OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol
OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol

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 conserves environmentally sensitive land, restores waterways, and preserves cultural and historical resources 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: 2020-21
Fund Dollars Positions
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, DEPARTMENT OF
PROGRAM: ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES
EXECUTIVE DIRECTION AND SUPPORT SERVICES
26,781,518
219.00
FLORIDA GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
4,401,408
33.00
OFFICE OF EMERGENCY RESPONSE
15,697,936
6.00
TECHNOLOGY AND INFORMATION SERVICES
19,368,238
96.00
PROGRAM: AIR RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
AIR RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
87,016,271
67.00
UTILITIES SITING AND COORDINATION
323,853
3.00
PROGRAM: DISTRICT OFFICES
REGULATORY DISTRICT OFFICES
45,533,453
535.00
PROGRAM: ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT AND RESTORATION
WATER SCIENCE AND LABORATORY SERVICES
50,188,257
199.00
PROGRAM: ENVIRONMENTAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
ENVIRONMENTAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
2,386,134
20.00
PROGRAM: RECREATION AND PARKS
COASTAL AND AQUATIC MANAGED AREAS
27,958,096
99.00
STATE PARK OPERATIONS
157,247,575
1,033.50
PROGRAM: STATE LANDS
LAND ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT
234,073,192
127.00
PROGRAM: WASTE MANAGEMENT
WASTE MANAGEMENT
217,917,668
181.00
PROGRAM: WATER POLICY AND ECOSYSTEMS RESTORATION
WATER POLICY AND ECOSYSTEMS RESTORATION
482,758,523
24.00
PROGRAM: WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
76,459,553
218.00
PROGRAM: WATER RESTORATION ASSISTANCE
WATER RESTORATION ASSISTANCE
757,832,802
57.00
TOTAL
2,205,944,477
2,917.50

Updates

Office of Environmental Accountability and Transparency. This office was created in 2019 to be housed in the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration and in accordance with the objectives in Governor Ron DeSantis' Executive Order. The office is charged with ensuring key water quality objectives are clearly communicated to the public, as well as, organizing agency resources and scientific expertise, data and research to focus on and solve complex challenges.
Chief Science Officer Appointment. In 2019, Governor Ron DeSantis appointed Florida's first chief science officer.  This officer runs the Office of Environmental Accountability and Transparency in the Office of the Secretary.  The officer is charged with coordinating and prioritizing scientific data, research, monitoring and analysis needs to ensure alignment with current and emerging environmental concerns most pressing to Floridians.
Blue-Green Algae Task Force. In April 2019, Governor Ron DeSantis appointed five experts to the newly established Blue-Green Algae Task Force. The focus of the task force is to support key funding and restoration initiatives and make recommendations to expedite nutrient reductions in Lake Okeechobee and the downstream estuaries. DEP contributed to this task force by assisting with the search for members.

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
The Auditor General reports on department operations are available on its website.
The Department of Environmental Protection's Office of the Inspector General reports are available on its website.
Integrated Water Quality Assessment for Florida: 2014 Sections 303(d), 305(b), and 314 Report and Listing Update, Department of Environmental Protection Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration, April 2014.
Environmental Regulation Commission, The Florida Senate, Interim Report 2012-120, September 2011.
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