Article Index

Wetland Training and Education

The department and water management districts have regular and active training programs for their staff and staff of associated local governments. These programs concentrate on delineation of wetlands, and implementation of the regulatory and proprietary rules. Due to time (and sometimes funding) constraints, this training is occasionally provided to consultants and other members of the public when appropriate.

Upon request, staff makes presentations covering the wetland regulatory and proprietary programs to professional and private and public organizations. This includes two “short course” conferences per year to consultants and other representatives of the regulated community hosted by the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

All of the department and water management district programs have developed Internet sites with program information and publications concerning wetlands and surface water regulations. See “Guidebooks, Brochures, Websites, Other Educational Materials for outreach materials for the public (and private) sector.”

Specific, targeted training includes:

  • The DEP’s Stormwater/Non-Point Source Management Program has developed a formalized Stormwater, Erosion, and Sediment Control Training and Certification Program for inspectors and contractors.
  • The SWFWMD has held an annual Soils Identification and Seasonal High Ground Water Table Determination Workshop for the past 13 years.
  • The SFWMD has a “Student’s Corner” website at: This site contains several resources for teaching students about wetland and water issues including intern opportunities.

Watershed Planning

Like many states, Florida has implemented a watershed management program that is based on the rotating basin concept. This program was authorized by the Florida Watershed Restoration Act of 1999 (403.067, F.S.) which establishes the state’s total maximum daily load program and was started in July 2000. Florida’s 52 major watersheds were divided into 30 groups, five in each of the six DEP District Offices. The watershed approach consists of five phases:

  • Preliminary basin status evaluation. This phase uses existing data to evaluate the health of water bodies based on the data sufficiency, quality assurance, and data analyses procedures set forth in the Impaired Waters Rule, Chapter 62-302, F.A.C. The product is a Preliminary Basin Assessment that includes a Planning List of potentially impaired waters and a Strategic Monitoring Plan that outlines a monitoring program to fill in data gaps conducted in cooperation with watershed stakeholders.
  • Strategic monitoring. During this phase water quality and biological monitoring is conducted to verify whether waters on the Planning List are truly impaired, to collect additional data on water bodies that had insufficient data to be analyzed using the Impaired Waters Rule methodology, and to conduct intensive surveys to collect data for the establishment of total maximum daily loads. The product is a Basin Assessment that includes more comprehensive assessment of water body health, a revised Planning List of potentially impaired waters, and a Verified List of impaired waters that is adopted by the DEP Secretary and then submitted to EPA as the state’s 303(d) list of impaired waters,
  • Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) development. During this phase computer modeling and other data analysis techniques to establish the total maximum daily load for waters on the Verified List of impaired waters. A TMDL is the amount of pollutant loading that can be discharged to a water body such that it meets its designated beneficial uses.
  • Watershed plan development. During this phase watershed stakeholders work with the DEP to equitably allocate the load reductions needed to achieve the TMDL and develop a watershed management plan that specifies the roles, responsibilities, actions, schedule, and funding sources that will be used to restore an impaired water body.
  • Watershed plan implementation. During this phase, NPDES permits are modified to reflect the load allocations set forth in the plan and interlocal agreements are entered into by the watershed stakeholders to provide assurance that the actions set forth in the watershed plan by the individual entities are done.

The activities being done under the watershed approach are building upon the watershed management efforts by water management districts and local governments such as the SWIM program, the National Estuary Program, and other watershed planning efforts. Further information about Florida’s watershed management and TMDL program can be found at:

Special Problems

Isolated wetlands in the panhandle are not adequately protected by the state at this time. The wetland resource permit program under chapter 62-312, F.A.C., in the panhandle only regulates dredging and filling in “named waters” and wetlands and other surface waters that are connected to those “named” waters. With the recent SWANCC decision, many of those isolated wetlands also are no longer regulated by the Corps. The state is working on rulemaking that would expand the environmental resource permit program that is in place in the rest of the state to the panhandle; an expanded ERP program would regulate works in the panhandle’s isolated waters.

