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Public Participation

Clean air to breathe. Clean water to drink. Lakes and streams, parks and playgrounds for everyone to enjoy. A cleaner and greener New York is everyone's job.

A public meeting held in an auditorium. A person is speaking into a microphone

DEC encourages you to get involved especially when environmental decisions are being made that will impact you, your family and community. Your opinion matters and you can be part of the process. In fact, in some cases, it's actually the law that you be notified about environmental projects that directly impact you.

On this page, you will find:

Upcoming Public Meetings

For a complete list of upcoming events, please visit our full events calendar.

This Month's Public Meetings and Hearings | See complete list of public meetings and hearings

How to Participate in a Virtual Public Meeting

Due to COVID-19, DEC has been hosting virtual meetings on Cisco Webex, a virtual meeting platform, which is similar to Zoom. Some meetings may require you to register beforehand, after which you will receive the log in information by email. If no registration is required, the information on how to join the meeting should be provided within the meeting announcement.

Foreign language and sign language interpretation can be provided at no charge with 14 days advance notice to the meeting host or via email. If you need help in a foreign language to register, please see our language assistance web page.

Join a Webinar

To join a Webex meeting on a computer (for the best experience):

A screenshot of the Webex audio connection function

Testing your device and internet connection before attending a virtual meeting is advised. To test your device, visit the Webex website (leaves DEC website).

  • To join the webinar, click on the Webex link that was provided. You may be asked to enter your name and email address to join the meeting or you may need to enter the access code and/or meeting password to join. These should have been provided to you along with the Webex meeting link.
  • Your web browser may ask you to download a plug-in or temporary application to run Webex.
  • To connect to audio for the webinar select one of the 3 options:
    1. The preferred method is to have Webex call you at a phone number you provide. Note that Webex cannot dial phone number extensions.
    2. Call in using the Webex phone number, access code and attendee ID provided.
    3. Use your computer's speakers for sound if equipped with them.
  • Allowing video of yourself isn't necessary to join a webinar and this option won't be available for most meetings. If this option is available, you can use your computer's built in camera or a webcam.
  • If not already muted upon entry by the host, make sure you mute your phone or speaker to eliminate feedback during the meeting.
  • The buttons at the bottom of the screen allow you to view meeting options:

To join a Webex meeting using the phone app:

You will need to download the Cisco Webex app to your phone prior to the start of the meeting.

  • To join the webinar, click on the Webex link that was provided using your phone. This should open the Webex app on your phone. You may be asked to enter your name and email address to join the meeting or you may need to enter the access code and/or meeting password to join. These should have been provided to you along with the Webex meeting link.
  • You will receive an automated call from Webex to join in using your phone's audio. You can decline this call if you'd like to connect your audio in another way. Use the icons at the bottom of the app to see the options for connecting your audio for the meeting. There are 3 options:
    1. Call in using the Webex phone number, access code and attendee ID provided.
    2. Have Webex call you at the phone number you're currently using. Note that Webex cannot dial phone number extensions.
    3. Use your phone's internet connection through the app for sound.
  • Allowing video of yourself isn't necessary to join the webinar and this option won't be available for most meetings. If this option is available, you can use your phone's camera.
  • If not already muted upon entry by the host, make sure you mute your phone to eliminate feedback during the meeting.

To join a Webex meeting by phone only:

With this option, you will only be able to hear whoever is speaking in the meeting. You won't be able to see anything that is shared on-screen (such as PowerPoints, videos, etc.).

  • Call the Webex phone number provided with the meeting access information.
  • Enter the meeting access code, followed by the # sign.
  • Enter the attendee ID number (if available), followed by the # sign. If you don't have your attendee ID number, you can just hit the # sign to join without it.

You should now start hearing the audio of the meeting. You will mostly likely be muted on entry to the meeting by the host, but if not please mute your phone line.

How To Make a Comment During a Webinar:

Most webinars have a predetermined method to collect comments or questions. There are several ways this may be done. Options may include:

  • Typing in a question or comment using the Chat or Q&A features (as determined by your host for the webinar). These options can be found at the bottom of the screen if joining from a computer or the phone app.
  • In some meetings you'll have the option to virtually raise your hand to make a verbal statement. Go to the Participants tab and click on the Raise Hand button. The host will call on you and unmute your line at the appropriate time.
  • If you called in only and are not signed in online, some meetings will have the option to virtually raise your hand at any time by hitting *3 on your phone's keypad. The host will call on you and unmute your line at the appropriate time.

Note that not all meetings will have the option for making verbal comments.

Get Involved in DEC's October Outreach Initiatives

audience listening to a speaker at a podium

Want more ways to get involved? DEC offers a wide array of different programs for the public to participate in - check out the list of current initiatives below. This list is updated regularly.

  • 4th and 5th graders can enter the 4th and 5th Grade Arbor Day Artwork Contest. Twelve winning designs will be featured in a calendar and one statewide winner will also get a tree planting at their school. Submissions are due by December 10. Details can be found on the contest webpage.
  • Check out the New York State Birding Trail! The New York State Birding Trail is not a physical trail, but "connects" all of the best birding locations in regions across the state. Explore new outdoor recreation opportunities by checking out a great birding location near you. For more information, visit the New York State Birding Trail webpage.
  • The Polystyrene Foam Proposed Part 353 Regulations are now available for public comment. The public comment period ends November 22, 2021. For more information, visit the Polystyrene Foam Ban webpage.
  • The New York State Association of Conservation Commissions (NYSACC) is holding its 50th anniversary 'Conference on the Environment' virtually from October 21 through October 24. Hear from CACs around the state and network with fellow municipal advisory commissions. The theme this year is "Building Resilience Through Community Action." The conference is free to attend. To register and learn more, please visit the NYSACC website (leaves DEC website).
  • Planning on leaf-peeping this fall? Remember to #LoveOurNYLands and recreate responsibly, plan ahead, and Leave No Trace. Follow @NYSDECAlerts on Twitter (leaves DEC website) for real-time updates from Select State Lands and Sites.
  • Join in on a screening of our newest documentary, "Uninvited: The Spread of Invasive Species"! "Uninvited" is a documentary about the significant threat that invasive species pose to New York's ecosystems, public health, and economy. The film highlights prominent emerging invasive species, such as spotted lanternfly, and lesser-known species of concern like scotch broom, while highlighting New York State's innovative efforts to combat these pests. Visit our invasive species education and outreach page for more info.

Contact Information

Looking for information on who to contact at DEC? Check out DEC's Contact Us page to find points of contact for our various programs, such as sporting license sales, camping reservations, etc.

Please note that due to COVID-19, there may be reduced in-office staffing and we may not get to your call right away. We appreciate your understanding.


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