State and Federal Environmental Permitting Procedures                 for Hurricane Irma Recovery

September 2017

Following declaration of Florida as a federal disaster area by Governor Scott on September 4, 2017, State and federal agencies have issued revised environmental permitting procedures to facilitate swift response to secure shoreline property and reduce economic damage following Hurricane Irma. These documents are long and contain a lot of technically-complex text. Utilization of these procedures may save considerable time and money in storm recovery. SWC staff has thoroughly reviewed the revised permitting procedures and prepared a summary to assist the community and our clients with critical issues and deadlines. We are available to clarify this information in relation to your specific circumstances and to assist with preparing and processing applications and filings.


Critical Deadlines:

  • Filing of request for field verification by State agencies, February 27, 2018
  • Expiration of State special procedures, February 27, 2018
  • Expiration of Federal special procedures, March 7, 2018


Please click the link to open a downloadable copy of SWC’s summary memo. In addition, links to downloadable versions of the detailed agency documents summarized in the memo are provided below. Agencies are issuing updates and interpretations of these documents and SWC will periodically post updated memoranda and new documents on the website.

SWC Hurricane Irma Environmental Permitting Summary, January 30, 2018 link

SWC Hurricane Irma Environmental Permitting Summary, January 02, 2018 link

SWC Hurricane Irma Environmental Permitting Summary, December 04, 2017 link

SWC Hurricane Irma Environmental Permitting Summary, November 06, 2017 link

SWC Hurricane Irma Environmental Permitting Summary, September 27, 2017 link

SWC Hurricane Irma Environmental Permitting Summary, September 24, 2017 link


STATE OF FLORIDA, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Florida’s Water Management Districts (WMDs)

DEP Emergency Order Amendment, January 30, 2018 link


DEP Emergency Order Amendment, December 29, 2017 link


DEP Emergency Order Amendment, October 4, 2017 link


DEP Amended Procurement Order, October 4, 2017 link


DEP Emergency Order, September 4, 2017 link


DEP Emergency Order Amendment, September 15, 2017 link


DEP Email Clarification, September 19, 2017 link


DEP Guidance Flyer, September 17, 2017 link


FEDERAL, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) & National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)

USACE Alternative Emergency Procedures (IRMA) flow-chart, October 11, 2017 New! link


USACE Jacksonville District’s Programmatic Biological Opinion (JAXBO), November 20, 2017 New! link


USACE Alternate Permit Procedures, September 7, 2017 link


USACE Emergency Permitting Questionnaire, September 20, 2017 link


USACE Emergency Pre-construction Notice Form, September 21, 2017 link


NMFS Emergency Guidance, September 7, 2017 link


NMFS Endangered Species Act Exemption for Public Facilities, September 23, 2017 link


NMFS Hazardous Materials Consultation, September 7, 2017 link


Local Consultant Chairing Regional Board

January, 2015

Local environmental and planning consultant Sandra Walters has been elected as the 2015 board chair for the South Florida Regional Planning Council.  Ms. Walters has been serving on the Council since her appointment by Governor Jeb Bush in 2005.  She has subsequently been reappointed by Governor Charlie Crist and Governor Rick Scott.

“I am so honored to serve as an appointee by three governors to this important regional body,” said Ms. Walters. “In my capacity as chairperson, I look forward to having a significant role in assisting Monroe County at the State level with important issues.”

The South Florida Regional Planning Council is composed of elected officials and Governor’s appointees from Broward, Dade and Monroe counties.  Ms. Walters represents Monroe County along with two County commissioners and one city representative, with these seats presently held by County Commissioners David Rice and George Neugent and Key West Commissioner Jimmy Weekley.

The Council oversees issues of regional importance, with a current focus on economic development and transportation, and reviews and comments on all changes to local comprehensive plans and large-scale projects called developments of regional impact.  Council staff conducts and participates in regional studies and programs, and assists local governments with specific issues, such as Monroe County’s Marina Siting Plan. The Council also administers a loan program to assist small businesses that cannot qualify for standard loan sources.