Extensive wetland and other surface water acreage in Florida has been, and continues to be, degraded by exotic and invasive species infestations. Florida has a regulatory program for exotic and invasive species, and spends millions of dollars each year on controlling those species. Regulatory permits also often include mitigation that targets removal and control of exotic and invasive species. However, despite those efforts, Florida remains one of the most susceptible states in the nation to continued exotic and invasive species due to a favorable climate and past actions of man that have disturbed historic conditions.


There is no one “wetland team” in Florida to guide or control all the programs that regulate, acquire, and manage Florida’s wetlands. However, mechanisms are in place to foster communication on issues related by wetlands and other surface waters. These include:

  • The DEP and water management districts frequently coordinate on individual permitting actions;
  • The DEP and water management districts meet approximately four times per year on statewide issues involving implementation and coordination of the environmental resource permit program;
  • The DEP and water management districts meet frequently to discuss issues related to water use and water consumption, both of which may adversely affect wetland and other surface water levels and functions;
  • The DEP and water management districts regularly attend permit coordination meetings with the Corps.

Contact Person(s)

Douglas Fry
Bureau of Beaches and Wetland Systems, MS 2500
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
2600 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2400
(850) 921-9890

Contact Points


Web contact: Kate Grosmaire: (850) 921-9920;

Guidebooks, Brochures, Websites, Other Educational Materials

This Old Pond Video (approximately 5,000 copies distributed), available from the Southwest Florida Water Management District at:

NPDES Stormwater Construction Permitting brochures (approximately 800 distributed, with 800 more brochures ordered), available from the Southwest Florida Water Management District at:

One Stop Permitting – Permitting Information – available at (* denotes brochures available in pdf*):

Getting A Permit: The Steps
*AGSWM Process
*ERP Permitting
*Tips about Agricultural Permitting
How to Operate & Maintain Your Stormwater Management System

Publications of the Northwest Florida Water Management District (NWFWMD) can be accessed by clicking on “Publications” from the district’s home page at nwfwmd also offers the publication “Waterways- Exploring NW Florida’s Water Resources,” and has additional brochures on specific waterways within the district.

Publications of the St. Johns River Water Management District can be accessed from the district’s home page at by selecting “Publications” under “Quick Clicks” at the top of the page.

Publications of the SWFWMD can be viewed at: At the bottom of the district website is some outreach information, including websites for children. From the home site, one can click on Publications, Plans & Reports to go to the following site where resource information is listed and may be accessed:

Publications and reports of the SFWMD, including a link to educational sites can be accessed at: Additional information from the SFWMD also is available at and click on “site map.”

Publications from the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) may be accessed at Additional available material from the SJRWMD includes: Legacy Program - Summary: Water Resource Education. Legacy Program Site Index • Welcome • Governing Board • Programs & Projects • What's New • Search. What it is The Legacy Environmental Education program is a cooperative educational venture between the St. Johns River Water Management District and high schools in the District's 19-county service area. The program enlists educators and their students to help the District's staff make public lands more accessible.

The Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Environmental Education provides a listing of many of the DEP’s publications at (note-- DEP: For the following publications audience designations are provided as G for general, and E, M, and H for elementary, middle and high school, respectively): A listing of the publications pertinent to wetland education from the DEP education site also is available below. For specific information on the wetland and surface water programs, please refer to the specific web sites provided for each of the programs below:

Stormwater & Non-Point Source Management Program --

Scroll down to Publications and Reports ( The publications and reports site also provides information on the implementation of “best management practices” (BMPs).

NPDES Stormwater Program-- This site provides links to many EPA and DEP NPDES publications and guidance.

Bioassessment of Florida's Aquatic Ecosystems - This site describes biological approaches to measure and evaluate the consequences of human actions on biological systems. Posters also can be obtained at

Mine Reclamation Program-- This site provides links to the following aspects of the program: Environmental Resources; Management Plan for the Intergrated Habitat Network - Lease Nos. 3963 and 3995; Dam Safety; Mandatory Non-Phosphate; Mandatory Phosphate; Nonmandatory Reimbursement; Mine Safety, Phosphogypsum Management; Technical Section, and Mine Reclamation Rules. For more information, contact: DEP - Mine Reclamation, Collins Building, 2051 E. Dirac Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32310-3760, Phone (850) 487-3894, Fax (850) 488-1254.

