The mission of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is to protect and manage the state's vital natural resources, protect public health and safety, provide quality outdoor recreation and to serve and educate the citizens of the First State about the wise use, conservation and enhancement of Delaware's environment.
The agency encompasses the following programs, sections and divisions:
Office of the Secretary
Office of the Secretary provides overall direction and management for the Department, as well as central administrative functions including: policy development; program coordination; information and systems management; financial and human resource management; Coastal Zone Act administration; and public information and education. Also under the direction of the Office of the Secretary, the Delaware Energy Office administers the State Energy Program, promotes energy efficiency and diversity and renewable and advanced energy technologies through educational programs, conservation-related grants and incentives.
Division of Energy & Climate is responsible for strategic energy planning and policy to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens and economy of the State. The Division seeks to accelerate Delaware's transition to a clean energy economy and ensure that Delawareans have access to cost-effective and reliable energy by increasing energy efficiency and conservation, increasing the use of cleaner fossil fuels and renewable sources of energy, and modernizing Delaware's transmission and distribution infrastructure. The Division also is committed to improving the public's understanding of the risks associated with a changing climate, implementing adaptation strategies to overcome identified climate challenges, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Division also facilitates sustainable land use planning with local governments and engages in regional and utility energy planning. The Division manages and oversees policies and programs for energy efficiency, low-income weatherization, renewable energy, greenhouse gas emission reduction, and climate adaptation and mitigation, including the oversight of federal and state grants for those activities. The Division includes the Delaware Energy Office.
Delaware Coastal Programs manages, protects and monitors the state's coastal resources through the administration of the Delaware Coastal Management Program, Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR) and the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program. This includes managing coastal resources through innovative research projects, education and outreach efforts, grant programs and policy development; administering the Coastal Zone Federal Consistency Certification program; providing special area management planning and assistance to state and local governments for local land use planning; conducting special on-the-ground projects related to Delaware’s coastal resources to promote informed decision-making; managing over 6,000 acres in designated size, one of 28 National Estuarine Research Reserves across the country.
Office of Community Services is responsible for supervision of and coordinating compliance with federal, state, local regulations related to environmental and natural resources enforcementwith DNREC's Divisions of Air Quality, Waste & Hazardous Substances, Water, Watershed Stewardship, Fish & Wildlife, and Parks & Recreation. The Office of Community Services also handles the duties of legislative liaison (coordinating with the administration, DNREC, legislators, special interest groups and the public in developing, evaluating and modifying potential new legislation and existing statutes), legislative/constituent response and also ensures an environmental enforcement presence in the community. These duties also include community outreach and education and promoting DNREC's roles and responsibilities in Delaware.
Financial Assistance Branch
The Financial Assistance Branch administers the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, making funding available to municipalities, private organizations, nonprofit organizations and private individuals. The Financial Assistance Branch provides planning, engineering and financial assistance in the form of low-interest loans, as well as grants to eligible applicants that request assistance to promote water quality projects, including all types of nonpoint source, watershed protection, restoration and estuary management projects, as well as more traditional municipal wastewater treatment projects.
Office of Environmental Protection
Division of Air Quality is responsible for protecting the public from harmful effects of air pollution in the outdoor air. The Division continuously monitors air quality, issues daily air quality forecasts and monitors emissions from air pollution sources in the state and oversees emission testing for vehicles. The Division of Air Quality regulates emissions of air contaminants through implementing a construction and operating permitting program for industrial facilities and by establishing standards for other sources such as paints and consumer products. The Division also regulates activities such as open burning and asbestos abatement.
Division of Waste & Hazardous Substances oversees the handling, transferring and storing of solid and hazardous waste by regulating, monitoring, inspecting and enforcing Delaware’s environmental laws and regulations. The Division works to prevent releases of hazardous substances to the environment while also working to ensure that all response agencies in the State receive the training and information they need to respond to releases and environmental emergencies. The Division also manages the Boiler Safety Program, underground and above ground storage tank sites and administers programs to remediate sites contaminated by hazardous substances.
Division of Water monitors, manages and protects Delaware’s ground and surface waters, tidal wetlands and underwater lands; serves as a link to the Delaware Estuary Program, Inland Bays Estuary programs and the Delaware River Basin Commission; provides centralized geographic information system services; and coordinates citizen volunteer monitoring programs. The Division manages the state’s water resources through various regulatory programs; provides technical assistance, laboratory services, and educational services; performs applied research; and administers loans to municipalities and communities for water pollution control projects.
Office of Natural Resources
Division of Fish & Wildlife conserves and manages the fish and wildlife resources of the state, including restoration of habitats; conducts biological surveys and studies of living resources; provides safe and enjoyable fishing, hunting, and boating opportunities to the citizens of Delaware and its visitors; manages over 60,000 acres including wildlife areas, ponds, boating access and other facilities for public use and enjoyment; controls mosquitoes to minimize nuisance and protect against mosquito-transmitted diseases; enforces fish and wildlife conservation and boating safety laws; provides fishing, hunting and boat licensing services; and improves the public’s understanding and interest in fish and wildlife resources through information and outreach programs.
Division of Parks and Recreation protects and maintains 16 state parks and related preserves and greenways totaling more than 25,000 acres. The Division administers the state’s land protection programs, as well as the Greenways program. Parks and Recreation provides safe and enjoyable recreation on its two public golf courses, guarded beaches, full-service marina, campgrounds, trails and freshwater ponds. Programs such as summer camps and Adventure Races promote healthy lifestyles, while Living History programming and Summer Concerts provide educational and cultural opportunities. The Division manages several unique venues for weddings, meetings and special events. Through public and private partnerships, the Division seeks to ensure that the natural, historical and cultural resources entrusted to it are maintained for Delaware’s residents, visitors and future generations.
Division of Watershed Stewardship manages and protects the state’s soil, water and coastlines with a comprehensive array of watershed programs to ensure proper stewardship of Delaware's natural resources. These programs protect and maintain the state's shoreline and navigable waterways; regulate changes to coastal and urban lands; develop and implement innovative watershed assessment, monitoring and implementation activities; promote wise land use and water management practices, while maintaining a strong local agricultural interest, protecting urban communities and providing for public safety.
DNREC website: www.dnrec.delaware.gov