The Florida Geological Survey (FGS) is an office
under Regulatory Programs, in the Florida Department of
Environmental Protection. In 2007, the FGS celebrated 100 years of
service to the state. Established in 1907, the FGS is the oldest
state agency functioning under both its original legislative
establishing statute and its original title.
The origin of the FGS can be traced to 1852 when the
office of State Engineer and Geologist was authorized by the
legislature. The head of this new office was "General" Francis L.
Dancy, a former militia officer and mayor of St. Augustine. Although
Dancy lacked geological experience, his engineering training was
useful since his responsibilities included draining lowland areas
for agriculture. His post was abolished in 1855. In 1886 Governor
E.A. Perry appointed Dr. John Kost, a medical doctor and amateur
geologist, as State Geologist. His tenure was short; the legislature
terminated his post in 1887.
The history of the present-day FGS began in 1907,
when legislation created an autonomous permanent geological survey
and an office of State Geologist. The law remained unchanged until
1933, when the FGS was placed under the newly-formed State Board of
Conservation. A major reorganization of state government in 1971
placed the FGS in the new Department of Natural Resources. In 1993
the FGS became a bureau of the Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP), which was created by combining the Departments of
Natural Resources and Environmental Regulation. In 2008,
the FGS became an office under the Deputy Secretary for Land and
Recreation within DEP and moved to Regulatory Programs in 2012.
Since 1907 there have been six State Geologists
heading the FGS: Dr. Elias Sellards (1907-1919), Dr. Herman Gunter
(1919-1958, nearly 52 years with the FGS), Dr. Robert O. Vernon
(1958-1971), Charles W. "Bud" Hendry, Jr. (1971-1988), Dr. Walter
Schmidt (1988-2009), and Dr. Jonathan Arthur (2009-present).
Click on the image below to view the timeline of highlights and significant historical events
in the evolution of the Florida Geological Survey.