The Florida Department of Environmental Protection ("FDEP") has streamlined the Joint Coastal Permit ("JCP") program, established by Chapter 62B-49, Florida Administrative Code. JCPs provide authorization for activities that require both a coastal construction permit and an environmental resource permit (and sometimes a proprietary authorization to use sovereign submerged lands). A JCP is required for, among other activities, beach restoration, construction of erosion control structures, and maintenance of inlets.
FDEP's JCP rulemaking resulted in three noteworthy revisions. First, application and supporting documents must now be submitted electronically in searchable format unless the applicant demonstrates that this requirement poses a substantial technical or financial hardship.
Second, the revised rule expedites the application for, and review of, certain beach nourishment and inlet management maintenance projects that are constructed and maintained with no substantial changes in project scope. An applicant is not required to submit information responsive to a vast majority of items otherwise required by the JCP application if the project meets the following criteria:
- Physical and biological site conditions have not changed.
- Monitoring data shows that the project has performed according to design expectations.
- The project has met performance expectations.
- Advance nourishment fill volume is not greater than the advance nourishment fill volume authorized in the preceding permit.
- Biological monitoring data shows no additional adverse impacts which have resulted in a compliance and enforcement action.
- The applicant has conducted and submitted to FDEP all of the physical and biological monitoring data as well as mitigation required by permits for the preceding project.
Finally, most JCPs can now qualify for two maintenance dredging disposal events or a permit life of 15 years, whichever is greater. Previously, these permits were issued for 5 or 10 years.