Since colonial times Americans have depended on the coastal areas for commerce, transportation, food supply, recreation and scenic beauty. By the late 1960s, more than half the nation's population was located near the coasts. User groups competed for access to the nation's coastal resources and conflicts increased dramatically. Recreational fishermen competed with commercial fishermen. Resorts and residential developments limited the access previously enjoyed by local residents. Declining coastal water quality led to closings of shellfish beds and swimming beaches.
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.