Permitting Near Wetlands

Defining Wetlands

  • Many people think a wetland is where they can see water.  However, visible water does not define a wetland.
  • In order to know where a wetland is, a qualifed scientist has to delineate the wetland, in the field, applying scientific standards to examine soils, vegetation and characteristic physical markers (hydrologic indicators.)
  • This is called “setting a jurisdictional wetland line.”

Development Near Wetlands

  • If you have a wetland on or next to to your property, and would like to build or develop on that property, you will probably need to have a wetland line on your plans, unless your proposed development will be a considerable distance from the wetland.

Types of Projects That Might Require a Wetland Line

  • If you want to build a house, pool, well, shed, deck, patio, garage, carport, or just about anything else in the vicinity of a wetland, you will probably need to have a wetland line on your plans.

Conceptual Wetland vs. Field-Delineated Wetlands

How Much of My Land Will Be Buildable?

  1. Buildable acres of land are based on the wetland line and Pasco County wetland categories I, II or III.
  2. Pasco County protects Category I wetlands more strongly than the state of Florida does.  We do not allow impacts to Category I wetlands or impacts to the 25’ upland buffer around wetlands, except for public roads.
  3. The Comprehensive Plan defines Category I wetlands as
  4. “those wetlands which meet at least one (1) of the following criteria:
    • a.  Any wetland of any size that has a hydrological connection (not man-made) to natural surface water bodies, such as natural lakes, rivers and springs.
    • b.  Any wetland of any size that has a direct connection to the Floridan aquifer by way of an open sinkhole or spring.
    • c.  Any wetland of any size that is within a lake littoral zone.
    • d.  Any isolated, uninterrupted wetland 100 acres or larger.
    • e.  Any wetland of any size that provides critical habitat for Federal and/or State-listed threatened or endangered species.”
  5. Most Category I wetlands we see in Pasco County are either part of, or are connected to, a lake, pond, river, creek or the Gulf of Mexico, or are a swamp or marsh that is 100 acres or larger.
  6. For Category I wetlands, the buildable area will be the parcel area, minus the wetland -- defined by the wetland line -- minus the 25’ upland buffer, minus the zoning setbacks. To know your zoning setbacks, please call Zoning at 727.847.8140.
  7. The Comprehensive Plan defines Category II and III wetlands as, “Category II wetlands shall mean those wetlands which meet any of the following criteria:      a.  Consists of isolated wetlands or formerly isolated wetland which by way of man’s activities have been directly connected to other surface water drainage and are greater than five (5) acres.
    b.  Are less than 100 acres and do not otherwise qualify as a Category I Conservation Area.”
    “Category III wetlands shall mean those wetlands which meet any of the following criteria:
    a.  Isolated wetlands of less than five (5) acres.
    Do not otherwise qualify as Category I or Category II wetlands.”
    Pasco County defers jurisdiction over Category II and III wetlands to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.  We need FDEP’s decision regarding development on or near these wetlands.
    To access elements of the Comprehensive Plan, including Chapter 3, the  Conservation Element, please visit http://www.pascocountyfl.net/1807/Comprehensive-Plan 

How To Have A Wetland Delineated

Pasco County personnel do not delineate wetlands.  To hire a qualified scientist to delineate a wetland, please search on-line using the keywords “delineate” “wetlands” “Pasco County.”

Floodplain Compensation

Development near wetlands often requires floodplain compensation –  creating space to store stormwater that would fall onto or flow into a floodplain and that would be displaced by your house, pool, well, shed, deck, patio, garage, carport, etc.  For more information about floodplain compensation, please call x 8336 and ask for the floodplain development review technician.

Wetland Information Phone Line

Pasco County provides this wetland information on a recorded phone message which can be reached at 813.929.AQUA or 813.929.2782.

cypress swamp
pasco view
delineating a wetland

Photo credit @swampsisters17

marsh