Florida Department of Natural Resources
In Florida, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) is the primary agency that protects, conserves, and manages Florida’s natural resources and enforces the state’s environmental laws. The FDEP was established pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 20.255. The head of FDEP is the secretary, who shall be appointed by the Governor, with the concurrence of three or more members of the Cabinet. The secretary shall be confirmed by the Florida Senate.
The FDEP consists of the following divisions:
- Division of Administrative Services- responsible for the department’s personnel, grants, budget, accounting, safety program, procurement, mailroom, printing, and other support services;
- Division of Air Resource Management- responsible for the protection, conservation, and restoration of the air resources of the state with the primary goal of protecting human health;
- Division of Water Resource Management- responsible for preserving and maintaining the quality of Florida’s waters;
- Division of Law Enforcement- responsible for statewide environmental resource law enforcement, as well as providing law enforcement services to Florida state parks and greenways and trails;
- Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration- responsible for monitoring the state’s surface and ground water quality, processing permits for projects associated with restoring the Everglades, setting water quality standards, and funding the construction of water resource and restoration projects;
- Division of Waste Management- responsible for the implementation of the state and federal laws to protect the environment from improper handling and disposal of solid and hazardous wastes;
- Division of Recreation and Parks- provides advice and technical support for natural and cultural resource management programs throughout the state park system.
- Division of State Lands- provides oversight for the management of activities of public lands including lakes, rivers, and islands.
In general, the functions of the FDEP are divided into three areas such as the regulatory programs, land and recreation, and planning and management. Regulatory programs include regulating air and water pollution, regulating the use of wetlands and shorelines, controlling the siting of hazardous waste facilities, power plants, and natural gas pipelines. The land and recreation function includes management of state lands, Florida state parks and recreation areas, greenways and trails, and wildlife management areas. The planning and management function includes conducting survey of the state’s geological resources, overseeing the management of water resources by the water management districts, controlling invasive aquatic plants, monitoring the environmental quality of the state, and overseeing the reclamation of mined lands.
Further, the Florida Division of Forestry protects and manages the forest resources of Florida and thereby ensures that they are available for future generations. The core program areas of the Division are Wildfire Prevention, Detection and Suppression, State Land Management, and Forestry Technical Assistance.