All waters of the state fall into one of five surface water classifications (62-302.400 F.A.C.) with specific criteria applicable to each class of water. In addition to its surface water classification, a water may be designated as an Outstanding Florida Water (62-302.700 F.A.C.).
An Outstanding Florida Water (OFW) is a water designated worthy of special protection because of its natural attributes. This special designation is applied to certain waters and is intended to protect existing good water quality.
The department has a variety of resources to explain OFWs below:
The OFW Factsheet provides a listing of "special waters" and OFWs, along with more details relating to permitting of activities within an OFW and requirements for a "special water" OFW designation. The OFW Question and Answer sheet provides a list of frequently asked questions about OFWs.
Additionally, the department has developed an ArcGIS StoryMap to provide an overview of Outstanding Florida Waters (OFWs), how OFWs are designated, what protection designation provides and the Special Waters OFW petition process.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.