent of the rated
multiple-speed pump station motor horsepower or the equivalent thereof as approved
by the director of his designee or (C) with variable-speed pumps at a nominal average
power consumption that is equal to or less than a percentage of the rated variable-
speed pump station motor horsepower as follows: (i) the percentage for all of the
variable frequency driven pumps in the pump station shall be forty-nine (49) percent; (ii)
the percentage for all of the magnetic-drive type variable speed pumps in the pump
station shall be sixty-five (65) percent; and (iii) the percentage for all of the electrolyte
rheostat or resistor bank type of variable speed drive pumps in the pump station shall
be sixty-one (61) percent; or the equivalent of any of the foregoing, as applicable, as
approved by the director or his designee, or (D) in such a manner that, upon completion
of a rainfall dependent peak flow management study approved by the director or his
designee, the pump station is capable of managing peak flows (during a one (1) in two-
year storm event as determined by the South Florida Water Management District) with a
back-up pump out-of-service without causing or contributing to overflows in the
collection and transmission system.
(2.2) Adequate treatment capacity shall mean that the wastewater treatment plant
which will receive flow from a sewer service connection shall not be in noncompliance
as defined in 40 C.F.R. Part 123.45, Appendix A.
(3) Adverse environmental impact shall mean any change in the physical or
biological conditions of the natural environment within or adjacent to the area that
results in a substantial detrimental effect upon flora, fauna, air, water, minerals or other
natural characteristic(s) of the area.
Sec. 24-58.1. Permit classifications; interpretation as to permit requirement, fee;
determination of wetlands.
(1) There are six (6) permit classifications: class I, class II, class III, class IV, class V
and class VI.
(a) Class I: Class I permits are required to trim, cut or alter a mangrove tree
anywhere in Miami-Dade County or for any type of work as defined herein to take place
in, on, over or upon any tidal waters, bay bottom lands anywhere in Miami-Dade County
or in wetlands supporting halophytic vegetation anywhere in Miami-Dade County,
including but not limited to dredging or filling provided, however, that class I permits
shall not apply to the construction, installation or alterations of outfalls or overflow
systems as described under the definition of class II permits (Section 24-58.1(1)(b)).
(b) Class II: Class II permits are required for the construction, installation and/or
alteration of any outfall or overflow system in, on, under or upon any water body of
Miami-Dade County, including, but not limited to, canals, rivers, lakes, lagoons and/or
all tidal water bodies.
(c) Class III: Class III permits are required for work in, on, upon or contiguous to
nontidal lakes, canals, rivers and other water areas and waterfronts under the direct
control of Miami-Dade County by virtue of ownership, dedication by plat, right-of-way
easement, reservation, or right-of-way and access agreement or instrument, including
canal right-of-way as herein defined; provided, however, that class III permits shall not
apply to Sections 33-13(e) and 33-16(a) of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida, nor
shall they apply to the construction, installation, and/or alteration of outfalls or overflow
systems as described under the definition of class II permits (Section 24-58.1(1)(b)).
(d) Class IV: Class IV permits are required for any work in, on, or upon wetlands not
supporting halophytic vegetation anywhere in Miami-Dade County.
(e) Class V: Class V permits are required for any dewatering of groundwater, surface
water or water which has entered into an underground facility, excavation or trench.
(f) Class VI: Class VI permits are required for drainage systems to be installed in
(2) If any person is in doubt as to whether or not the proposed work requires a permit
as hereunder provided, said person may request a written determination from the
Director of Miami-Dade County Environmental Resources Management. Within thirty
(30) days after receipt of such request, the Director of Miami-Dade County
Environmental Resources Management shall issue a letter of interpretation with respect
to whether or not a permit is required for the proposed work. The Director of the
Department of Environmental Resources Management may require any or all of the
information which is required in a short form permit application as a condition precedent
to the issuance of such a letter. Such letter shall have no precedential value to any
person other than the person who requested said written determination, or his grantees,
heirs, successors or assigns. A fee, to be set by administrative order approved by the
Board of County Commissioners, shall be collected from any person requesting a letter
of interpretation by the Director of the Department of Environmental Resources
Management. The fee shall be applied towards the permit application fee if the Director
determines that a permit is required.
(3) Determinations as to the landward extent of wetlands shall be based on the
unified statewide methodology adopted pursuant to Section 373.421(1), Florida
Statutes, as amended from time to time. A determination that any portion of a tract of
land is not a wetland does not preclude the requirement for a permit on any other
portion of the tract that is determined to be a wetland. The unified statewide
methodology adopted pursuant to Section 373.421(1), Florida Statutes, as amended
from time to time, is hereby adopted by reference, as same may be amended from time
(Ord. No. 80-54, § 5, 6-3-80; Ord. No. 83-61, § 4, 7-19-83; Ord. No. 83-70, § 5, 9-6-83;
Ord. No. 85-87, § 4, 10-1-85; Ord. No. 94-131, § 5, 6-21-94; Ord. No. 95-27, § 4, 2-7-
Sec. 24-58.2. Permit application forms; procedures.
