Department of Environmental Conservation

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Animals, Plants, Aquatic Life

One of DEC's main responsibilities is to manage and protect New York State's wild animal and plant populations. To do this, DEC conserves crucial habitats and sets regulations and policies that protect plant and animal resources.

The links on this page will help you to:

Learn about DEC's Young Forest Initiative, which will dramatically increase this type of habitat for wildlife that depend upon it.

Information about Species

Four biologists in a boat with a sturgeon along side the boat
DEC biologists track the movements of
the Atlantic sturgeon in the Hudson River
by attaching tags to individual fish.

DEC scientists who research and manage natural resources developed most of the information presented here. Use the links at left to get general information about the main categories of animals and plants. More details about the life patterns and habitats of some popular and interesting species can be found on links from the general information pages.

Where to See Wildlife in New York

watchable wildlife icon

The Watchable Wildlife pages highlight the best places to view some of New York's wildlife, fascinating facts about these species and viewing tips.

Human Interactions with Wild Species

A black bear hanging from a bird feeder that is suspended on a line
New York's black bear population is
expanding, causing more bear-human

More New Yorkers are encountering wild species than ever before. Growing human populations sometimes modify or destroy important plant and animal habitat, threatening or endangering some species in the process. Other species are more able to live close to humans. While they may add interest to the local environment, they also can cause problems for their human neighbors.

New York's Plant Life

Rows of tree seedlings at DEC's nursery
DEC's Saratoga Tree Nursery sells
tree and shrub seedlings in early spring
to the public and provides free tree
seedlings to schools.

To learn more about important plants, endangered and invasive plant species and how to buy tree and shrub seedlings from DEC, use the "Plants" link at left

More about Animals, Plants, Aquatic Life :

  • Mammals - Links to information about many of New York's mammals including their biology, management, history, and restoration.
  • Birds - Links to detailed information about many New York bird species, to the Breeding Bird Atlas, the Bird Conservation Area program and the bird webcams.
  • Amphibians & Reptiles - Links to descriptions, life history, distribution and habitat, status, management and research needs of 13 key amphibian and reptile species in New York.
  • Insects & Other Species - Information about DEC's research and management programs on invertebrates, macroinvertebrates, and forest insects.
  • Plants - Information on aquatic plant management, protected native plants of New York State, endangered plants species, the New York Big Tree Register and the Saratoga Tree Nursery
  • Nuisance & Invasive Species - Invasive species are non-native species that can cause harm to the environment, the economy or human health. Invasive species threaten nearly every aspect of our world and are one of the greatest threats to New York's biodiversity.
  • Biodiversity & Species Conservation - Information about species conservation programs in New York, including the Endangered Species Program, State Wildlife Grants Program, Natural Heritage Program, NYS Pollinator Plan, and the Adirondack Cooperative Loon Program.
  • Wildlife Health - Information on the role of DEC's wildlife pathology unit and wildlife diseases that are monitored by DEC.