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
Title Fund Dollars Positions
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, DEPARTMENT OF
PROGRAM: ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES
EXECUTIVE DIRECTION AND SUPPORT SERVICES
26,782,291
219.00
FLORIDA GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
4,401,490
33.00
OFFICE OF EMERGENCY RESPONSE
15,697,948
6.00
TECHNOLOGY AND INFORMATION SERVICES
19,443,952
96.00
PROGRAM: AIR RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
AIR RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
87,016,504
67.00
UTILITIES SITING AND COORDINATION
323,870
3.00
PROGRAM: DISTRICT OFFICES
REGULATORY DISTRICT OFFICES
45,535,362
535.00
PROGRAM: ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT AND RESTORATION
WATER SCIENCE AND LABORATORY SERVICES
50,188,825
199.00
PROGRAM: ENVIRONMENTAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
ENVIRONMENTAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
2,386,195
20.00
PROGRAM: RECREATION AND PARKS
COASTAL AND AQUATIC MANAGED AREAS
27,958,410
99.00
STATE PARK OPERATIONS
157,250,866
1,033.50
PROGRAM: STATE LANDS
LAND ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT
234,179,094
127.00
PROGRAM: WASTE MANAGEMENT
WASTE MANAGEMENT
217,918,273
181.00
PROGRAM: WATER POLICY AND ECOSYSTEMS RESTORATION
WATER POLICY AND ECOSYSTEMS RESTORATION
482,758,569
24.00
PROGRAM: WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
76,460,203
218.00
PROGRAM: WATER RESTORATION ASSISTANCE
WATER RESTORATION ASSISTANCE
757,832,961
57.00
TOTAL
2,206,134,813
2,917.50

Updates

Environmental Resource Management. During the 2020 legislative session, the Legislature enacted Chapter 2020-150, Laws of Florida. This legislation requires the Department of Environmental Protection to develop rulemaking for multiple provisions and institute reporting requirements. Specifically, the legislation includes the following requirements:

  • Transfers the Onsite Sewage Program from the Department of Health to the Department of Environmental Protection 
  • Requires the Department of Environmental protection to institute a fast-track approval process for specific nutrient reducing septic systems and changes provisions related to septic system setback rules 
  • Establishes a wastewater grant program so that the Department of Environmental Protection can provide grants for projects that will reduce excess nutrient rich pollution within basin management action plans, alternative restoration pans, or rural areas of opportunity
  • Requires wastewater facilities and the Department of Environmental Protection to prevent sanitary sewer overflows and underground pipe leaks
  • Instructs the Department of Environmental Protection to revise or evaluate stormwater rules, staff training, and model programs and increases fines and penalties for wastewater violations
  • Requires the Department of Environmental Protection to create a real-time water quality monitoring program 
  • Requires the Department of Environmental Protection to complete a study on the bottled water industry in Florida
  • Requires that the Department of Environmental Protection must work with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences to consider selecting best management practices rules for nutrient rich golf courses

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.
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