Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources


In Pennsylvania, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (“DCNR’) is the state agency that conserves and sustains Pennsylvania’s natural resources for present and future generations’ enjoyment.  The DCNR was established as an administrative department within the executive branch of the government.  The DCNR is headed by the Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources(“Secretary”).  The secretary is appointed by the Governor, subject to the approval of a majority of the members elected to the Senate.

The DCNR has all the powers and duties previously vested in the Department of Environmental Resources to design, construct, improve, maintain, and repair those lands and facilities which it deems necessary or appropriate in the exercise of the powers and duties transferred by the Conservation and Natural Resources Act[i].

The DCNR has the power and duty to assist in the conservation, enhancement, and restoration of the river resources of this state and may make grants and provide technical assistance to local governments and nonprofit organizations for river conservation projects[ii].

The DCNR established a program to provide and promote environmental education related to the conservation, utilization, and preservation of the natural resources. For these purposes, the DCNR may use funds provided by the Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to the act, known as the Environmental Education Act, and any other available funds.  Further, the DCNR has the power and duty to promulgate rules and regulations to protect, manage, and regulate the recreational use of designated whitewater zones, to license whitewater outfitters operating within designated whitewater zones and to establish fees, royalties ,and charges for licenses and for using public lands, waters, and facilities[iii].

The Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council (“council”) was established by the DCNR and consists of the Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources and six members who are appointed by the Governor.  The council includes persons knowledgeable in fields related to the work of the department[iv].

The DCNR also runs a program to provide and promote environmental education related to the conservation, utilization, and preservation of the natural resources of this state.  For these purposes, the DCNR may use funds provided by the Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to the act, known as the Environmental Education Act, and any other available funds.  The amount of funds provided by the Department of Environmental Protection is not less than 25% of the annual receipts of the Environmental Education Fund[v].

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

[i] 71 P.S. § 1340.304.

[ii] 71 P.S. § 1340.307.

[iii] 71 P.S. § 1340.31.

[iv] 71 P.S. § 1340.315.

[v] 71 P.S. § 1340.311.