Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

History of DEC- 2010s

DEC tackles urgent issues like preparing for the effects of climate change and controlling invasive species as the agency celebrates 40 years of dedication to protecting the environment. Major successes like preserving the last two undeveloped Finger Lakes are tempered by the loss of two environmental education centers due to austerity measures. New York continues to lead in reducing CO2 emissions from power plants and programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) serve as an example of how collaboration with other states, agencies and non-profit groups will be increasingly necessary for DEC to fulfill its mission as future environmental challenges unfold during uncertain economic times.


  • In celebration of DEC's 40th anniversary, the agency's commissioner tours the state, highlighting the many environmental accomplishments DEC has helped make possible since its creation in 1970.
  • New York's Invasive Species Council implements the first state classification system of non-native plants and animals to help prevent the spread of invasive species.
  • Nine waterbodies in three regions are delisted from the state's Impaired Waterbodies List after DEC finds significant improvements in their water quality.
  • After nearly five years and more than 30,000 deer samples with no additional cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) detected in New York, it appears the disease was successfully prevented from becoming established in the wild.
  • The City of Rochester and the state agree to preserve the last two undeveloped Finger Lakes, Hemlock and Canadice.
  • The Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act becomes law, establishing the most comprehensive electronic waste (e-waste) product stewardship program in the country.
  • Austerity measures caused by a large state budget deficit lead to the closing of Stony Kill Farm and Rogers environmental education centers. Only two centers, Five Rivers and Reinstein Woods, remain. Some wilderness trails and campgrounds are also closed to save on staffing and maintenance costs.
  • DEC adopts a policy requiring some power and industrial plants to use closed-loop cooling systems, reducing incidental fish kills by more than 90 percent.
  • RGGI member states hold their 10th auction of "carbon credits." Since 2008, proceeds from the 10 auctions have totaled about $777 million. New York's share is approximately $282 million for investment in programs to save consumers money, benefit the environment and build a clean-energy economy.
  • EPA issues more stringent vehicle emission standards following the lead of 14 states, including New York.
  • Rechargeable Battery Recycling Act becomes law, requiring manufacturers of some rechargeable batteries to collect and recycle the batteries statewide in a manufacturer-funded program at no cost to consumers.
  • DEC issues a revised State Solid Waste Management Plan, proposing new ways for government, businesses and individuals to take a more sustainable approach toward waste management that reduces greenhouse gases and pollution, saves energy, and creates new environmental jobs. The plan sets the ambitious goal of reducing the average amount of solid waste per day that each New Yorker produces by 85 percent by 2030.


  • Responding to ever-increasing use of the Internet, DEC launches an online version of its Turn In Poachers and Polluters (TIPP) hotline, previously available only by phone.
  • DEC issues a statewide ban on the feeding of black bears in response to increasing conflicts between bears and people.
  • The United Nations declares the International Year of Forests, highlighting and encouraging efforts to sustainably manage global forest resources.
  • Meltwater from a snowy winter combines with relentless spring rains to bring severe flooding to several counties in northern and central New York. DEC provides assistance to both prevent damage during the floods and help with repairs afterward.
  • Improved water quality allows DEC to reopen more than 3,000 acres of marine waters closed to shellfishing for decades on Long Island.
  • Based on the number of hunting-related shooting incidents reported, the 2011 season tied with 2009 for New York State's safest year of hunting, thanks in part to DEC's free Sportsman Education courses.


