Environmental Resource Permits

Helpful Information

District staff works diligently to ensure that protection of our natural resources is achieved while providing the public with fair, consistent, and timely customer service.

Our Environmental Resource team does this by:

  • Providing technical support to our customers in a manner that is courteous, professional and respectful
  • Encouraging pre-application meetings
  • Assist in determining the type of permit needed and permit fees required
  • Ensuring permit quality and customer satisfaction
  • Identifying and eliminating unnecessary and/or duplicative permitting requirements

Please call us at our District Headquarters (850-539-5999) or DeFuniak Springs Service Office (850-951-4660) to set up a pre-application meeting. You can also find a list of contacts for each office under the Permitting Process tab.


Florida law requires Environmental Resource Permits (ERPs) to prevent stormwater pollution to Florida’s rivers, lakes and streams, and to help provide flood protection.

ERPs regulate the management and storage of surface waters and provide protection for the vital functions of wetlands and other surface waters. In Northwest Florida, the ERP program is jointly implemented by the District and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Overview of ePermit

District staff provided public training regarding utilization of the new NWFWMD ePermit Portal. Please click on the links below to review the ePermit Reference Guide and PowerPoint presentation that covers the main points of ePermit. There is also an FAQ section at the end of the presentation. Feel free to contact the District if you have questions about ePermit.

ePermit Quick Reference Guide

PowerPoint Presentation on ePermit (.pdf file)

Who needs a permit?

Florida law requires environmental resource permits for many types of work within wetlands and surface waters, such as dredging or filling; construction of dams, impoundments, docks or other structures; the construction of stormwater management systems that discharge to those waters; and other kinds of land disturbance. The ERP program regulates stormwater runoff in most new development to protect water quality, prevent flooding and to avoid adverse impacts to off-site property.

ERPs also regulate dredge and fill activities in tidal and freshwater wetlands, including contiguous and isolated wetlands.  The ERP program operates independently of the federal dredge and fill permitting program, which is regulated by the US Army Corps of Engineers, although a joint application process has been developed between the state and Corps.

The ERP program also issues what are commonly known as “ten-two” general permits.  In 2012, the Florida Legislature adopted a general permit that allows for the construction, alteration and maintenance of certain smaller projects without agency review or action.  Under this law, Section 403.814 (12), F.S projects involving less than two acres impervious surface and less than 10 acres of total project area that are located within state lands or water with no wetland impacts, may proceed subject to the conditions of the general permit.

Statewide Rulemaking

In 2020, the Florida Legislature passed Senate Bill 712, also known as the Clean Waterways Act, now Chapter 2020-150, Laws of Florida. This legislation passed with unanimous, bipartisan support and carries a wide range of water-quality protection provisions aimed at minimizing the impact of known sources of nutrient pollution and strengthening regulatory requirements. Stormwater-related pollution represents one of the largest potential contributors of nutrients throughout the state.

The Clean Waterways Act directed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Florida’s five water management districts (WMDs) to update stormwater design and operation regulations under Part IV, Chapter 373, Florida Statutes (F.S.), using the latest scientific information. This bill included a timeline for the State of Florida (FDEP and WMDs) to strengthen regulatory requirements regarding water quality. In an effort to ensure public input was heard, a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) was formed. The mission of the TAC was to provide a forum for identifying and outlining recommendations to the FDEP and WMDs for strengthening the stormwater design and operation regulations implemented under Part IV, Chapter 373, F.S., including updates to the ERP Applicant’s Handbook, based on the most recent scientific information available and the additional directions per Section 5 of Chapter 2020-150, Laws of Florida. The TAC members each brought a different level of interest that aligns with the goals of the bill. Those interests included: academia, agriculture, technical expertise, City and County government, development, environmental and water resource protection, stormwater related association’s efforts, low impact design and green infrastructure, stormwater and utility design, and urban redevelopment.

The TAC’s recommendation to the State of Florida generally focused on the replacement of the standard presumptive criteria that are currently in the rule, as well as each of the five water management district’s applicant’s handbooks and replace them with performance-based criteria that will be implemented statewide. The TAC provided its recommendations to the State of Florida which initiated rulemaking through the FDEP and five WMDs.

Throughout the year of 2022 and beginning of 2023, the FDEP and five WMDs worked jointly to revise the language within the ERP rule and applicant’s handbooks to include additional details and requirements of how a permit application submittal would demonstrate reasonable assurance of how it has met state water quality standards. During this time, various public workshops were held by both FDEP and the WMDs to provide updates on the revised rule and handbook language, as well as give the public an opportunity to provide additional input and recommendations.

On March 22, 2023, the FDEP held a Public Hearing of the final rule draft. No challenges were received and therefore, the ratification of the current rule to implement the new rule with the revised language went before legislation during the 2023 session.

Please visit the Clean Waterways Act Stormwater Rulemaking Technical Advisory Committee section of the FDEP’s website for more information and workshops held throughout this effort.