Wetland Resource Program (often referred to as the Environmental Resource Program)-- This site includes information inclusive of the Wetland Resource Permitting program, the Environmental Resource Permitting program, and the Sovereign Submerged Lands Program applicable throughout the state. The program’s training and education site is at This site contains access to publications developed for the program.

Sovereign Submerged Lands Program -

Apalachicola National Estuary Research Reserve--850-653-8063

  • Educational Opportunities - Outline of available education programs at the ANERR - E-H
  • The Oyster Catcher - Quarterly newsletter by the ANERR - G
  • Project Estuary Reserve - Middle/High school curriculum, available for checkout from NERR library - M-H
  • Estuarine Pathways - Elementary curriculum available for checkout from the ANERR library - E
  • Coastal Connections - Educational field trip opportunities from ANERR - G

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary--305-743-2437

  • Florida Keys Environmental Education Resource Directory - 1997 edition-Provides information on resources for environmental educators in Monroe County - E-M
  • Keeping Your Bottom off the Bottom - A grounding prevention brochure - G
  • Protecting Paradise-Florida Keys Safe Boating Tips - An eight-minute video on grounding prevention tips - G
  • Florida's Coral Reef Ecosystem - A poster depicting the coral reef ecosystem of the Florida Keys - G-E
  • FKNMS site Brochure - An overview of the FKNMS includes regulations - G
  • FKNMS Upper Region Site Brochure - Provides Information about mooring buoys, tips for divers and snorkelers, and Sanctuary regulations - G
  • FKNMS Lower Region Site Brochure - Provides Information about mooring buoys, tips for divers and snorkelers, and Sanctuary regulations - G
  • Sounding Line - Quarterly newsletter about the FKNMS - G
  • Summary of What You Need To Know to protect Sanctuary Resources - Brochure that summarizes all of the FKNMS regulations - G

Rookery Bay Reseach Reserve--941-775-8845

  • Rookery Bay Field Guide - Book on plants and animals found in RBNERR. Costs $10 - G
  • Marine Science Curriculum - Manual includes field, lab and classroom activities for high school students - H
  • KEEP IT CLEAN - A Citizen's Guide to Protecting Our Estuary - Describes actions citizens can do to avoid contributing to non-point pollution - G
  • Rookery Bay Boater's Guide - A boater's guide to the Bay - G
  • Rookery Bay Poster - Clyde Butcher black and white art poster - G

Southwest Florida Aquatic and Buffer Preserves--941-575-5861

  • Aquatic Preserves of Southwest Florida - Brochure on the aquatic preserves of the region - G
  • Pine Island Sound Aquatic Preserve - Brochure on the aquatic preserves - G
  • Introduction to Aquatic Preserves in The Charlotte Harbor Estuary - "Do You Know Where Your Aquatic Preserves Are?" - G
  • Aquatic & Buffer Preserves of Southwest Florida - Summary Table - G
  • Charlotte Harbor Estuaries Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Network - Background information for interested volunteers - G


  • Florida State of the Environment: Ground Water, Reuse of Reclaimed Water, Stormwater Management - 3 booklets that describe the program areas of stormwater management, ground water and reuse of reclaimed water in Florida - G-H
  • Florida Water Quality Assessment - Section 305 (b) Report 1998 for the State of Florida - G
  • Florida Ground Water Guidance - Brochure providing numeric screening levels for assessing the ground water concentrations minimum criteria standards believed to affect human health - G
  • Pointless Personal Pollution - Brochure on nonpoint sources of pollution and what we can do to reduce nonpoint sources - G
  • Save the Swales - Brochure on runoff, purpose and importance of swales and what you can do to reduce runoff - G
  • Eastman and Laird's "Teenage Ninja Turtles Storm Drain Savers" - Activity books on purpose of storm drains and how we can keep them clean - E-M-H
  • The Waterfront Property Owner's Guide - 58-page brochure describes homeowner tips on how to protect waterbodies and how to maintain your water front property - G
  • How to Judge Environmental Planning for Subdivisions - 45-page Citizens guide to help individuals not professionally trained to be able to evaluate land development plans - G
  • EnviroScape Training Aid - LOAN ONLY - portable kit with landscape allows hands-on demonstrations of nonpoint and point sources of water pollution and ways to prevent pollution - E-M-H-G

