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The inland wetlands and watercourses are an indispensable and irreplaceable but fragile natural resource with which the citizens of the city have been endowed. The wetlands and watercourses are an interrelated web of nature essential to an adequate supply of surface and underground water; to hydrological stability and control of flooding and erosion; to the recharging and purification of ground water; and to the existence of many forms of animal, aquatic and plant life. Many inland wetlands and watercourses have been destroyed or are in danger of destruction because of unregulated use by reason of deposition filling or removal of material, the diversion or obstruction of water flow, the erection of structures and other uses all of which have despoiled, polluted and eliminated wetlands and watercourses. The unregulated activity has had and will continue to have a significant, adverse impact on the environment and ecology of the city and has and will continue to imperil the quality of the environment, thus adversely affecting the ecological, scenic, historic and recreational values and benefits of the city for its citizens now and forevermore. The preservation and protection of the wetlands and watercourses from random, unnecessary, undesirable and unregulated uses, disturbance or destruction is in the public interest and is essential to the health, welfare and safety of the citizens of the city. It is, therefore, the purpose of this chapter to protect the citizens of the city by making provisions for the protection, preservation, maintenance and use of the inland wetlands and watercourses by minimizing their disturbance and pollution; maintaining and improving water quality in accordance with the highest standards set by federal, state or local authority; preventing damage from erosion, turbidity or siltation; preventing loss of fish and other beneficial aquatic organisms, wildlife and vegetation, and the destruction of the natural habitats thereof; deterring and inhibiting the danger of flood and pollution; protecting the quality of wetlands and watercourses for their conservation, economic, aesthetic, recreational and other public and private uses and values; and protecting the city's potable fresh water supplies from the dangers of drought, overdraft, pollution, misuse and mismanagement by providing an orderly process to balance the need for the economic growth of the city and the use of its land with the need to protect its environment and ecology in order to forever guarantee the people of the city the safety of such natural resources for their benefit and enjoyment and for the benefit and enjoyment of generations yet unborn.
(1967 Code, § 20-11) (Ord. passed 10-21-1974)