  • Regulations for chronic wasting disease (CWD) are amended to prohibit the importation of certain parts of white-tailed deer taken in the state of Maryland, where the disease was first reported in 2011. Emergency regulations prohibit importing certain parts of white-tailed deer and American elk from Pennsylvania.
  • Acquisition of 69,000 acres of the former Finch Paper lands and other Nature Conservancy lands throughout the Adirondacks announced.
  • New York acquired a 2,146-acre parcel within the Adirondack Park to be added to the state's Forest Preserve and a 651-acre parcel outside the park to become a new state forest following modification of a Forest Conservation Easement allowing continued leasing of up to 220 camps.
  • Under an agreement between NYSDEC and NYCDEP to improve the quality of New York harbor waters, New York City is investing approximately $187 million for the next three years and an estimated $2.4 billion in public and private funding during the next 18 years to install green infrastructure technologies to manage stormwater before it enters the city's combined sewer system.
  • The 2012 Winter Bat Survey offers encouraging observations from the five hibernation caves in the greater Albany area, where numbers of little brown bats are stabilizing and, in three caves, increasing.
  • Larvae of the emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive insect, is found in 13 counties in New York State.
  • To reduce the quantity of phosphorus entering the state's waters, a new state law limits the percentage of phosphorus in lawn fertilizers and restricts the time of year and locations where fertilizers can be used.
  • Spring wildfires are down 60 percent from the previous 10-year average prior to the 2010 burn ban.
  • New York State and New York City renew a multi-state water management agreement to protect fisheries habitat in the Delaware River and mitigate peak flood levels, while preserving NYC's ability to provide sufficient high-quality water to more than nine million New Yorkers.
  • Regulations to analyze possible environmental impacts and limit CO2 emissions from power plants near at-risk communities are the first in the country required for siting new major electric-generating facilities or expanding existing facilities.
  • Two female lake sturgeon are discovered carrying eggs downstream of Oneida Lake; they are the first mature females found since state restoration work began nearly 20 years ago.
  • The presence of the invasive spiny water flea-which feeds on tiny crustaceans and other zooplankton that are foods for fish and other native aquatic organisms-is confirmed in Lake George.
  • New, special youth firearms deer season established for junior hunters ages 14 and 15 with a big game hunting license.
  • Due to catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, the state implements a Breach Contingency Plan for Long Island's barrier beaches. Resources and emergency permits are provided to affected communities across the state.
  • A collaborative recovery effort returns the endangered gilt darter to the Allegheny River-the first time this fish has been in state waters in 75 years.
  • After nearly a 30-year absence, deepwater ciscoes-or "bloater" fish-are reintroduced into Lake Ontario to improve food web stability and mitigate the negative impacts of invasive species.


  • The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program-founded by The Nature Conservancy's Adirondack Chapter, the state Departments of Environmental Conservation and Transportation, and the Adirondack Park Agency-receives the 2013 National Invasive Species Awareness Week Award in the category of Outstanding Achievement in Invasive Species Leadership.
  • New trout fishing opportunities on waters of former Finch Pruyn Paper lands are now open to anglers.
    The first phase of the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act, a system for collecting discharge reports of untreated and partially treated sewage from public wastewater systems, becomes effective on May 1.
  • New state record for brook trout: 6-pound, 22.5-inch brook trout in Silver Lake (Hamilton County) on May 16.
  • DEC permanently adopts recreational fishing rules for summer flounder (fluke), scup (porgy) and black sea bass, which are less restrictive and specify changes to minimum size and possession limits, and to open season for all three species.
  • Researchers from Cornell University and the USGS capture two wild juvenile sturgeon in two different locations, signifying another milestone in the state's lake sturgeon restoration efforts.
  • Amended regulations applicable throughout the state now ban the importation, possession, and sale of live bighead carp-an invasive species that threatens aquatic communities in New York.
  • The Hudson River Estuary Program and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission award hundreds of thousands in grants for projects to enhance watershed resiliency in the face of climate change, improve the environmental health of the Hudson estuary, support research into effective shoreline protection strategies in New York City, and help mitigate the impacts of flooding.
  • A new policy makes it easier for companies to protect the environment and will reward those who perform environmental audits, voluntarily report violations and prevent pollution.
  • To ensure a balanced ecosystem and maintain a healthy deer population for sportsmen and sportswomen who contribute to the state's economy, regulations issued to prohibit the importation of deer into the state that are susceptible to the always fatal chronic wasting disease (CWD).
  • To protect public health from potentially harmful levels of coliform bacteria found during routine water quality monitoring, DEC changes designated shellfishing areas for more than 3,500 acres of Long Island water.
  • Type E botulism again struck the eastern basin of Lake Ontario this fall resulting in significant mortality of migrating waterbirds, including at least 200-300 common loons, as well as long-tailed ducks, grebes and gulls.
  • Effective July 2014, a new law will require manufacturers to collect and recycle mercury-containing thermostats at no cost to consumers to ensure that hazardous mercury is properly handled, preventing potential adverse health effects and damage to the environment.
  • More than 3500 acres of public land is purchased by DEC in the Catskill and Adirondack Forest Preserves, Columbia County, Lake George area, and Oneida County.


