Department of Environmental Conservation

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About DEC

new york state department of environmental conservation logo

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) was created on July 1, 1970 to combine all state programs designed to protect and enhance the environment into a single agency.

How DEC is Organized

DEC is headed by a commissioner, who is assisted by executive managers. The department has 24 divisions and offices and is further organized into bureaus to fulfill the functions and regulations established by Title 6 of New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (6NYCRR). Some programs are also governed by federal law.

Central Office and Regional Offices

DEC's Central Office is in Albany. Each of DEC's nine regions has an office that serves the communities within that region. A total of approximately 3,000 DEC staff work in either the Central Office or a regional office.

Locating Your Regional Office

To locate your region, use the Statewide Directory or see the list below of counties that are in each region.

Region 1: (Long Island) Nassau and Suffolk counties

Region 2: (New York City) Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island

Region 3: (Lower Hudson Valley) Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties

The upper Hudson River
DEC conserves, improves and protects
New York's natural resources.

Region 4: (Capital Region/Northern Catskills) Albany, Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Montgomery, Otsego, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Schoharie counties

Region 5: (Eastern Adirondacks/Lake Champlain) Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties

Region 6: (Western Adirondacks/Eastern Lake Ontario) Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida and St. Lawrence counties

Region 7: (Central New York) Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, Oswego, Tioga and Tompkins counties

Region 8: (Western Finger Lakes) Chemung, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne and Yates counties

Region 9: (Western New York) Allegany, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Erie, Niagara and Wyoming counties

Contacting DEC

A boy and a girl sitting by the water
Contact your DEC regional office for
advice on the best places to hunt, fish
and enjoy the outdoors.

Your DEC regional office is the first place to call with specific questions such as how to obtain and renew DEC permits and how to find the best places to hunt, fish and enjoy the outdoors or to report issues involving environmental problems. Contact the Central Office with general questions about DEC policies and regulations.

DEC's Mission

Mission: "To conserve, improve and protect New York's natural resources and environment and to prevent, abate and control water, land and air pollution, in order to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state and their overall economic and social well-being."

DEC's goal is to achieve this mission through the simultaneous pursuit of environmental quality, public health, economic prosperity and social well-being, including environmental justice and the empowerment of individuals to participate in environmental decisions that affect their lives.

History of DEC

Gov. Nelson Rockefeller signing DEC legislation
April 22, 1970 -- Governor Nelson Rockefeller signing
legislation creating DEC

On April 22, 1970, Governor Nelson Rockefeller signed legislation to create the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and marked our first Earth Day. On July 1, 1970, we opened the doors to this newly formed agency.

New York has made remarkable progress in reducing air, land and water pollution, protecting 1.5 million acres of open space for future generations, and assisting the recovery of the bald eagle and sturgeon from virtual extirpation.

While New York's air, water and land are cleaner today, we still face several environmental challenges, including climate change which poses an existential threat to our way of life. As we look back and take stock of our accomplishments, we also look forward to building upon our successes and tackling these challenges in the next 50 years.

You can read the full timeline (PDF) tracing DEC's history and various environmental milestones throughout the decades.


More about About DEC:

  • Contact Us - Directories for programs and regions, report and environmental problems, request documents, and get important 800 numbers
  • Commissioner - Information about DEC's Commissioner, the commissioner's background and contact information, and DEC's history and past commissioners
  • Website Usage and Policies - A guide to the organization, policies, and features of DEC's website, along with help for using the site.
  • Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities - DEC's accessibility efforts for people with disabilities to be able to participate in and enjoy the benefits of DEC's services, programs and activities, as well as access information through our public website.
  • Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) - EPF offers wide ranging benefits to communities around the state and plays an important role in preserving the state's natural resources and habitats.
  • Boards and Commissions - Organizations to which DEC provides coordination and secretarial services; organizations in which DEC's technical staff participate on committees or as officers and links to other boards and commissions
  • UST Operator Exam - Login and signup page for the New York State Underground Storage Tank Class A and B Operator Exam.
  • State Agency Environmental Audit & MS4 Reports - An annual program administered by the Department of Environmental Conservation which compiles environmental audit information submitted by 50 state agencies and public benefit authorities, and produces a report summarizing the audit information
  • Employment - Information about permanent and seasonal employment, internships and volunteer opportunities
  • Doing Business with DEC - All DEC procurements are conducted in accordance with New York State laws and procurement guidelines. The Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) program and the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business (SDVOB) Program encourage participation in state contracting opportunities.