Ms. Walters has a masters degree in marine affairs from University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.  She worked as a staff member at the Regional Planning Council from 1980 to 1984, and served from 2000 to 2004 as a Bush appointee on Florida’s Acquisition and Restoration Council, which oversees purchase and management of all State conservation lands.  Her company, SWC, has offices in Key West, Miami and Ft. Myers, and has provided ecological, environmental, planning and communications services to public and private-sector clients in the Florida Keys and Florida for 18 years.  Ms. Walters has been an active professional in these fields for more than 30 years.

Sandy Walters reappointed to SFRPC

KEY WEST, FL, May 5, 2014
Monroe County resident Sandy Walters was recently reappointed to the South Florida Regional Planning Council by Governor Rick Scott, and received confirmation of the appointment by the Florida Senate.
Ms. Walters, who is a local environmental, planning and communications consultant, has served on the Council since 2005, appointed by Governors Bush and Crist prior to the recent reappointment by Governor Scott. She served as chair of the Council in 2009 and currently serves as treasurer on the executive committee.

Jim Murley, executive director of the Council, said, “the South Florida Regional Planning Council thanks Governor Scott for nominating and the Florida Senate for confirming the recent appointment of Sandy Walters to her fifth term on the Council. The Council works with local governments, the private sector and civic organizations to enhance regional prosperity and environmental sustainability. Ms Walters brings to the board her extensive knowledge and experience concerning infrastructure and natural systems in the Florida Keys and all of South Florida.”

“The Council provides a valuable function throughout Broward, Dade and Monroe counties by serving as a regional center for activities that support local governments and businesses,” Ms. Walters described. For example, Council staff administered for the South Florida region the recent Statewide hurricane evacuation plan, and has been preparing a marina siting plan for Monroe County, she said.

“One outstanding service is the management of small business loans throughout the region designed to address businesses that cannot qualify for loans from traditional sources,” Ms. Walters continued. Council staff has won national awards for this loan program administration, distributing $13.4 million in funding since 2001. In addition, the Council has managed two State of Florida small business bridge loan programs which assisted 440 businesses for a total of more than $9.4 million, and a brownfields revolving loan fund that has assisted three businesses to clean up contaminated sites for a total of $1.9 million in funding.

Ms. Walters’s company, SWC, is an environmental, planning and communications firm headquartered in the Florida Keys, with branch offices in Miami, Hollywood and Fort Myers.
For more information about SWC, the company website is

view resume


Public Information Specialist with SWC

May 11, 2014

Key West resident Nancy Barta has recently been promoted to the position of Public Information Specialist with SWC, working out of the firm’s Key West office.

Ms. Barta is a longtime Keys resident with extensive experience in sales-related communications.  “Nancy’s background is highly customer-focused, ideally suiting her to provide effective, timely and thorough communications services for assignments,” said Sandy Walters, president of SWC.  The firm often serves as a liaison between project managers and the public, to ensure that questions are answered promptly and clearly.

The firm holds a contract with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) providing communications services for all construction projects in Monroe County.  Ms. Barta is currently serving as the principle contact for two FDOT construction projects—in Marathon from Mile Marker (MM) 47 to 48 and 54.5 to 57.4, and on Big Pine Key at the intersection of US Highway 1 and Long Beach Drive.  Anyone interested in learning more about these projects can visit the FDOT website at, or contact Nancy at or 305-393-4340.

Working with FDOT project manager Carlos Sarmiento, Ms. Barta provided services for FDOT’s “Put It Down” Campaign in Monroe County, which urges drivers to avoid distracting activities during driving such as texting.  2013 was the first year a major focus was made in the Keys for this campaign.  Ms. Barta recruited 17 partners who helped reach thousands of residents and visitors by holding events, email campaigns and by displaying posters.  Campaign posters can still be seen at many local government offices.

SWC is an environmental, planning and communications firm headquartered in the Florida Keys, with branch offices in Miami, Hollywood and Fort Myers.  For more information about SWC, the company website is




SWC awarded FDOT Contract

September 25th, 2012 by SWC in News

In March, 2012, SWC was awarded the public information contract from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for all Monroe County construction projects for the next three years.  As part of this contract, SWC is providing a full-time public information specialist for the $41.5-million North Roosevelt Boulevard Reconstruction project, which will last two years.