DEP Priorities

Under the leadership of DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr., the Department of Environmental Protection is focusing on three priorities: ensuring a more efficient regulatory process that is interpreted consistently across the state, and is protective of the environment; getting the water right in Florida; and giving Floridians and visitors more opportunities to enjoy our award-winning state parks.

  • Three Priorities Remarks – Read Secretary Vinyard’s remarks, where he outlines these priorities to the environmental community.

Regulatory Consistency

DEP Secretary VineyardAt DEP, we believe that environmental protection and economic growth are not mutually exclusive. We want to foster a culture of customer service and regulatory consistency across the agency and water management districts.

However, providing regulatory consistency doesn’t mean we’re relaxing environmental standards. It means that our customers shouldn’t need an interpreter if they cross our district boundary lines. Going forward, we will be evaluating our processes for consistency across all districts and identifying ways to create a more streamlined agency.

Getting The Water Right

Roseatte spoonbills wading in coastal watersFlorida is defined by our waterways – the ocean, the gulf, rivers, lakes and springs. And getting the water right in Florida is crucial to the future of our state’s ecology and economy. This means improving the quality of our water, ensuring that we have an adequate water supply and balancing those needs so that we are still able to live, work and play in Florida.

The Department with EPA worked to adopt a numeric nutrient criteria that covers all lakes, rivers, streams, estuaries and springs within the state.  The standards for nitrogen and phosphorus pollution are the most comprehensive to date in the nation and exceeds EPA by taking into account biological diversity and complexity of state waters.  This ruling is a major step in helping Florida get the water right.

-For more information on this ruling, click here.

Promoting The Best State Park System In The Nation

Boat tour along Weeki Wachee SpringsFor anyone who has visited any of Florida’s state parks, they know how fortunate this state is to have such valuable outdoor recreational opportunities available to us.  Florida has the best state park system in the country.  In 2013, the National Recreation and Park Association presented the Florida State Parks System with their third Gold Medal for Excellence in the management of state parks system, which makes Florida the only state to win three.  No other state has even won two gold medal awards and systems are not allowed to apply for any award within five years of winning a gold medal.  The Florida State Parks System received this achievement based on the agency’s ability to address needs of those it serves.

Secretary Vinyard and DEP are dedicated to balancing both the preservation of our natural and cultural resources and providing recreational opportunities for the public to connect to them. These parks allow visitors to camp out, dive on a coral reef, explore a natural cave system, or even swim with mermaids. We need to ensure that our parks continue to meet the needs and expectations of our valued visitors, and we will work closely with local communities, state park citizen support organizations and our guests to do just that.

In the news

  • Governor Rick Scott’s opinion editorial in the Tampa Tribune, Natural resources are Sunshine State’s economic engine: Read about the governor’s environmental priorites for Florida. Published on Nov. 27, 2011.
  • Secretary Vinyard on Florida Face to Face: Watch Secretary Vinyard on the Florida Channel’s Face to Face, where he speaks to host Beth Switzer about his priorities for DEP and other pressing issues.
  • Secretary Vinyard on It’s About Florida: Listen to Secretary Vinyard highlight DEP’s top issues and environmental priorities with host Trimmel Gomes.

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