Erosion from residential properties is the leading cause of water quality problems. We have serious erosion issues within the city limits of Milton. Approximately 75% of all residential properties have some type of erosion. Some of the erosion problems can be solved by fertilizing, sowing seed, watering, hauling in dirt, and placing sod in bare areas. For every acre, about a dump truck and a half of soil washes into a nearby lake or stream and eventually reaches our pristine Blackwater River. Why should property owners be concerned? If the sedimentation is not controlled, the cost to the taxpayer is as follows:
*Cleaning up sediment in the streets, sewers and ditches adds extra costs to the local government budget.
*Neighboring property values are damaged when a lake or stream fills with sediments. Shallow areas encourage weed growth and create boating hazards.
*Muddy waters drive’s away fish that rely on sight to feed. Sedimentation smothers gravel beds where fish like largemouth bass find food and lay their eggs.
*Sediment carries fertilizers that fuel algae and weed growth, creating a nuisance.
*The expense of dredging sediment from lakes, harbors and navigation channels is paid by the taxpayer.
Controlling erosion is important even for properties of an acre or less. The materials needed are relativity easy to locate and inexpensive.
A combination of such items as straw bales or silt fence, stakes, gravel, grass seed, sod, plants & shrubs, water, soil and fertilizer will assist in the control effort. Normally a few control measures are needed on most sites:
- Wherever possible preserve existing trees and grass;
- As soon as possible re-vegetate the site;
- Sod all bare spots. Vegetation is the most effective way to control erosion;
- On the downslope sides of properties under construction, silt fencing or straw bales will trap the sediment. For properties not under construction, landscape timbers will achieve the same effect.
- Relocate soil piles away from any roads or waterways;
- Park vehicles on the driveway to prevent erosion;
- Remove yard debris to allow existing vegetation to thrive;
- Install downspout extenders to prevent erosion from roof runoff.
Soil erosion caused from residential, commercial and industrial properties is quickly becoming a major concern all over the country, and in the State of Florida. The Department of Environmental Protection has placed more responsibility on cities, county and the state to ensure these units of government are compliant. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has placed a mandate requiring the City of Milton to implement a Stormwater Management Program. This program is specified in the Generic Permit for Discharge of Stormwater from Phase II Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System as required by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.
To meet the Department of Environmental Protection’s mandate the City of Milton revised its Land Development Regulations, Article V, Section V-6.11, Stormwater Sediment and Erosion Control Operation and Maintenance to now read: “After the construction period, homeowners and site operators need to maintain proper ground cover and landscaping to prevent soil erosion by wind and water. Erosion of soils from established private homes and other sites endangers water resources by reducing water quality and increases municipal expenses. Eroded soil necessitates repair of storm sewers and ditches, dredging of stormwater ponds and lakes. As a result, the purpose of this regulation is to safeguard persons, protect property, prevent damage to the environment, lower maintenance expenses and promote the public welfare by guiding, regulating and controlling the maintenance of proper ground cover and landscaping in the City of Milton.”
Once the revisions of the City of Milton’s Land and Development Regulations, Article V, Section V-6.11 were adopted flyers and mail outs were created to inform the property owners of the mandate. In April 2010 approximately 1,100 Erosion Control Flyers were sent out by U.S. mail and/or hand delivered to property owners with erosion issues. In June of 2010 approximately 1,086 letters were mailed advising the property owner to comply with proper ground cover and landscaping to prevent soil erosion. Within the next month approximately 253 letters will be sent out advising property owners of non-compliance and the penalty that can be enforced for non-compliance.
The city understands the economic situation that some property owners may be in. It is not that the City of Milton’s wishes to fine any property owner; however, all property owners must comply with the mandate. If you rent your home, it is the property owner’s responsibility to assure compliance. If you receive the next mail out from the city and need assistance, please contact the Planning & Development Department at 850.983.5440.
The City of Milton expresses a sincere thank you to all property owners that have brought their property into compliance.