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Environmental Resource Permitting (ERP) Program

Florida Deadhead Logging

Deadhead Logging Classroom Certification Trainings are held in the DEP District Offices 

Deadhead Logging Classroom Training Agenda

DHL Classroom Training Flyer

Northwest District Office - September 25, 2015

Central District Office May 28, 2015

Northeast District Office - September 12, 2014

Southwest District Office Future dates TBD.

The late 19th century brought countless changes to the face of Florida. The landscape of towering pine trees and expansive cypress swamps on the southerly peninsula invited new inhabitants and pioneered new industries, including several northern logging companies. In those early years, armed with only an ax, loggers clear cut the longleaf pine forests and harvested the giant cypress. 

photograph of log rafts floating down the Oklawaha River  photograph of loggers floating logs down a manmade canal  photograph of cypress trees in 1930

These hundred year old pines and cypress, some thousands of years old, and subsequent hand-cut logs were then rafted together and floated downriver to nearby sawmills. It has been estimated that nearly 10 percent of these cut timbers sunk while in transit and were lost to river bottoms where they were preserved by the cool water and lack of oxygen.

Photos from the Florida Photographic Collection: http://www.floridamemory.com/PhotographicCollection/

Modern day craftsman highly regard the wood that is milled from these pre-cut submerged timbers, or deadhead logs, because of their great strength, durability and resistance to rot. Wood from the sunken logs, revered for its tight grain and array of colors ranging from blond to caramel to black, is up to 10 times more valuable than conventional wood. It is used to make upscale paneling, flooring and furniture. 

photograph of a fireplace mantle made from deadhead pine 

The State of Florida claims ownership of most of the logs since they are located on sovereign submerged lands. In 2000, a moratorium prohibiting deadhead logging was lifted allowing loggers to retrieve deadhead logs from Florida water bodies upon authorization and according to specific legal and environmental conditions. However, logs that were originally branded by the logging companies may still be claimed by their original owners. Today, the authorization is provided through DEPs issuance of an Environmental Resource Permit from the Submerged Lands and Environmental Resource Permitting Program and through a Use Agreement from the Governor and Cabinet serving as the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund.

 photograph of a pine log with a logging brand

What do you need to do to deadhead log?

  • Attend the Master Deadhead Logger Certification Classroom Training
  • Apply for an Environmental Resource Permit from DEP
    • A Permit is issued for a period of 5 years.
    • Complete Sections A, C and F of the application for the Environmental Resource Permitting Program, Form 62-330.060(1). The permit cost is $420.
  • Enter into an agreement with the State through a Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund of the State of Florida Sovereignty Submerged Lands Use Agreement for Recovery of Pre-cut Submerged Timber. 
    • A Use Agreement is executed for a period of 1 year
    • The fee for this agreement is $5,500.
    • As a condition of the Use Agreement, you will be required to maintain liability insurance in the amount of $200,000 per person and $300,000 per accident for personal injury or death.

Environmental Resource Permitting (ERP)

Sovereign Submerged Lands Authorizations

Frequently Asked Questions

The Deadhead Logging program is based out of DEPs Main Office in Tallahassee.

For more information please contact the Deadhead Logging Coordinator at:photograph of an ax cut pine log from the Suwanee River

Daniel Sensi
Mangrove and Deadhead Logging Coordinator
Submerged Lands and Environmental Resource Coordination Program
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
2600 Blair Stone Road, M.S. 2500
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2400
Phone: 850-245-8428
Fax: 850-245-8499

Last updated: December 29, 2015

  2600 Blair Stone Road M.S. 3500   Tallahassee, Florida 32399   850-245-8336 (phone) / 850-245-8356 (fax) 
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