The Office of Ecosystem Projects is the lead office responsible for implementation of the following Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP’s) responsibilities under the Everglades Forever Act (EFA) pursuant to Chapter 373.4592 of the Florida Statutes (F.S.):
Coordinating with DEP staff, state and federal agencies, industry representatives, and other groups in development and implementation of water quality, biological, and other research and monitoring programs in the Everglades Protection Area (Water Conservation Areas 1, 2A, 2B, 3A and 3B; the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge; and the Everglades National Park as established in the Everglades Forever Act):
Evaluations of the water quality, biological and other data from these programs.
Review and preparation of technical reports on topics related to Everglades restoration.
Implementation of grants in support of Everglades research and monitoring activities.
Rulemaking activities required under the Everglades Forever Act.
Directing the activities of the Everglades Technical Advisory Committee, a multi-agency technical committee formed to assist the department in technical activities required by the EFA.
Coordinating with other department staff, state and federal agencies, industry representatives, and other groups on permitting activities required under the EFA.
The Everglades Forever Act was passed in 1994. The long-term water quality objective for the Everglades is to implement the optimal combination of source controls, stormwater treatment areas, advanced treatment technologies, and regulatory programs to ensure that all waters discharged to the Everglades Protection Area achieve water quality standards consistent with the EFA. The Restoration Planning and Permitting Section of the Bureau of Assessment and Restoration Support is responsible for coordinating with DEP staff, state and federal agencies, industry representatives, and other groups on permitting activities required under the EFA.
The Everglades Forever Act requires the state of Florida to:
Restore and protect the Everglades ecological system.
Authorize the district to proceed expeditiously with implementation of the Everglades program.
Reduce excessive levels of phosphorus.
Pursue comprehensive and innovative solutions to the issues of water quality, water quantity, hydroperiod, and invasions of non-native species that affect the Everglades ecosystem.
Expedite plans and programs for improving water quantity reaching the Everglades.
Provide a sufficient period for construction, testing and research so that the benefits of the Everglades Construction Project will be determined and maximized prior to requiring additional measures.
Achieve the water quality goals of the Everglades program through implementation of stormwater treatment areas and best management practices, e.g., the best available phosphorus reduction technology.
Pursue the Everglades Construction Project expeditiously but with flexibility so that superior technology may be utilized most effectively when available.
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.