Services - What we provide

Environmental Resource Management Department

Mission Statement

In October 1987, the Tribal Council of the Seminole Tribe of Florida created the Environmental Resource Management Department (ERMD). The ERMD's mission is to protect and evaluate the Tribe's land and water resources and to facilitate the wise use and conservation of these resources by other departments. The ERMD has offices on the Hollywood, Big Cypress and Brighton Reservations.

For more details about Tribal Environmental Programs, read Seminoles and the Land.

Tribal Environmental Programs

  • The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delegated to the Tribe the authority to implement the Clean Water Act within the Tribe's jurisdiction. As part of that program, the Tribe implemented a sophisticated monitoring system, adopted water quality standards for the Big Cypress reservation, and is developing standards for the other reservations.
  • As party to the Seminole Land Claims Settlement Act of 1987, the Tribe transferred the land and water rights to a part of the historic Big Cypress State reservation to the State to be managed by the Water Management District for Everglades restoration. This action expanded State holdings in the environmentally sensitive Rotenberger Tract and Water Conservation Area 3A, which are part of the Everglades Protection Area.
  • The Tribe has developed other programs, as well, including spill prevention plans for above ground storage tanks and removal programs for underground storage tank facilities.
  • Brownsfields Tribal Response Program
  • The Tribe actively participates in a number of task forces, working groups, and commissions regarding the restoration of the South Florida ecosystem. The Tribe spends a considerable amount of resources supporting the overall design and implementation of restoring South Florida's environment.

Seminole Water Commission

In November 1989 the Seminole Tribal Council created the Seminole Water Commission to oversee the ERMD. The Commission is comprised of two Tribal representatives each from Hollywood, Big Cypress, and the Brighton reservations, and one from the Immokallee reservation. The Commission, together with technical assistance from the ERMD, has developed rules to protect the quality of surface waters within the boundaries of the Tribe's reservations.

Tribal Water Code

The Seminole Tribal Council also enacted the Tribal Water Code to establish a legal framework for protecting and restoring the waters of the Tribe's reservations. Pursuant to Tribal Council direction in implementing tribal sovereignty, the ERMD developed a program to protect water quality. The Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has delegated authority to the Seminole Tribe to implement the federal Clean Water Act. Simply speaking, the Tribe now has the same authority as the State of Florida to set water quality standards for tribal lands. In 1996, the Tribal Council adopted water quality standards for the Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation.

Below is online documentation that may be viewed with Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat.

Water Rights Compact

Criteria Manual to the Seminole Water Rights Compact

Seminole Tribal Water Code

Rules to Carry Out the Seminole Tribal Water Code

Water Quality Monitoring

The ERMD performs data collection and water quality monitoring for all Tribal reservations, Trust lands and properties. This includes:
  • Sampling
  • Analysis
  • Data Management
  • Reporting to Federal and Regional Agencies
The ERMD also works cooperatively with the Big Cypress National Preserve and the South Florida Water Management District to monitor the quality and quantity of water entering and leaving the reservations and at the common borders.

In addition to setting water quality standards, the ERMD has developed a Water Conservation Plan for the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation. The purpose of the Conservation Plan is to improve water quality, increase storage capacity, and enhance hydroperiods. The Plan will require the coordinated efforts of the ERMD, private consultants, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Natural Resource Coservation Service.

The ERMD serves as the Tribe's liaison with Federal and state agencies managing water resources. Additionally, the ERMD assists other Tribal Departments, such as Housing and Real Estate Services. Finally, the ERMD works with Seminole Tribe of Florida, Inc. in its development and management of Tribal natural resources.

To protect surface and ground water from potential contamination as a result of industrial and agricultural land uses, the ERMD continually investigates, assesses and coordinates the remediation of hazardous and non-hazardous materials on all Tribal lands. While some of this work entails testing, monitoring and removal of contaminated water and soil, other work is aimed toward the prevention of such pollution.

These efforts include:

  • Scheduling of used oil, household and industrial waste pickups
  • Designing emergency response and spill control plans
  • Installation of monitoring wells
  • Water and soil testing
  • Data Management
  • Educating Tribal and community members on proper disposal and reduction of harmful pollutants.
The most important function of the ERMD is providing assistance to individual Tribal members who are planning projects wich use or discharge water, or affect surface or storm water drainage.

Additional Links of Interest:


How To Reach Us

Hollywood Phone: 954-965-4380 Fax: 954-962-8727
Big Cypress Phone: 863-902-3200 Fax: 863-902-3203
Brighton Phone: 863-763-4128 Fax: 863-763-1428
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