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

Department of Environmental Protection

For assistance, call 850-245-2118 or visit https://floridadep.gov/

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 districtsNorthwest 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 and Ecosystems Restoration is responsible for the regulatory programs that focus on water supply protection and environmental restoration in Florida.

How are these activities funded?

Fiscal Year: 2022-23
Fund Dollars Positions
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, DEPARTMENT OF
PROGRAM: ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES
EXECUTIVE DIRECTION AND SUPPORT SERVICES
28,677,754
220.00
FLORIDA GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
4,397,779
33.00
OFFICE OF EMERGENCY RESPONSE
15,877,389
6.00
TECHNOLOGY AND INFORMATION SERVICES
21,929,581
96.00
PROGRAM: AIR RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
AIR RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
74,857,795
67.00
PROGRAM: DISTRICT OFFICES
REGULATORY DISTRICT OFFICES
49,257,042
559.00
PROGRAM: ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT AND RESTORATION
WATER SCIENCE AND LABORATORY SERVICES
77,344,026
199.00
PROGRAM: ENVIRONMENTAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
ENVIRONMENTAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
2,570,799
20.00
PROGRAM: RECREATION AND PARKS
COASTAL AND AQUATIC MANAGED AREAS
627,112,390
215.00
STATE PARK OPERATIONS
438,973,169
1,039.50
PROGRAM: STATE LANDS
LAND ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT
315,508,804
125.00
PROGRAM: WASTE MANAGEMENT
WASTE MANAGEMENT
284,257,159
185.00
PROGRAM: WATER POLICY AND ECOSYSTEMS RESTORATION
WATER POLICY AND ECOSYSTEMS RESTORATION
951,621,303
24.00
PROGRAM: WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
47,108,277
210.00
PROGRAM: WATER RESTORATION ASSISTANCE
WATER RESTORATION ASSISTANCE
1,334,291,773
89.00
TOTAL
4,273,785,040
3,087.50

Updates

Executive Appointments. The 2022 Legislature enacted Ch. 2022-14, Laws of Florida, requiring that the appointment of the secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection by the Governor must also have concurrence of three members of the Cabinet or confirmation of the appointee by the Senate. Similar requirements for the appointment of the executive directors of the Department of Law Enforcement and the Department of Veterans Affairs are also enacted in law under this chapter.

Local Pollution Control Standards and Liability. The 2022 Legislature enacted Ch. 2022-127, Laws of Florida, giving the Secretary of Environmental Protection exclusive jurisdiction in setting standards or procedures for evaluating environmental conditions and assessing potential liability for the presence of contaminants on certain agricultural lands. The secretary is prohibited from delegating such authority to a local governmental entity but this not preempt the enforcement authority of a county, municipality, or other unit of local government through a pollution control program. This also does not apply to former agricultural land for which a permit has been approved by a local government to initiate development or for which development was completed on or before July 1, 2022. 

Cleanup of Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances. The 2022 Legislature enacted Ch. 2022-203, Laws of Florida, requiring the Department of Environmental Protection to adopt rules for statewide cleanup target levels for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances in drinking water, groundwater, and soil under a specified condition prohibiting such rules from taking effect until ratified by the Legislature. Additionally, certain governmental entities and water suppliers are not subject to administrative or judicial action under certain circumstances.

Florida Forever Program Property Acquisitions. In early 2022, the Department of Environmental Protection announced the acquisition of four parcels totaling over 14,000 acres through the Florida Forever Program. All four parcels are located within the Florida Wildlife Corridor. The Florida Forever Program recognizes corridors as a critical way to address habitat loss and fragmentation across Florida. There are 1.6 million acres within the Florida Wildlife Corridor that are a high priority through the state's Florida Forever Program.

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