The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s principal environmental agency, created to protect, conserve and manage Florida’s environment and natural resources. The department enforces federal and state environmental laws, protects Florida’s air and water quality, cleans up pollution, regulates solid waste management, promotes pollution prevention and acquires environmentally sensitive lands for preservation. The agency also maintains a statewide system of parks, trails and aquatic preserves.
In October 2020, the Coral Protection and Restoration Program was established within DEP’s Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection to administer more than $15 million appropriated for critical efforts, including the new $10 million Coral Protection and Restoration Grant. Through its role in supporting Florida’s membership on the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force and the U.S. All Islands Committee, the Coral Reef Conservation Program leads the implementation of the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative and contributes to the National Action Plan to conserve coral reefs. The Coral Reef Conservation Program is also charged with coordinating response to vessel groundings and anchor damage incidents in southeast Florida and developing strategies to prevent coral reef injuries.