skip to main content | skip to footer
N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Guest - History of DENR

Guest

Web Content Display Web Content Display
  • Secretary's Office - (919) 707-8600
  • John. E. Skvarla, III, Secretary - (919) 707-8600
    • Alice MIller, Assistant - (919) 707-8625
  • Donald van der Vaart, Deputy Secretary - (919) 707-8475
  • John C. Evans, General Counsel - (919) 707-8474
  • Mitch Gillespie, Assist. Sec. for Environment - (919) 707-8619
    • Cindy Hobbs, Assistant - (919) 707-8643
  • Brad Ives, Assist. Sec. for Natural Resources - (919) 707-8620
    • Cindy Hobbs, Assistant - (919) 707-8643
  • , Ombudsman - (919) 707-8623
  • , Communications Director - (919) 707-8626
  • , Director of Legislative Affairs - (919) 707-8618
    • Caroline Daly, Assistant - (919) 707-8642
  • , Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs - (919) 707-8310
  • , 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 DENR

A Short History of the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Steady growth in park attendance, and a corresponding need for more appropriations to serve that growth, surfaced in the early 1960s and continues today. The 1963 State Natural Areas Act guaranteed that future generations will have pockets of unspoiled nature to enjoy. The 1965 Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund required the state to have a viable plan for park growth.

The General Assembly pumped new financial life into the state park system with major appropriations in the 1970s for parkland acquisition and operations. By the mid-1980s, visitation at state parks had risen to six million visitors per year. Facilities were taxed to the limit and a new era of parks expansion and improvements was beginning.

In the 1960s, the need to protect fragile natural resources was evident on several fronts. The Division of Geodetic Survey began in 1959; the Dam Safety Act was passed by the General Assembly in 1967; and North Carolina became the first state to gain federal approval of its Coastal Management Program with the 1974 passing of the Coastal Area Management Act. By the early 1970s, the state’s involvement in natural resource and community lifestyle protection bore little resemblance to the limited structure of state organizations of the late 1800s.

The Executive Organization Act of 1971 placed most of the environmental functions under the Department of Natural and Economic Resources. The act transferred 18 different agencies, boards and commissions to the department, including the functions of the old Department of Conservation and Development. As some of the titles changed and some of the duties of the earlier agencies were combined or shifted, the stage was set for the 1977 Executive Order that created the Department of Natural Resources and Community Development. That brought together not only the growing community development programs, but pulled the always popular North Carolina Zoological Park (created in 1969 and expanded continuously since) and the Wildlife Resources Commission under the Natural Resources and Community Development umbrella.

Pages: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  

Secretaries of Environment and Natural Resources1

NameResidenceTerm
Roy G. Sowers2Lee1971
Charles W. Bradshaw, Jr.3Wake1971-1973
James E. Harrington4Avery1973-1976
George W. Little5Wake1976-1977
Howard N. Lee6Orange1977-1981
Joseph W. Grimsley7Wake1981-1983
James A. Summer8Rowan1984-1985
S. Thomas Rhodes9New Hanover1985-1988
William W. Cobey, Jr.10Orange1989-1993
Jonathan B. HowesOrange1993-1997
Wayne McDevitt11Madison1997-1999
Bill Holman12Wake1999-2001
William G. RossOrange2001-2009
Dee A. FreemanWake2009-2013
John E. Skvarla, IIIMoore2013 - present
  1. The Executive Organization Act, passed by the 1971 General Assembly, created the Department of Natural and Economic Resources with provisions for a secretary appointed by the governor. The 1977 General Assembly took further steps in government reorganization, renaming the agency the Department of Natural Resources and Community Development. NRCD was reorganized and renamed by legislative action in the 1989 General Assembly.
  2. Sowers was appointed by Governor Scott and served until his resignation effective November 30, 1971.
  3. Bradshaw was appointed by Governor Scott and served until his resignation in 1973.
  4. Harrington was appointed on January 5, 1973, by Governor Holshouser to replace Bradshaw. He resigned effective February 29, 1976.
  5. Little was appointed on March 1, 1976, by Governor Holshouser to replace Harrington.
  6. Lee was appointed on January 10, 1977, by Governor Hunt to replace Little. He resigned effective July 31, 1981.
  7. Grimsley was appointed on August 1, 1981, to replace Lee. He resigned effective December 31, 1983.
  8. Summers was appointed on January 1, 1984, by Governor Hunt. He resigned effective January 5, 1985.
  9. Rhodes was appointed January 7, 1985, by Governor Martin to replace Grimsley.
  10. Cobey was appointed by Governor Martin in January 1989.
  11. McDevitt was appointed by Governor Hunt in August 1997.
  12. Holman was appointed by Governor Hunt in September 1999.
14 FEEDBACK

Your input is valuable to us. Please send us your feedback.

What type of feedback would you like to send?*

Ask a Question Report a Problem Have a Concern Make a Comment

(If you would like us to respond please include your phone or e-mail.)

Your Question has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Problem has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Concern has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Comment has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

*If you are a DENR employee with an I.T. issue, please submit a DOTS ticket.