North Carolina Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources

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North Carolina Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources
General information
Office Type:  Nonpartisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013 FY Budget:  $283,460,303
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   Serves at the pleasure of the governor
Authority:  Executive Organization Act of 1971
Selection Method:  Appointed by Governor
Current Officeholder

Donald van der Vaart.jpg
Name:  Donald van der Vaart
Assumed office:  January 1, 2015
Compensation:  $128,000
Other North Carolina Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerPublic Service Commission
The North Carolina Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources is an appointed executive position in the North Carolina state government.

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Donald van der Vaart. He was appointed by Governor Pat McCrory (R) and took office on January 1, 2015. He previously served as the department's deputy secretary and energy policy advisor.[1]


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources was not established, in spirit, until the passage of the Executive Organization Act of 1971. The act created a Department of Natural and Economic Resources, consolidating the environmental functions that had, until that time, been under the authority of: the Division of Geodetic Survey, the Wildlife Resources Commission, the Department and Board of Water Resources, the Division of Forest Resources, the Department of Water and Air Resources and the State Stream Sanitation Committee, among others.


There are no specific qualifications for this office.


The Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources is appointed by, and serves at the pleasure of, the Governor of North Carolina.


In the event of a vacancy in the office, the governor appoints an acting staff officer to perform the duties of the office until a new appointee is confirmed.


See Energy policy in North Carolina for information on the state's energy portfolio and goals.
North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources building in Raleigh.

The department is responsible for the preservation and protection of North Carolina's natural resources.

  • administers regulatory programs to protect air quality, water quality, and public health
  • offers technical assistance to businesses, farmers, local governments, and the public
  • provides educational programming to foster stewardship
  • protects fish, wildlife, and wildlife areas
Click here to view a larger-scale image of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources Organizational Chart as of August 2012.


The department has eight divisions that handle the administration, budgeting, human resources, information technology, and purchasing aspects of the department, but the bulk of the main mission is accomplished through the work of 13 non-administrative divisions:

  • The Division of Air Quality works to protect and improve outdoor air quality in North Carolina. The staff monitor air quality, conduct inspections, issue permits, develop air quality improvement plans, and promote public education and awareness.
  • The Division of Coastal Management protects and manages the state's coastal resources and is responsible for permitting, land-use planning, public beach access, and state coastal reserves.
  • The Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach combines the Customer Service Center and the Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance, providing information about the state's natural resources and ways in which North Carolina residents can reduce the amount of waste they produce.
  • The Division of Environmental Education and Public Affairs works to encourage environmental literacy and stewardship by providing environmental education programs, facilities, and resources across the state.
  • The Division of Land Resources protects the state's land and geologic resources through mining, dam safety, and sedimentation control programs, mapping and boundary determination, and public education. There are three sections within this division: land quality, geological survey, and geodetic survey.
  • The Division of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs serves as a liaison between the state government and legislative units, working with members of the general assembly on environmental issues. This division also prepares the department's periodic reports to the legislature.
  • The Division of Marine Fisheries manages the state's marine and estuarine fisheries and habitats.
  • The Division of Conservation, Planning, and Community Affairs implements a statewide plan for the conservation of natural resources. In addition to direct conservation work, the members of this division coordinate the efforts of conservation agencies and organizations, guide land planning, develop climate change strategies, protect and restore coastal habitats, and foster stewardship of working farms and forests.
  • The Division of Parks and Recreation manages the state parks system, conserves and protects the natural resources within the parks, provides recreational resources, and provides educational programming to promote stewardship.
  • The Division of Waste Management oversees the management of solid waste, hazardous waste, and underground storage tanks.
  • The Division of Water Quality regulates statewide programs in surface water and groundwater protection by monitoring water quality, issuing permits, and encouraging responsible management practices.
  • The Division of Water Resources manages river basin management, water supply assistance, water conservation, and water resources development programs.

The department also operates the North Carolina Zoo, the Museum of Natural Sciences, and three Aquariums.

State budget

See also: North Carolina state budget and finances

The budget for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Fiscal Year 2013 was $283,460,303.[2]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers


In 2014, the secretary received a salary of $128,000, according to the Council of State Governments.[3]


Upon taking office, Gov. Pat McCrory (R) raised the salaries of his cabinet members. The Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources' salary increased to $128,000.[4]


In 2012, the secretary was paid an estimated $120,363. This figure came from the Council of State Governments.


In 2010, the North Carolina Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources was paid an estimated $120,363 according to the Council of State Governments.[5]

Historical officeholders

Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for chronological lists of historical officeholders. That information for the North Carolina Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources has not yet been added because the information was unavailable on the relevant state official websites, or we are currently in the process of formatting the list for this office. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms "North Carolina Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources."

Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google's news search engine.

North Carolina Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources - Google News Feed

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Contact information

North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources
North Carolina

1601 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1601

Phone: 877-623-6748
Fax: 919-715-3060

Department email and phone number directory

See also

External links

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