Smart Growth Advocates

Saving Special Places • Building Better Communities

Advocating at the Local and Regional Levels

Across the state, local advocacy groups are dealing with the impacts of growth on a daily basis. Check below to find out more about some of these groups and their activities. Please contact 1000 Friends of Florida at to add new organizations or correct existing entries.

1000 Friends of Florida provides this for informational use only; this is not an endorsement of these groups or their activities.

North Florida

Apalachicola Riverkeeper

In 2016, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to deny a massive proposed development outside of the Urban Services Area, providing a major victory for both the environment and for the citizen advocates who led the charge.

Beaches Watch, Inc.

This group formed in 2004 in response to a proposed high-rise condominium in Jacksonville Beach. It helped stop the project and led a successful petition drive to cap future development at 35 feet. It now focuses on growth issues in the northeast Florida beach communities of Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach and Ponte Vedra Beach in Duval and St. Johns counties.

Big Bend Environmental Forum

The Big Bend Environmental Forum is an alliance of organizations which have come together to conserve the region’s environmental qualities through education, advocacy, research and networking among its members. It encompasses Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor and Wakulla County in North Florida, and has begun networking with South Georgia advocates.

Friends of Wakulla Springs State Park

A non-profit citizens support organization started in 1996, the organization dedicates itself to supporting the stewardship of natural and cultural resources through various means.

Citizens United for Responsible Growth (CURG)

This grassroots organization shares information on neighborhood impacts, stormwater, conservation, environmental protection, growth management, governmental fiscal responsibility, transportation, educational facilities and other issues impacting the citizens of Leon County.

Keep It Rural

Originally coalescing in 2014 to oppose an inappropriately placed gas station and convenience store in rural Leon County, the group went on to convince the County Commission to take a holistic review and update of land use policies to better protect rural areas from inappropriate development.

Matanzas Riverkeeper

The Matanzas Riverkeeper is a 501(c)(3) organization founded by Neil Armingeon in 2013 to protect the fragile and beautiful Matanzas River. The Matanzas Riverkeeper organization is a project of The Friends of the Matanzas, a non-profit organization that has been fighting to protect the Matanzas River since the early 90s. Since its inception, Friends of the Matanzas has spoken out against poorly planned developments that would harm the Matanzas River or its tributaries.

Northwest Florida Environmental Conservancy

This group focuses on the biodiversity, conservation and environmental education of all of Northwest Florida (Suwannee-Perdido Rivers).

St. Johns County Audubon

St. Johns County Audubon promotes the protection, preservation, and restoration of the habitats of birds and other wildlife through education, stewardship, and  science-based conservation advocacy.

South Walton Community Council

Founded in 1995, the SWCC is an organization of residents, business owners, property owners, workers and neighborhood groups whose mission is to preserve, protect and enhance the quality of life and natural environment of South Walton County.

Wakulla Springs Alliance

The Wakulla Springs Alliance is striving to protect and restore spring flow, water quality and the ecological health of Wakulla Spring and River. The alliance is composed of scientists, and other experts knowledgeable of the local hydrology, land use planning, local government, water use and education.

Central Florida

Horizon West Alliance

As Horizon West expands, the Horizon West Alliance supports, funds and advocates for smart development, and promotes civic pride by identifying and seeing key enhancements and efforts through to fruition.

Howard T. Odom Florida Springs Institute

The mission of the Florida Springs Institute is to provide a focal point for improving the understanding of springs ecology and to foster the development of science-based education and management actions needed to restore and protect springs throughout Florida. The Institute also addresses land uses within springsheds and water withdrawals within the state.

Save Orange County

This group exists to establish a community of interest and to effect necessary amendments and changes to county ordinances or state statues for the preservation of rural and agricultural lands and rural lifestyles.

Save Rural Seminole

Save Rural Seminole was founded in 2018 in response to developers’ threats to the Seminole County voter established Rural Boundary.  SRS’ mission is to preserve the rural areas of Seminole County by maintaining the integrity of the County’s Rural Boundary.

Silver Springs Alliance

The Alliance addresses development within the silver springshed, and Rodman Dam removal is a top priority.

Smart Growth Central Florida on Facebook

Founded in 2015, this is a nonpartisan group for the advocacy and advancement of smart growth principles within the Greater Orlando Region.

St. Johns Riverkeeper

This group’s mission is to be an independent voice that defends, advocates, and activates others to protect and restore the St. Johns River.

Women for Wise Growth on Facebook

Founded in 1998, Women for Wise Growth is an organization of women dedicated to preserving a quality of life in Alachua County that enhances the social and environmental fabric of the community.

