Many Florida residents recognize that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is Florida’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship. But few residents realize how important a role DEP plays, through the Division of State Lands, in protecting Florida’s natural, cultural and recreational resources.
The division’s role goes far beyond just acquiring lands for protection. It provides oversight for the management of activities on more than 12 million acres of public lands including lakes, rivers and islands. These public lands help ensure all Florida residents and visitors have the opportunity to truly appreciate the state's unique landscapes.
Florida has a long history of conserving the natural lands that our state needs in order to preserve the ecosystems that give us clean air, clean and sufficient water, and recreational opportunities for residents, visitors and future generations. The division manages one of the largest and most successful land conservation programs in the nation, the Florida Forever program. Through this program and its predecessor, Preservation 2000, we have protected 2.4 million acres of land with the specific goal of preserving those natural and cultural resources that are so essential to a healthy economy and quality of life.
Florida’s Legislature authorized an additional 10 years of funding for the Florida Forever program. As we move into our next decade of land conservation, the division is working to acquire the best of our treasured ecological land resources while ensuring fiscal responsibility. We aim to do so through a transparent and understandable process, while also remaining accountable at each step of the process to the people of Florida. With the help of our partners, including other state agencies, local governments, regional organizations, water management districts and the private sector, we can work together to achieve these important goals.
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.