Records Move: Natural Resources

In this, the next of our continuing series on the records now available on Saturdays, I’m focusing on records related to natural resources and environmental policy. The complete list of all the materials moved and now available on Saturdays is online as a PDF, but I’m breaking down the list into a series of blog posts.

If you want to read the longer, more complete histories for these departments and divisions, you can do so in our online catalog MARS. It will likely take us a while to change the location codes in MARS and our other finding aids so we ask you to please be patient with us on that score.

Natural and Economic Resources, Dept. of; Coastal Management Office, 1970-1972 and Natural Resources and Community Development, Dept. of; Coastal Management Office, 1972-1978

Includes: Correspondence, drafts of management plans, and records concerning the development of the office’s management plan. Correspondence, memoranda of agreements, public hearing documents, and other related records used to establish interim areas of environmental concern. Correspondence, maps, policies, and other related records concerning fragile natural areas designated as Areas of Environmental Concern by the Coastal Resources Commission. Land use plans submitted by local governments which describe policies for land development in their area. The inventories of land use plans are entered into the office’s Land Use Plans Database.  Drafts and summaries of land use plans, and other related records concerning the development of land use plans.

Approved (and some denied) applications for major permits, plans for coastal development, correspondence, permits, maps or plats, photographs, adjacent riparian landowners’ statements, and other records. Some files may also contain audio cassette tapes of public hearings. For information on dredge and fill permits, see the series: Dredge and Fill File, State Property Office. Some Dredge and Fill permits are included. For the 1978-1980 files, two permits are usually included. One for Dredge and Fill, and one for major development in a protected area. The permits (or some of the information from the permits) are entered and indexed in the agency’s Coastal Area Management Act Tracking System Database.

Natural Resources and Community Development, Dept. of; Division of Environmental Management, 1952-1981

The Environmental Management Commission (EMC) was created as part of the Department of Natural and Economic Resources when that department was re-created and reconstituted under the Executive Organization Act of 1973. The EMC subsequently replaced the board of the former Department of Water and Air Resources and absorbed its major functions of a program of water and air conservation and pollution control. (Originally established in 1959 as the Department of Water Resources, it was renamed the Department of Water and Air Resources in 1967. Prior to its demise in 1973, the department was transferred to the Department of Natural and Economic Resources under the Executive Organization Act of 1971.)

The EMC was formed in the aftermath of the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 and the ratification of the federal Water Pollution Control Act amendments of 1972. This act and its amendments substantially extended federal influence by requiring water quality standards, water planning documents, and providing billions of dollars for construction of municipal water treatment facilities. Also, the Governor’s Efficiency Study Commission of 1973 had cited the failure of the Board of Water and Air Resources to be specific in all of its rules and programs and had called for a reorganization of the board and its administrative office to permit a more efficient response to the rapid and significant changes in state and federal laws and regulations.

Under terms of its enabling legislation, the EMC was charged with promulgating rules and regulations designed to protect, preserve, and enhance the water and air resources of the state. Its duties included issuing and revoking permits to control the various sources of pollution; conducting public hearings; instituting court actions; supervising local air pollution control programs; advising local governments regarding floodways; and approving or disapproving applications for dam construction. The board was to be assisted in its duties by the Division of Environmental Management of the Department of Natural and Economic Resources, an administrative arm provided by the Executive Organization Act of 1973.

By executive order of Holshouser in 1975, the Division of Environmental Management was one of several divisions within the Department of Natural and Economic Resources designated for reorganization. It was given broad responsibility for the comprehensive planning and management of the state’s air, surface water, and groundwater resources. Its duties were to include monitoring facility compliance with regulations established by the EMC and enforcing those regulations. Also in 1975, the General Assembly empowered the EMC under certain conditions to waive or modify the requirement that a state permit be obtained to carry on an activity involving a risk of air or water pollution. Circumstances that might warrant such a waiver would include those in which applicants had already complied with federal laws or regulations that were similar to or more restrictive than those of the state. During the same year the EMC absorbed the duties and functions of the Water and Air Quality Control Committee, which had its beginnings in the State Stream Sanitation and Conservation Committee.

In 1977 the General Assembly reorganized the Department of Natural and Economic Resources and renamed it the Department of Natural Resources and Community Development. The EMC and its corresponding division were transferred to and vested in the new department, under the administrative direction of a cabinet-level secretary.

Includes: Air Quality Section Emission – inventory system file and Natural Emissions Data System file;  Director’s Office – enforcement actions file, correspondence, subject file, Environmental Management Commission minutes file, and Water and Air Quality Control Committee minutes; Central Files – monthly monitoring reports, river basin file, and subject files.

