Department of Environmental Conservation

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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 May 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.

  • Volunteer for "I Love My Park Day" on Saturday, May 1 and Sunday, May 2. This annual event brings together thousands of volunteers to celebrate and enhance New York's parks, historic sites, and public lands. DEC has events at a variety of locations - from trails in the Forest Preserve to popular campgrounds to urban escapes - providing many opportunities for New Yorkers to help clean up, restore, and enhance these special places. To learn more, visit our I Love My Park Day webpage.
  • Check out the NY Sustainable Brewery Summit on May 4 and May 11 from 1-3 p.m. The two-part online event will discuss sustainability and pollution prevention best practices. To learn more, visit the RIT website (leaves DEC website).
  • DEC invites you to a public meeting to discuss the proposed remedy for the Village of Hoosick Falls Water Supply on May 13 at 6 p.m. via Webex. Participants are encouraged to provide comments at the meeting and during the 45-day comment period, which ends on June 4, 2021. For more information, visit the project webpage.
  • New York State's annual burn ban is in effect from March 16 through May 14. To learn more, visit our burn ban webpage.
  • Looking for a volunteer opportunity where you can spend time outside? DEC's new Adopt-a-Trailhead program connects volunteer groups with popular trailheads where they can provide visitor education and/or litter pickup. Individuals can also apply provided they understand the time commitment, or they can email volunteer.stewardship@dec.ny.gov to get connected with a volunteer group in their area.
  • Planning on freshwater fishing? Check out the new regulations on our freshwater fishing webpage.
  • Fertilizing your lawn this spring? Remember to "Look for the Zero" when buying fertilizer. Visit our NYS Nutrient Runoff Law webpage for more information.
  • New York State is seeking volunteers to look for spotted lanternfly and tree-of-heaven, two invasive species, in your area. You can supplement NYS efforts to prevent negative impacts from invasive species by knowing what to look for and how to report observations to New York's official invasive species database, iMapInvasives. Visit the iMapInvasives webpage (leaves DEC website) for information on upcoming trainings.

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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