Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Snapshots of DEC

Commemorate the last 50 years with us as we add a new weekly accomplishment highlight. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see it first.

beach and ocean wave

In 2017, DEC released the first-ever, comprehensive NY Ocean Action Plan.

discarded pesticide containers

In 2002, DEC created Clean Sweep NY, a pesticide disposal program.

river otter

In 1995, the NY River Otter Project began in Central and Western New York.

two women hunting pheasants

In 1994, New York becomes one of 14 states to hold a "Becoming an Outdoors-Woman" workshop, sponsored by DEC and other organizations.

kayakers on Hudson River in Front of DEC Headquarters in Albany

In 2001, DEC moved into its new headquarters in Albany, overlooking the Hudson River.

people receiving Climate Smart Community Award

In 2007, DEC created an Office of Climate Change to respond to growing concerns about the ill effects of climate change on the environment.

Salmon River Fish Hatchery sign

In 1980, DEC opened the Salmon River Fish Hatchery in Oswego County to raise Pacific salmon and steelhead trout for stocking in Lake Ontario.

Winners from the Environmental Excellence Award

In 2004, DEC's Environmental Excellence Awards (EEA) program is launched.

bee pollinating flower

In 2016, New York State issued a Pollinator Protection Plan to protect and promote the recovery of the state's declining pollinator population.

bird going to platform

In 1988, The Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State is published.

Albany NY skyline

In 2005, NY and six other states establish the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nation's first market-based, CO2 cap-and-trade system.

moose in the Adirondacks

Since 2007, DEC has completed aerial moose surveys in the Adirondacks as part of a collaborative study of the health of NY's moose population.

a stand of trees in a forest

Since 2008, DEC has achieved 12 consecutive years of dual forest certification for more than 780,000 acres of State Forests.


In 2009 a firewood regulation was enacted to protect NY's forests and community trees from invasive forest pests.

teacher and student planting a tree seedling

DEC's Saratoga Nursery School Seedling Program began in 1985.

people in a room watching a presentation

In 1999, DEC establishes the Office of Environmental Justice to address environmental concerns in underserved areas.

NYC skyline at dusk

In 1992, New York State adopted California's stringent vehicle emissions standards.

fracking drill well

In 2015, NYS officially prohibits high-volume hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") in the state through regulation.

backhoe at clean up site with debris drums

The passage and signing of the State Superfund/Brownfields Act in 2003 helped DEC establish a Brownfields Cleanup Program.

two staff removing giant hogweed

DEC's Giant Hogweed Control Program started in 2008. In late April -August, DEC field crews visit confirmed sites and use appropriate control methods.

website homepage in 1997

DEC's public website has been helping people around the world gain a better understanding of the environment since 1997.


In 1988, the Solid Waste Management Act was passed in New York State.

photo of fish under water off of Long Island

In 2018, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the largest expansion of the Artificial Reef Program in state history.

image of NYC Watershe in the Catskills

In 1997, DEC signed a landmark agreement with NYC that formed the basis for managing and protecting the NYC Watershed.

recycling container with recyclable materials

In 1998, DEC established a Pollution Prevention Unit to plan, monitor, manage, coordinate and encourage industries to prevent pollution at its source.

Campers around a camp fire at DEC Environmental Education Camp

In 1997, DEC's environmental education summer youth camps program celebrated its 50th anniversary of helping kids make memories that last a lifetime.

spill response trailer

In 1984, DEC assumed responsibility for the oil and hazardous substance spill program and established a statewide toll-free hotline to report spills.

girl duck hunting in a duck blind with trees

In 1991, the use of lead shot was prohibited for waterfowl hunting in NY.

waste tire pile

In 2003, the State Waste Tire Management and Recycling Act passed, providing funding to remove waste tires from tire dumps across the state.

cooler with I Fish NY bumper sticker

In 2002, the urban fishing program, "I Fish NY," began to increase participation in fishing and promote outstanding fishing opportunities in NY.

lake image from Adirondacks

In 1993, New York created the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) which supports open space and stewardship projects.

DEC staff people in a boat pouring soda ash into a pond

In 1984, NY passed the nation's first law to reduce "acid rain" from in-state air pollution sources. DEC is adding soda ash to neutralize acid rain.

pair of nesting bald eagles

In 2017, DEC confirmed a record-breaking number of nesting pairs of bald eagles in the state - 323 pairs.

bottles for recycling

To encourage recycling and reduce littering, in 1982, New York's "Bottle Bill" was passed - requiring deposits on certain beverage containers.

Three officers with their K9s and DEC Commissioner

In 1978, DEC's K-9 program started with one officer and a German shepherd. The program has grown to nine K-9 teams stationed throughout NYS. #DEC50

bald eagle

In 1976, after being nearly eliminated in NY by the late 1960s, DEC started bald eagle restoration efforts.

Humpback Whales

In 1970, DEC created the first New York endangered species list, to protect the biodiversity and wildlife throughout the state.

DEC 50th Anniversary logo

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation was created by legislation on April 22, 1970 and opened it doors on July 1, 1970.