  • DEC's new computerized system for purchasing sporting licenses, registering for recreational marine fishing and reporting game harvests is fully operational.
  • The 2013 New York hunting season had the lowest number of hunting-related shooting incidents on record, thanks in large part to DEC's Sportsman Education program.
  • DEC issues a General Permit for the demolition of Sandy-impacted homes adjacent to state-regulated freshwater wetlands; open space will be created to serve as buffers against future flooding.
  • State and federal agencies partner to update emergency response plans to better protect New Yorkers from potential disasters.
  • Hunting or trapping of wild boars in NYS is prohibited due to a new DEC regulation designed to eradicate them statewide.
  • New York adopts updated fluke rules to expand opportunities for state saltwater anglers, which should result in a 50 percent harvest increase.
  • DEC adopts a black bear management plan following public comment period.
  • DEC and the USGS begin a three-year cooperative study of Mohawk River fish species to better understand how changes in the river may have impacted them, and to identify management practices that could lessen anticipated effects of factors like invasive species and climate change.
  • New state regulations require boaters to clean and drain boats prior to launching at or leaving DEC lands, to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
  • DEC finalizes rule changes to implement a new crossbow hunting law to ensure that the crossbow is a legal implement for fall 2014 hunting seasons.
  • DEC and Agriculture and Markets issue final regulations to prevent the spread of invasive species in NYS and to address the damage they cause.
  • DEC breaks ground on the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center, which is funded by state and federal sources.
  • DEC receives an award from the NY Upstate Chapter of the American Planning Association for improvements to the environmental review process which make it easier for applicants and reviewers to complete the forms required for the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process.
  • The presence of the destructive southern pine beetle is confirmed in three locations along the southern shore of Long Island-its first known appearance in New York State.
  • The invasive emerald ash borer is confirmed in Broome and Westchester counties through DEC's 2014 trapping program.
  • DEC amends the state's chronic wasting disease regulations in response to the discovery of CWD in Ohio and urges New York hunters to review CWD information before hunting deer out of state.
  • DEC issues final unit management plans for fire tower historic areas.
  • DEC announces a new toll-free hotline for reporting poachers and polluters to help ECOs protect New York State's natural resources.
  • DEC releases the Hudson River Estuary Habitat Restoration Plan to guide the actions of community groups, government agencies, scientists and conservation organizations in sustaining priority habitats.
  • The State Department of Health completes a review of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, recommending the activity should not move forward.
  • DEC announces revisions to the state's list of Species of Greatest Conservation Need, which will help target conservation efforts to improve habitat and maintain healthy ecosystems.
  • DEC established a Capital Region task force to battle the invasive emerald ash borer.


  • Following an extensive seven-year review, New York State officially prohibits high-volume hydraulic fracturing.
  • The Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Management Plan, which provides a statewide framework for New York and its partners to address the threat presented by AIS, is completed and $2 million in grants is available to organizations to prevent the spread of AIS.
  • Found alongside a road in Henrietta, Monroe County, a deceased bald eagle wears a leg band whose number indicates the bird was 38 years old-five years older than the oldest banded bald eagle previously encountered to date nationwide.
  • The state's Coastal Green Infrastructure Plan for New York City outlines how to use natural features to protect the city and increase resiliency along coastal areas and the Hudson River estuary shoreline.
  • DEC adopts the most stringent liquefied natural gas regulations in the nation.
  • Due to deterioration and a greatly expanded crack in the historic Balmville Tree-a particularly large eastern cottonwood that began growing since before 1699-DEC determines that it is a threat to public safety and must be removed.
  • New regulations are adopted to address deer populations in portions of the state with too many or too few deer, and several modifications are made to DEC's Deer Management Assistance Program to ease the application process for landowners and provide greater flexibility for DEC to administer the program.
  • The $1.3 million Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center officially opens.
  • A new solid waste management initiative will assist local governments in achieving efficiencies by sharing experiences and, when possible, coordinating operations.
  • DEC announces approval of the final 158 miles of the North Country National Scenic Trail (NST), which routes the NST through the Adirondack Park and incorporates the National Scenic Trail into the state's Adirondack trail system as part of a projected 4,600-mile trail extending to North Dakota.
  • In support of the state's post-Sandy strategy, approximately $2.2 million in new competitive grant funding is available to help communities in the Hudson River estuary improve recreational access and estuary education, design projects to increase resiliency to flooding, protect water quality and enhance natural resources.
  • DEC foresters and the Northeast Compact Education Team join forces to combat the southern pine beetle on Long Island, and $1 million federal grant to support replanting of trees destroyed on Long Island by Asian long-horned beetle.

  • Contact for this Page
  • Office of Communication Services
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-4500
    Send us an email
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to all NYS regions