Florida Department of Environmental Protection
By the mid-1960s, when the federal government was becoming more and more involved in initiatives designed to protect the country's environmental interests, Florida had four agencies with responsibilities involving environmental protection in some relatively direct manner: the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund (state land, including shores, beaches, wetlands, and bodies of water), the Department of Health (sewage treatment, drinking water quality), Department of Natural Resources (state parks and recreation areas), and Game and Freshwater Fish Commission (hunting and fishing).
Florida had no cohesive environmental agency to oversee the state's environment, when the Florida Department of Air and Water Pollution Control was created under Governor Claude R. Kirk, Jr. in the late 1960s. Most staff were being taken from the Bureau of Sanitary Engineering of the state Department of Health. The name of the new agency was soon simplified to the Florida Department of Pollution Control.
The Florida Department of Environmental Regulation (FDER) was created in the mid-1970s. It was formed from the Department of Pollution Control and portions of the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund and the Florida Department of Natural Resources. This revised agency was now not only entrusted with the quality of the state's air and water, but also with making major land management decisions, primarily related to shorelines and wetlands.
As part of that new responsibility, the FDER began supervising the five water management districts that were established in 1972 under Chapter 373 of Florida Statutes to control all freshwater located in the state: The Suwannee River Water Management District, St. Johns River Water Management District, Southwest Florida Water Management District, South Florida Water Management District, and Northwest Florida Water Management District.
By the early 1990s, it was the nation's third-largest such state agency, with 1,500 employees and a budget of some $650 million.
In the mid-1990s, the Department of Environmental Regulation was merged with the substantially larger Department of Natural Resources, creating the current Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Functions and responsibilities
- Regulatory programs
- Land and recreation
- Planning and management
Budget and staff
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, during the period 2000-2005, functioned with a staff of approximately 3,600 employees. The Department's annual budget during that period averaged $1,899,731,705.
As of 2006, the department was divided into 13 offices based on function, all operating primarily out of Tallahassee, and six district offices:
- Administrative Services
- Air Resource Management
- Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas
- General Counsel
- Greenways and Trails
- Law Enforcement
- Office of the Secretary
- Parks and Recreation
- Resource Assessment Management
- State Lands
- Waste Management
- Water Resource Management
- District Offices