Multiple District staff members have earned a new a certification, which will save time, money and resources.
Eleven employees in the Environmental Resource Permit Bureau are now Certified Wetland Evaluators (CWE) through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
CWE is a new certification program DEP put in place after assuming a federal permitting program from the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Under this program, certified employees are better equipped technically for on-site assessments for delineations of wetland areas. The program also provides a uniformity for wetland assessments and consistency between the District and DEP scientists.
The program tests the participants knowledge of Florida ecosystems through five modules and exams. To pass the exams, the individual needs to have years of experience in the field or have spent numerous hours studying plant and soil information.
The completion of the program confirms the participant’s knowledge and awareness of species present in the region. District environmental scientists must be able to identify characteristics quickly to complete documentation in the field and then process the data to be utilized in permit reviews down the road.
The certification program allows individuals to issue permits much faster because they can complete the process without verifying wetland lines through DEP. Plus, the certified employees will not be required to make multiple field visits, saving staff time.
“We are always looking for new ways to improve the permitting process for the regulated community,” said Cliff Ondercin, Environmental manager. “These employees have demonstrated this by choosing to put in the work to become CWE certified. This is a huge savings for both the District and the public.”