Natural Areas Policy Statement

The following is the policy statement of the District as it regards the natural buffers, environmentally sensitive areas, and storm water ponds that are scattered in large numbers throughout the Community. This policy statement is consistent with the policies of other governments including Pasco County and the State of Florida as it regards storm water ponds and natural upland and wetland conservations/preservations areas: The natural areas are not intended to be maintained beyond the requirements of the Army Corps of Engineers, SWFWMD, and Pasco County. These areas are to be left untouched to allow for nature to take its normal course. Any vegetation that dies or is damaged by storms or other “acts of God” is to remain in its existing configuration within these areas to fulfill its role in nature’s process. Trees, within or immediately adjacent to these areas that have died and appear to pose a threat of falling and damaging an abutting property owner’s property may be addressed by the abutting property owner. The abutting property owner must initially contact the District Manager, Pasco County Development Review Division, and/or the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) to assess the threat. Any subsequent trimming and/or removal, if warranted/permitted by the appropriate governing entity shall be done at the expense of the abutting property owner. The goal is to prohibit or minimize disturbance to these areas. In the event that a tree does fall onto another’s property, that property owner has the right to cut back or “limb” the tree, as necessary to their individual property line. The rest of the tree is to be left alone. Notwithstanding, removal of native vegetation within and immediately surrounding these areas is discouraged and may be restricted or prohibited by Pasco County, and ultimately the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) to protect the upland/wetland area or water body. Ultimately, no one is allowed to encroach into the natural areas for any reason, from maintenance to placement of personal property of any kind. Man-made storm water retention/detention ponds, drainage culverts, and sump areas within the District were specifically designed and constructed to manage storm water runoff in the District. No boats or motorized crafts are allowed in any District-owned waterways with the exception of those approved for the operations and maintenance of these areas. Swimming is prohibited in all District-owned waterways. Violation of these provisions will result in the suspension or loss of amenity privileges. Additionally, violators may be cited for trespassing.