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Public Involvement and News

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You have a role in protecting the state's environment. From living a greener life at home, to getting involved in agency decisions, to taking action with local interest groups, we encourage you to stay informed and make your own personal contribution.

Find News from DEC

  • Current and archived press releases from the Press Office and DEC regions provide breaking news and announcements;
  • DEC offers over 100 informative and timely email newsletters through DEC Delivers, our email news service;
  • DEC posts frequently on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites;
  • Look on our public events calendar for public meetings, hearings, and comment deadlines, as well as recreational events;
  • Visit our public participation web page for ways to attend a virtual event;
  • The Environmental Notice Bulletin is published every Wednesday. All proposed regulations, guidance documents, hearings, permit applications, and other official documents and actions are published here, along with information on how to comment on the proposals.

Get More Information

  • DEC has a Central Office in Albany and nine regional offices that provide information and assistance to residents of the counties within their region. To stay updated on the status of a local project, contact your DEC regional office, or DEC's Bureau of Public Outreach at or 518-402-8044.
  • DEC created a Transparency Plan (PDF) which highlights actions the agency is taking to increase transparency and access to DEC information.
  • DECinfo Locator is an interactive mapper that provides documents and data such as permits, reports, and fact sheets. DEC contributes datasets to NYS Open Data. See DEC Catalog and Schedule of Publishable Data (PDF).
  • Citizens may receive DEC records upon request through the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). If a document cannot be released through the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), an explanation will be provided. The FOIL page provides instructions and a full electronic archive of DEC's FOIL appeal determinations since 2004.
  • Read DEC's award winning Conservationist magazine online.
  • Alerts provided by NY-Alert cover weather conditions, road and bridge closings and other public safety related topics beyond what DEC provides.
Local Trees for Tribs participants
One way to get involved is by participating
in a local Trees for Tribs project.

Make a Difference

  • Living the Green Life has monthly updates to help you be a friend of the environment.
  • Interested in volunteering? There are many volunteer opportunities with DEC depending on your interests and abilities.
  • Want to work for DEC? Visit the employment page.
  • Each of DEC's 9 regional offices has 1 or more public participation specialists, who can answer your questions and help you get more involved in local projects. Look for the Public and Media Affairs contact for your area on our Contact Us by Location page.

Make Your Voice Heard

Public programs work best when the public understands their purpose and function and when we have the benefit of your feedback. Here's how you can share with us:

  • Public participation opportunities help you learn about environmental initiatives and offer ways to provide public comment or attend a virtual DEC public meeting.
  • New York's State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) requires all state and local government agencies to consider environmental impacts equally with social and economic factors when making decisions. The public may participate by scoping the draft EIS, reviewing SEQR documents and providing comments to agency decision-makers, and participating in SEQR hearings on the environmental impacts of a project.
  • Most environmental cleanup projects follow a very specific step-by-step process. Before the cleanup work begins, people who live close by are informed of the situation and the plan to fix it. A Citizen Participation Handbook (PDF) provides a basic guide for what you can expect, how to get involved, and how to stay informed during the project. You can also sign up for one or more of our contaminated sites email lists.
  • Many community groups across NYS are involved in specific program or geographic areas. Environmental justice groups focus support in areas that have been disproportionately impacted.
Students participating in I Love My Park Day
Make a difference by volunteering in a local
event like "I Love My Park Day".

Connect on Social Media

DEC has several social media accounts where you can learn the latest information and engage with us through your feedback and comments. Find us on:
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Flickr | YouTube

Join a Community Advisory Group

Conservation Advisory Councils (CACs) and Conservation Boards (CBs) are found in cities, towns, and villages across New York State. They advise local governing boards, planning boards, and zoning boards of appeals on matters related to the environment. CACs and CBs develop town-wide inventories of natural resources and open space, conduct research, review development proposals, conduct site visits, deliver education programs, implement stewardship projects, and gather and distribute information to other town agencies, land use applicants, and the general public. By providing science-based input to land use proposals, ordinances and town plans, CACs and CBs can help communities address environmental issues in municipal planning. For more information on CACs and CBs or to find a local council, check out the New York State Association of Conservation Commissions (This link leaves the DEC website).

Volunteer groups provide vital help at
NY's environmental education centers.

Environmental Management Councils (EMCs) are voluntary advisory boards appointed by their county governments throughout New York. EMCs are made up of 9 or more volunteers appointed by the county executive or legislature, that advise the county on land use planning, environmental infrastructure planning (landfill placement, recycling programs, use of road salt and alternatives, etc.) and local environmental issues (hazardous waste sites, deer management, logging, etc.). They also provide a liaison between the community and their county government. Members may include business and professional people, farmers, skilled and unskilled workers, students, teachers, and senior citizens. In counties where there are EMCs, any CAC within the county automatically has a seat on the EMC board. For more information on EMCs or to find a local EMC, please call DEC at 518-402-8044.

Eagle Scout and Girl Scout Gold Award Certificates - DEC provides the opportunity for scoutmasters to complete and print an online certificate for scouts who will be recognized in their troop for environmental projects:

Region 9 Region 8 Region 7 Region 6 Region 5 Region 4 Region 3 Region 2 Region 1

More about Public Involvement and News:

  • Press Releases - Current and archived press releases from DEC and the Governor's Office and special resources for reporters.
  • Environmental Justice - The Environmental Justice Program focuses on improving the environment in communities, specifically minority and low-income communities, and addressing disproportionate adverse environmental impacts that may exist in those communities.
  • Indian Nation Affairs - DEC announced the creation of a new Office of Indian Nation Affairs to focus on consultation and engagement with Indian Nations in New York.
  • Public Safety - Learn about environmental conditions that may threaten public health or safety
  • Environmental Excellence Awards - This awards program recognizes New York's environmental and conservation leaders, who are solving environmental challenges by using innovative and environmentally sustainable practices or creative partnerships.