Southeast Florida

COBWRA (Coalition of Boynton West Residential Associations)

COBWRA is a volunteer-led, nonpartisan, civic organization representing the residential communities of West Boynton Beach, Florida, in unincorporated Palm Beach County. Its mission is to “protect, preserve and enhance property values and the quality of life in the West Boynton area.”

Arthur R. Marshall Foundation and Florida Environmental Institution

on Facebook – Established to develop, promote and deliver science-based education and public outreach programs central to restoration of the everglades ecosystem and its historic river of grass.

Florida Coalition for Preservation

A grassroots 501(c)(3) organization, this group promotes responsible growth management on the barrier island and coastal communities. It educates citizens of their rights and helps them to preserve their quality of life and unique environmentally sensitive areas. The group formed 12 years ago when a developer tried to buy the Town of Briny Breezes.

Guardians of Martin County

This non-partisan group of residents and voters is dedicated to supporting the integrity of the Martin County Comprehensive Growth Management Plan through increased public awareness.

Hold the Line

Miami-Dade County is fortunate to still have untouched, wild spaces near its South Florida communities. This land must be preserved to protect communities as sea level rises and local supply chains, farmland and food supply become more critical. To learn more about the threats to the Urban Development Boundary and the environment, go to and sign up to stay on top of the latest news.

Indian River Land Trust

The organization’s mission is to promote the preservation, conservation and improvement of natural resources and special places in Indian River County, Florida for the benefit of the general public and future generations. Its Vision is to preserve environmentally important land and water resources, protect scenic waterfront areas and to provide access for public recreation and education.

Last Stand

Last Stand is a non-profit 501(c)(3) which focuses on protecting the Florida Keys’ endangered quality of life and its fragile, beautiful natural environment.

Martin County Conservation Alliance

This group works to avoid overdevelopment and its impact on Martin County schools, roads, libraries and taxes through upholding the Martin County Comprehensive Growth Management Plan.

Miami River Commission

Formed by the legislature in 1998, the Miami River Commission is the watchdog, advocate and clearinghouse for the Miami River, which runs 5.5 miles from Biscayne Bay through the heart of Miami. It developed and is helping to implement the Miami River Corridor Urban Infill Plan.

North County Neighborhood Coalition of Palm Beach County

NCNC was formed so residents living in different communities could have a collective community voice in addressing their concerns in the north county region to government and business organizations.  It advocates working collaboratively with government, business, education, and environmental leaders to make Palm Beach County the location of choice for the pursuit of a high quality of life experience.

Original Save Our Beach

This organization was formed in response to a series of proposed high-rise beachfront projects in the City of Deerfield Beach in Broward County. As a PAC, it campaigned for three successful referenda (in 1998, 2000, and 2002) to limit beach front development. It now focuses on natural resource protection and planning.

Smart Growth Partnership: A Southeast Florida Initiative

This group’s mission is to promote livable, sustainable, and green communities in South Florida through leadership, support, advocacy and education.

Southwest Florida

Citizens for Sarasota County

This is a volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization of neighbors concerned about maintaining the quality of life in Sarasota County.

Conservancy of Southwest Florida

The groups had its start in 1964 when plans were revealed to build a road through Rookery Bay. The group now focuses on protecting the quality of life, protecting the environment, and promoting smart growth in the region.

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast is a nationally accredited land conservancy protecting land and water in Southwest Florida for the benefit of people and nature.

Greater Pine Island Civic Association

This group works to maintain the quality of life on Pine Island in Lee County.

Rainbow River Conservation

Through education, conservation, stewardship and advocacy, Rainbow River Conservation works to protect and preserve the water quality, the natural beauty, the riverbed, and the flood plains of the Rainbow River in Southwest Florida.

Responsible Growth Management Coalition on Facebook

Though it focuses primarily on Lee County, this coalition also works in neighboring Charlotte, Hendry, Glades and Collier counties. It incorporated in 1988 over the siting of Florida Gulf Coast University on 760 acres of primary panther habitat. It now focuses on Lee County’s comprehensive plan and planning issues, the region’s Outstanding Florida Waterways, acquiring sensitive natural lands for the public, and environmental issues.

South Manasota/Sandpiper Key Association

The mission of the SMKA is to provide an action forum for property owners and others with vested interest in the ambiance, economy, ecology, beauty, recreation and culture of the Englewood area, as well as to foster community among residents.

Suncoast Waterkeeper, Inc.

The mission of Suncoast Waterkeeper is to protect and restore the Florida Suncoast’s waterways through enforcement, fieldwork, advocacy, and environmental education for the benefit of the communities that rely upon these precious coastal resources. The organization also addresses coastal development issues.