The Florida Legislature passed the Governmental Reorganization Act, creating the Department of Natural Resources. The department combined the tasks of the former Outdoor and Recreational Development Council, the Board of Drainage Commissioners, the Florida Board of Conservation, the Canal Authority, the Suwannee River Development Authority and the State Park Service and part of the functions of the old Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission.


Florida’s new constitution made the protection of natural resources a state priority.


Fifteen new sinkholes appeared in central Florida, indicating a serious drop in the water table.

As they did in the past, sinkholes indicate a drop in the water table below the earth’s surface. This sinkhole in the late 1990s threatened an apartment complex when it opened near Orlando.


Congress enacted the Federal Water Quality Act.


Construction resumed on the Cross-Florida Barge Canal.


The Orange Lake Dam was built.


The Four River Basin Study was completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and a federal project was authorized.


The Legislature created the Southwest Florida Water Management District to initiate management programs in the area. The district replaced seven smaller districts. It had nine board members, each serving three-year staggered terms.

Map of the state of florida with the five water management districts indicated


As a result of floods in mid-central Florida and the Tampa Bay area, emergency water resource and flood control studies were undertaken in the Green Swamp, Tampa Bay area and Ocklawaha River Basin.


Congress authorized a United States study commission for the Southeast River Basin to study the water resources of Alabama, Georgia and Florida.


Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam on the Apalachicola River became fully operational.


The Legislature created the Department of Water Resources under the State Board of Conservation.


The Florida Legislature established the seven-member Water Resources Study Commission. Byron E. Herlong was appointed by Gov. Leroy Collins and designated chairman. The study committee report to the governor resulted in the passage of the Water Resources Act of 1957 (State Bill 377). The act declared, for the first time, a water policy for the state. It recognized the need for an overall evaluation of the state’s water resources. The Water Survey and Research Division agency was also dissolved, and its files were turned over to the Florida Geological Survey.

Aug. 4, 1954

Congress passed the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act, providing for water management by the Soil Conservation Service of watersheds smaller than 250,000 acres.


The Artesian Water Control Act was passed to control flowing artesian wells.


Florida’s population reached 2.77 million.