There are two (2) types of application forms; short form and standard form. The general
criteria for determining the type of application form required are based on the magnitude
of the project, and its potential environmental impact. Unless waived by the municipality,
the applicant's plans shall require municipal approval.
(I) Short Form Permit Application:
(A) When permissible: A short form permit application may be accepted by the
Department of Environmental Resources Management for the following types of work:
(21) Clearing, farming, filling, dredging, plowing or any other work within
wetlands requiring a class IV permit and not lying within the Bird Drive
Everglades Wetland Basin or the North Trail Wetland Basin where the usage is
consistent with existing zoning regulations and where the cumulative area upon
which work will be performed does not exceed:
(a) One (1) acre of wetlands in areas designated as "Environmental
Protection" on the current Miami-Dade County Comprehensive Development
Master Plan Map, or
(b) Ten (10) acres of wetlands in areas designated as "Open Land" or
"Agriculture" on the current Miami-Dade County Comprehensive Development
Master Plan Map, or
(c) Fifteen (15) acres of wetlands for lands inside the "Urban Development
Boundary Line" as it appears on the current Miami-Dade County Comprehensive
Development Master Plan.
(26) Clearing, placement of clean fill or dredging in wetlands associated with a
modification of the Central and South Florida Flood Control Project, intended to
restore historical patterns of hydrologic flow to Everglades National Park, Florida
Bay or Biscayne Bay and performed by the State of Florida or the United States
Government. Modifications intended to provide additional drainage of wetland
areas shall be subject to the provisions of Section 24-58.2(II)(A).
ARTICLE II. WORK IN CANAL RIGHTS-OF-WAY, TIDAL WATERS, SUBMERGED
BAY-BOTTOM LANDS, AND WETLANDS; DEWATERING; CONSTRUCTION OF
*Editor's note: Ord. No. 80-54, § 5, adopted June 3, 1980, amended the Code by
adding provisions designated §§ 24-58--24-58.13. For purposes of facilitating indexing
and reference, the editor has designated said provisions Art. II of Ch. 24.
Section 10 of Ord. No. 80-54 provides that said ordinance shall be applicable to the
incorporated and the unincorporated areas of Miami-Dade County. Further, § 14 of said
ordinance provides as follows:
"Section 14. This ordinance is prospective in its application and shall not apply to
projects for which a complete application has been submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers, or the State of Florida Department of Environmental Regulation or the
Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resources Management or to a
municipality prior to the effective date of this ordinance."
Sec. 24-58.21. Wetlands Trust Fund.
(1) The Wetlands Trust Fund is created for use in acquiring, restoring, enhancing,
managing or monitoring (or any combination of the above) wetlands within Miami-Dade
County as well as any associated hammock and pineland communities. Monies also
may be disbursed for such purposes for wetlands located outside of Miami-Dade
County so long as they benefit wetland ecosystems in Miami-Dade County. The
Finance Director is hereby authorized and directed to establish the Wetlands Trust Fund
and to receive and disburse monies in accordance with the provisions of this section.
(2) The Wetlands Trust Fund shall receive monies from the following sources:
(a) All revenues collected by the Department of Environmental Resources
Management pursuant to Section 24-58.5(b)(5).
(b) All monies accepted by Miami-Dade County in the form of federal, state, or other
governmental grants, allocations, or appropriations, as well as foundation or private
grants and donations, for the acquisition, restoration, enhancement, management or
monitoring of wetlands as provided for in Section 24-58.21(4).
(c) Such additional allocations as may be made by the Board of County
Commissioners from time to time for the purposes set forth herein.
(d) All interest generated from the sources identified in Section 24-58.21(2)(a), (b)
and (c) hereinabove, except where monies received have been otherwise designated or
(3) The Wetlands Trust Fund shall be maintained in trust by the Finance Director for
the Board of County Commissioners solely for the purposes set forth herein, in a
separate and segregated fund of the County which shall not be commingled with other
County funds until disbursed for an authorized purpose pursuant to Section 24-58.21(4).
(4) Disbursements from the Wetlands Trust Fund shall only be made for the following
(a) Acquisition, including by eminent domain, restoration, enhancement,
management or monitoring of wetland properties located within Miami-Dade County.
(b) All costs associated with each such acquisition including, but not limited to,
appraisals, surveys, title search work, real property taxes, documentary stamps and
surtax fees, and other transaction costs.
(c) Costs of administering the activities enumerated in Section 24-58.21(4)(a) and
(b), hereinabove, will be funded from the proceeds of the Wetlands Trust Fund until
such time as the fund is closed.
(5) Disbursements from the Wetlands Trust Fund for the acquisition of eligible
properties shall require approval by the Board of County Commissioners after a public
hearing on the proposed acquisition. A notice of the time and place of said public
hearing shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in Miami-Dade County
a minimum of seven (7) days prior to the public hearing. Said notice shall include the
location and a brief statement of the reason for the proposed acquisition.
(Ord. No. 92-80, § 8, 7-21-92; Ord. No. 94-131, § 10, 6-21-94; Ord. No. 00-33, § 1, 3-9-
00; Ord. No. 00-163, § 1, 12-7-00)