Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability
Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Department of Environmental Protection

What is the purpose of the department?

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) protects, conserves, and manages Florida's natural resources and enforces the state's environmental laws. DEP oversees and manages Florida's 175 state parks, more than 12 million acres of public lands and 4 million acres of coastal uplands and submerged lands. The department also manages environmentally sensitive land, for conservation and recreation, through the Florida Forever Program. In addition, the department administers all state-owned submerged lands under Florida's public trust doctrine and has general supervisory authority over the state's five water management districts-Northwest Florida, St. Johns River, South Florida, Southwest Florida, and Suwannee River.

How is the department structured?

The department's secretary is appointed by the Governor with the concurrence of the Cabinet and confirmed by the Florida Senate. The department is divided into three primary areas:  regulatory programs, land and recreation, and ecosystem restoration. The department also maintains six district offices throughout the state; these offices ensure statewide compliance with department rules.

What are the department's regulatory programs?

The department oversees several regulatory programs.

What are the department's land and recreation programs?

The department's land and recreation programs acquire and protect lands for preservation and recreation.

 

What are the department's ecosystem restoration programs?

The department's ecosystem restoration programs protect and improve water quality and aquatic resources in Florida.
  • The Office of Ecosystem Projects plays a key role in improving water quality and restoring the hydrology and ecology of America's Everglades.
  • The Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection coordinates the protection of the state's coastal resources, including submerged lands and coastal uplands, aquatic preserves and national estuarine reserves, and coral reef resources.
  • The Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration monitors and assesses Florida's surface water and groundwater quality; develops strategies to resolve water quality issues; and implements those strategies in partnership with local stakeholders.
  • The Division of Water Restoration Assistance provides grants and loans to local governments, utilities, and other agencies for projects that improve the quality and quantity of the state's water resources and benefit the environment and local communities.
  • The Office of Water Policy addresses statewide water management issues in coordination with Florida's five water management districts and other agencies and partners.

How are these activities funded?

Fiscal Year: 2021-22
Fund Dollars Positions
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, DEPARTMENT OF
PROGRAM: ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES
EXECUTIVE DIRECTION AND SUPPORT SERVICES
28,577,494
220.00
FLORIDA GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
4,119,728
33.00
OFFICE OF EMERGENCY RESPONSE
15,810,684
6.00
TECHNOLOGY AND INFORMATION SERVICES
19,820,721
96.00
PROGRAM: AIR RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
AIR RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
49,351,963
67.00
UTILITIES SITING AND COORDINATION
338,780
3.00
PROGRAM: DISTRICT OFFICES
REGULATORY DISTRICT OFFICES
49,727,675
558.00
PROGRAM: ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT AND RESTORATION
WATER SCIENCE AND LABORATORY SERVICES
50,110,503
199.00
PROGRAM: ENVIRONMENTAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
ENVIRONMENTAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
2,248,042
20.00
PROGRAM: RECREATION AND PARKS
COASTAL AND AQUATIC MANAGED AREAS
75,170,457
124.00
STATE PARK OPERATIONS
168,271,910
1,033.50
PROGRAM: STATE LANDS
LAND ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT
233,293,409
127.00
PROGRAM: WASTE MANAGEMENT
WASTE MANAGEMENT
147,937,938
181.00
PROGRAM: WATER POLICY AND ECOSYSTEMS RESTORATION
WATER POLICY AND ECOSYSTEMS RESTORATION
504,050,740
24.00
PROGRAM: WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
134,604,857
234.00
PROGRAM: WATER RESTORATION ASSISTANCE
WATER RESTORATION ASSISTANCE
726,783,565
64.00
TOTAL
2,210,218,466
2,989.50

Updates

Chief Science Officer. In March of 2021, Governor Ron DeSantis appointed Dr. Mark Rains as the state of Florida’s next Chief Science Officer. Dr. Rains is a professor, chair and director of the School of Geosciences at the University of South Florida.

The Wildlife Corridor Act. During the 2021 legislative session, the Legislature enacted Chapter 2021-181, Laws of Florida, the Wildlife Corridor Act, to generate incentives for conservation and sustainable development.

Biscayne Bay Commission. During the 2021 legislative session, the Legislature enacted Chapter 2021-47, Laws of Florida, which establishes the Biscayne Bay Commission as an advisory council within the Department of Environmental Protection. The commission will work to improve Biscayne Bay and the surrounding areas by addressing environmental, economic, social, recreational, and aesthetic issues. The commission will develop a coordinated strategic plan using existing plans, programs, proposals, and the recommendations in the June 2020 Biscayne Bay Task Force report. In addition, the commission will generate a financial plan based on resources available, provide technical assistance and support, work in consultation with the United States Department of the Interior, provide a forum for exchange of information, and act as a clearinghouse for public information. The commission will produce a semiannual report documenting its progress with the first report to be released on January 15, 2022.

Statewide Flooding and Sea-level Rise Resilience.  During the 2021 legislative session, the Legislature enacted Chapter 2021-28, Laws of Florida, which creates the Resilient Florida Grant Program within the Department of Environmental Protection. The purpose of this program is to provide financial support to local governments for sea-level rise resilience planning. In addition, the legislation requires the Department of Environmental Protection to develop a statewide data set and related assessment to identify areas in Florida vulnerable to sea-level rise. The legislation also requires the Department of Environmental Protection to develop and annually submit a Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience Plan proposing funding for projects addressing sea-level rise.

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

A complete list of related OPPAGA reports is available on our website.

Where can I get more information?

Other Reports
A complete list of Auditor General reports is available on its website.

A complete list of the Department of Environmental Protection's Office of the Inspector General reports are available on its website.

2020 Integrated Water Quality Assessment for Florida: Sections 303(d), 305(b), and 314 Report and Listing Update, Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration Florida Department of Environmental Protection, June 2020.

Websites of Interest
Department of Environmental Protection News and Press Releases
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Performance Information


Performance measures and standards for the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan.

What are the applicable statutes?

Section 20.255, Florida Statutes.

Whom do I contact for help?

Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 850-245-2118

Website