The Areas of Critical State Concern Program was created by the "Florida Environmental Land and Water Management Act of 1972." The program is intended to protect resources and public facilities of major statewide significance, within designated geographic areas, from uncontrolled development that would cause substantial deterioration of such resources. The Department reviews all local development projects within the designated areas and may appeal to the Florida Land and Water Adjudicatory Commission any local development orders that are inconsistent with state guidelines and local comprehensive plans and regulations. The Department also is responsible for reviewing and approving amendments to comprehensive plans and land development regulations proposed and adopted by local governments within the designated areas.
Designated areas of critical state concern are:
- The Big Cypress Swamp (portions of Collier, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties)
- The Green Swamp (portions of Polk and Lake Counties)
- City of Key West and the Florida Keys (Monroe County)
- City of Apalachicola (Franklin County)