Question: Does the New York State Department of Conservation have a formal responsibility to assist CACs and CBs in the performance of their work?
Answer: Surprisingly, yes! All this goes back to the enabling legislation that allowed municipalities to establish Conservation Advisory Commissions (CACs) and Conservation Boards (CBs) pursuant to New York State General Municipal Law Article 12-F, Section 239-x and Section 239-y. Go to this link to see these sections: Section 239-x Section 239-y
Section 239-x, para. 6 states (regarding CACs):
“To assist a council in carrying out its functions, powers and duties, it may request the department of environmental conservation to:
(a) prepare reports outlining objectives, priorities and proposed relationships of the council to the local legislative body;
(b) prepare description of work to be undertaken, advantageous techniques to be used and suggested roles of council members;
(c) provide research on conservation facts and procedures;
(d) provide, on a consulting basis, technical and research assistance as may be required to assist the council in carrying out its work and to enable the council to offer recommendations to the local legislative body;
(e) describe particular areas of natural resources within the city, town or village, as the case may be, which require particular attention by the council.”
Section 239-y, para. 4 states (regarding CBs):
“In addition to the foregoing a conservation board may:
a. Exercise any of the functions and responsibilities heretofore granted to conservation advisory councils;
- Request the assistance of the department of environmental conservation in the preparation of any report.
In seeking assistance, your CAC or CB should start with the DEC regional headquarters that your group is located in.
Either go to this link (Map of all DEC Offices – NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation) to see a map showing each DEC region, their regional headquarters and their regional sub-office, or use the map below. At the state level, you can contact John Petronella (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further information.