Natural Resources, Dept. of; Division of Community Assistance. Special Projects Section, 1975-1985

In 1957 the General Assembly authorized the director of the Department of Conservation and Development to establish a Division of Community Planning, subject to the approval of that agency’s board. The purpose of this division was to assist cities and smaller communities of the state in meeting the problems of urbanization and rapid economic growth. Its primary functions involved conducting various demographic and economic studies and proposing regulations to guide public and private development.

The director of the Department of Conservation and Development was required by state law to assist municipalities, either through the Division of Community Planning, or through contractual arrangements; to receive and expend federal, state, and other funds; and to administer grant contracts from state and federal sources. These duties could be delegated by the departmental director to the director of hurricane rehabilitation who was to serve ex officio as a commissioner of planning.

In 1961 the General Assembly amended Community Planning’s enabling legislation, thus replacing the commissioner of planning with a division administrator. The legislation also specified that services of the division be available to municipalities, counties, and joint and regional planning boards established by two or more governmental units.

In March of 1969 Governor Robert W. Scott requested that the General Assembly establish a Department of Local Affairs for the purpose of assisting local governments in their transitions from rural to urban economies and environments. The governor viewed this new agency as a key element in the state’s efforts to work with local governments and to support them in strategic planning for housing, recreation, land usage, and economic development.

In response, the 1969 General Assembly created the Department of Local Affairs (DLA) as an independent agency and established the Division of Community Planning as one of its major components. Through the DLA’s director, the Division of Community Planning absorbed various duties and functions of its predecessor under the Department of Conservation and Development. The division also had links to the State Planning Task Force which was established in 1965 by Governor Daniel K. Moore and subsequently became a division of the Department of Administration in 1968. Like the Division of Community Planning, the task force was given responsibility for helping municipalities cope with problems created by urbanization and coordinating a variety of related programs under federal, state, local, and private authorities.

In creating the DLA and Division of Community Planning, the legislature stipulated there be an additional advisory body named the Committee on Community Planning. It consisted of the president of the state chapter of the American Institute of Planners, who served ex officio, and nine members appointed by the governor for terms of one year. At least five of these were required to be members, at the time of their appointments, of municipal, county, or joint planning boards.

Under the Executive Organization Act of 1971, the powers and duties of the DLA and its divisions were transferred to the Department of Conservation and Development. By terms of that legislation, the latter agency was assigned for administrative purposes to the newly established umbrella agency, the Department of Natural and Economic Resources. This department was headed by a secretary who was appointed by the governor. In 1971 the Division of Governmental Relations of the DLA merged with the Division of Community Planning to form the Division of Community Services.

Two years later, the Department of Natural and Economic Resources was re-created and reconstituted under the Executive Organization Act of 1973. That legislation essentially repealed the establishment of the DLA and the Department of Conservation and Development. All committees formerly under the DLA, with the exception of Law and Order, were transferred to the reorganized umbrella agency.

The Division of Community Services continued under that same designation until 1974 when it was renamed the Division of Community Assistance.

In 1977 the legislature transferred the Division of Economic Development to the Department of Commerce. In other legislative action that year, the General Assembly reorganized the Department of Natural and Economic Resources and renamed it the Department of Natural Resources and Community Development (NRCD).

During the 1980s the Division of Community Assistance served as one of NRCD’s major community development components, all of which came under an assistant secretary for policy coordination. The division’s duties were to aid local governments in land use planning and to administer the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant program. Funded through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), that program’s primary purpose was to benefit persons of low and moderate incomes. The block grant funds were used specifically to create or retain jobs, and to make improvements in housing and public facilities in residential areas. Under HUD requirements, the state was required to monitor grantees throughout the life of the funded projects and ensure compliance with federal rules and regulations.

Includes:  Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM), Floodway Maps, Flood Insurance Studies, and some correspondence concerning the maps or studies of approximately 410 flood-prone areas within the state. Most localities will have a dated map set comprised of several sheets and an index sheet. The material was compiled by engineering firms under contract by the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency. The final versions of the maps are more accurate than the preliminary or proof sets of maps, and provide community floodway and floodplain information as a part of the National Flood Insurance Program. Set of these maps were made available to local governments and citizens by the Special Projects Section as a part of the division’s efforts to assist with local planning, management, and research programs.

Housing and Urban Development, 107 Program File – data of HUD-funded Community Development Technical Assistance Program, for which the division provides the technical assistance to recipients of the Community Assistance Block Grant Program.

The State Community Development Grants File includes proposals, historical sketches of the community, correspondence, rules and regulations, amount of requests, acceptance or rejection of submitted grants, and other material concerning state grants to cities and counties.