Coastal management is implemented through a network of programs and 24 statutes administered by the eight agencies and five water management districts listed below.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is the state's chief environmental regulatory agency for air and water quality, water resource management, waste management, beach management and springs protection. In coordination with the state's five water management districts and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, DEP is the lead water policy agency. DEP manages state-owned lands, sovereignty submerged lands, trails, parks and preserves, including 2 million acres of coastal aquatic preserves and three national estuarine research reserves. DEP administers the Florida Forever land acquisition program, the Florida Geological Survey, the Florida Coastal Management Program and the Florida State Clearinghouse.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) protects and manages fresh and saltwater fisheries, marine mammals, birds and upland game and non-game animals, including endangered species. FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) is the state's principal biological research entity. FWRI monitors changes in water quality and levels of contaminants in Florida's fresh and marine waters, including levels of mercury in fish; monitors and tracks harmful algal bloom events; and conducts the Inshore Marine Monitoring and Assessment Program, which is an EPA-funded initiative to assess the coastal marine waters of Florida using a set of key ecological indicators as part of a larger nationwide coastal assessment.
The Division of Historical Resources of the Florida Department of State protects state historical and archaeological resources, including the regulation of treasure salvage in the oceans adjacent to Florida and the development of a system of underwater archaeological preserves. The Division of Historical Resources also created the Florida Maritime Heritage Trail, linking coastal communities, forts, lighthouses, historic ports and historic shipwrecks.
The Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) develops and maintains the state's transportation system. In consultation with state agencies and the Florida Coastal Management Program, the DOT developed an early coordination process for transportation project planning, Efficient Transportation Decision Making, that integrates federal consistency reviews with other project planning, development and evaluation processes.
The Florida Department of Health (DOH), Healthy Environments, regulates drinking water, onsite sewage disposal systems, monitors beach water for bacterial indicators and aquatic toxins -- particularly harmful algal blooms -- and administers many surveillance, investigation and preventive programs designed to reduce illness and prevent disease caused by exposure to environmental factors. In consultation with DEP and FWC, DOH determines whether environmental chemicals are present in fish from Florida waters and issues fish-consumption advisories as needed.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) manages state forests for multiple public uses through wildfire prevention and management; water resource management; hydrologic restoration; development of best management practices for water quality and water conservation; and implementation of Total Maximum Daily Load requirements for agriculture. DACS regulates aquaculture facilities and shellfish processing plants; opens and closes shellfish harvesting waters to protect human health; restores oyster reefs to maximize productivity; issues leases of sovereignty submerged lands for aquaculture; monitors shellfish meat for red tide cells and brevetoxins; and manages an online, real-time, water quality monitoring program in shellfish harvesting areas. DACS also provides technical assistance, certification and training to approximately 300 mosquito control programs and regulates the use of pesticides to protect public health.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is the state's one-stop shop for economic development and community planning. In particular, DEO provides technical assistance on the special needs of coastal communities regarding hazard mitigation, post-disaster redevelopment, adaptation planning and other initiatives to increase emergency preparedness and to mitigate the short- and long-term effects of hazards. The Waterfronts Florida Program at DEO assists coastal communities that wish to revitalize their working waterfronts by providing planning resources that address four priority areas: 1) economic development; 2) natural and cultural resource protection; 3) public access; and 4) hazard mitigation. DEO also implements the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Program.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management (DEM) ensures that Florida is prepared to respond to emergencies caused by a variety of threats, recover from disasters, mitigate disaster impacts, and reduce or eliminate long-term risk to human life and property. DEM administers programs to help to rebuild lives and communities, including the Public Assistance and Individual Assistance Programs, the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, the Flood Mitigation Assistance Program. and the National Flood Insurance Program.
The Florida Building Commission of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation is a 25-member technical body responsible pursuant to Section 553.73, F.S., for the adoption of the Florida Building Code. The current code is a single, statewide code based on national model codes and consensus standards, amended for Florida-specific needs for the design and construction of buildings.
Regional water management districts are responsible for the comprehensive planning, management and development of water resources for consumptive uses and water resource preservation. The state's water management districts, in partnership with DEP, regulate activities in wetlands and other waters of the state. Pursuant to Sections 380.23 and 373.428, F.S., the five water management districts are responsible for conducting federal consistency reviews as part of permit reviews in coastal counties under Section 373 part IV, F.S. Information on the water management districts is available at the following sites:
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.