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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Guest - About DEQ


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  • Secretary's Office - (919) 707-8600
  • Donald R. van der Vaart, Secretary - (919) 707-8600
    • Dorothy Harris, Assistant - (919) 707-8625
  • John C. Evans, Chief Deputy Secretary - (919) 707-8474
  • Sam M. Hayes, General Counsel - (919) 707-8600
    • Page Blackwelder, Assistant - (919) 707-8644
  • Tom Reeder, Assist. Sec. for Environment - (919) 707-8619
    • Caroline Thomas, Assistant - (919) 707-8643
  • , Deputy Secretary for Public Affairs - (919) 707-8624
  • Vacant, Director of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs - (919) 707-8618
    • Caroline Daly, Assistant - (919) 707-8642
  • , Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs - (919) 707-9335
  • Vacant, Chief Information Officer - (919) 707-8917
  • , Chief Financial Officer - (919) 707-8561
  • , Director, Human Resources - (919) 707-8303

  • , Disaster Response Coordinator & Chief, N.C. Geological Survey Section - (919) 707-9211


About DEQ

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is the lead stewardship agency for the preservation and protection of North Carolina's outstanding natural resources.

The organization, which has offices from the mountains to the coast, administers regulatory programs designed to protect air quality, water quality, and the public's health. DENR also offers technical assistance to businesses, farmers, local governments, and the public and encourages responsible behavior with respect to the environment through education programs provided at DENR facilities and through the state's school system. Through its natural resource divisions, DENR works to protect fish, wildlife and wilderness areas. The agency's activities range from helping to make sure drinking water is safe to managing state parks for safe and enjoyable outdoor recreation experiences.

From A (aquariums on the coast) to Z (the N.C. Zoological Park), DENR touches the lives of all North Carolinians and our guests in many ways to enhance and ensure our quality of life.

The department is organized into the Secretary's office and staff, administration, divisions, programs, regional offices, boards, councils and commissions.

You can view and download a PDF of DENR's Organizational Chart here.

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Healthy Environment / Sound Economy

In a perfect world, there would be no need for regulations and controls. Today's pressure on a fragile environment however, demands a sensible program to streamline the permit process and to monitor our water and air resources.

Six of the department's divisions and offices are united under the umbrella of Environmental Protection.

The Division of Water Resources issues permits, monitors permit compliance, evaluates water quality and is the state's enforcement agency for violators of water and groundwater quality regulations. Its technicians and scientists also help publicly-owned and municipal wastewater and water treatment plants through technical aid and financing. The hydrologists and scientists of the division catalogue our water supplies, plan for its future use, carry out extensive water conservation programs, and take any environmental steps necessary to keep our water pure and usable.

The Division of Air Quality regulates the quality of the air in North Carolina through technical assistance to industries and enforcement of state and federal air pollution standards. The division issues permits, establishes ambient air quality standards, monitors the air quality of the state and operates a vehicle inspection/maintenance program. 

Two divisions of the department target the handling and disposal of the growing volume of wastes in North Carolina.The Division of Waste Management regulates the management of hazardous and solid wastes in North Carolina; its Superfund Section evaluates uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. 

Our Coastal Management Division, responsible for the environmental health of 20 coastal counties, works closely with local governments to strengthen the relationship between tourism and the environment. It regulates development, helps plan for future growth, and manages the state's coastal reserves. 

Our Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources guards our state's mineral and land resources through programs to monitor dam safety, to regulate mining and reclaim abandoned mines, to control sediment and erosion, and to survey our land and its resources.


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Stewardship of Natural Resources

The six divisions and offices that support the Goal encourage the preservation of resources and display nature's gifts for the public's enjoyment. Together, they underscore "protection of entire ecosystems" while opening nature to recreation and education about the environment.

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, in conjunction with the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission, governs fishing and shellfishing in coastal waters of the state to ensure a healthy and sustainable marine resource. Its programs include fisheries research, habitat protection and restoration, licensing and statistics, enforcement and public information/education.

From the mountains to the coast, The Division of Parks and Recreation administers a diverse system of state-operated parks, natural areas, trails, lakes, natural and scenic rivers and recreation areas.

One of the state's most ambitious natural resource projects is the NC Zoological Park in Asheboro. It displays representative species of animal and plant life from around the world, offering programs to conserve, preserve and protect endangered and threatened plant and animal species.

The Office of Environmental Education is a clearinghouse for environmental education programs and materials available to North Carolinians. Its programs provide educators, students and the public with teacher training workshops and family educational experiences.

An important stewardship responsibility of DENR is to catalog our marine and aquatic resources, past and present. A growing collection of natural resources in North Carolina and other Southeastern states is on display at the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences.

Three coastal aquariums (at Pine Knoll Shores, Fort Fisher and Roanoke Island) are managed by our North Carolina Aquariums to promote appreciation for the state's ocean, estuaries, rivers, streams and other aquatic environments.

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Efficiency and Effectiveness

Our administrative divisions manage that work under a framework that focuses on the needs of the public served and the needs of those providing the services.

The Controller and the Division of Budget, Planning and Analysis spotlight Efficiency and Effectiveness through professional operations, innovative funding, budget flexibility and new funding partnerships.

Taking care of the space and office needs of more than 4,000 employees is the work of the Division of Purchase and Services. Providing comprehensive personnel administration and human resources management is the focus of the Division of Human Resources.

In today's business world, it's difficult to keep pace with the advances of computers and their ability to simplify and reduce work loads. That task is carried out by the department's Information Technology Services.

Several offices work directly with the department Secretary in support of departmental policies. They are the General Counsel, who provides legal support for the department, and the Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs office that keeps communications open between government and legislative units. The Office of Public Affairs is the link between what the department does and the public, and provides DENR with computer graphics, photography, editorial services and Internet page design.

Working with the department Secretary under its own legislative mandate is the Wildlife Resources Commission, which regulates and guides the preservation and protection of the state's wildlife resources.


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