Mine Reclamation--850-488-8217

  • Ongoing Projects & Programs Which are Interrelated With the Implementation of the Integrated Habitat Network Coordinated Development Area - Information for participants in the State Phosphate Mine Reclamation Program - G
  • A Regional Conceptional Reclamation Plan for the South. Phosphate District of Florida - An analysis of environmental, economic & political factors within a 9 county region of central Florida. Includes maps - G

Wetland Resource Permitting 850-488-0130

  • Florida State of the Environment Wetlands Resource Permitting - Describes wetland types, why we should protect our wetlands, and the rules and regulations for permitting - G-H
  • Single-Family Dredge and Fill and the DEP, Single-Family Dock Construction and the DEP, Shoreline Stabilization and the DEP - Three brochures that describe single-family dredge & fill dock construction & shoreline stabilization - G
  • Take It Back - Video (5 min) on stewardship of the earth - Upper elementary to adult.
  • Wetlands Delineation Manual - 98-page manual discussing Wetlands Delineation Methodology followed by examples of practical application of Methodology at nineteen reference sites located throughout the state - G
  • Florida Wetland Plants: An Identification Manual - 588-page manual that reveals Florida's wetlands with over 800 colored photographs. Provides description of plants, their habitat and associates plant communities - G

Environmental Education--850-488-9334

  • Florida-State of the Environmental Series - 7 booklet series describes the regulatory programs. -Air Quality, Ground Water, Reuse of Reclaimed Water, Solid Waste Management, Stormwater Management, Wastewater Management, and Wetlands - G-H
  • Classroom and Field Experiments for Florida's Environmental Resources - Booklet describes 14 laboratory and field experiments for middle and high school environmental and science classes - M
  • Environmental Education Leaflets #1 thru #10 - #1 Wetlands in Florida, #2 Ground Water in Florida, #3The Automobile and the Environment, #4 Solid Waste and Recycling, #5 The Water You Drink, #6 Mercury in Florida's Environment, #7 Invading Exotic Species in Florida, #8 Global Climate Change & Florida, #9 Making Recycling Work, #10 Watershed and River Basin - M-G
  • Your Environment - Booklet aimed at upper elementary/middle school children with information and activities describes Florida's environment and how you can help to protect it - E-M
  • Color the Coast With Pelican Pete & Molly Manatee - Activity book for K-3 grades describes beach and coastal environmental problems - E
  • Florida's Beaches and Shores - Activity book for 3--5 grades describes the beach and coastal areas - E
  • The Indian River-An Exceptional Lagoon - Teacher supplemental guides to developing an understanding of the lagoon and the interdependence of its plants and animals - T
  • Aquatic Plants - Activity book for 3-8 grades describes plant life and animal life in aquatic areas - E-M
  • Estuarine Habitats-Elementary Teaching Activites Series - A set of seven Supplemental Teaching Activities for Estuarine Habitats - T
  • EPA "Wetlands--Reading List" - Reading list for pre-kindergarten through K-12 on Wetlands - E-H
  • People, Growth, and Endangered Ecosystems: Exercise in Biodiversity Grades 6-10 - Lesson guide for 6-10 grades describing activities to help students understand ecosystems - M-H
  • Surveying and Ecosystem - An exercise for 9-12 grades familiarizing students with an ecosystem - H
  • Studying A Piece of an Ecosystem - A class exercise for 9-12 grades familiarizing students with ecosystems - H
  • Resort or Resource…Either… Or Both? An Environmental Citizenship Activity Grades 9-11 - Activity book for 9-11 grades describes environmental citizenships and wetlands - H