Department of Natural Resources

Entity: 702
Entity Type: State Government


The Department of Natural Resources combined most, but not all, of the state agencies dealing with conservation, development, and use of Utah's tangible natural resources. It was created in 1967 by the 'Utah Natural Resources Act' through the consolidation of the State Engineer, the Water and Power Board, the Department of Fish and Game and the Fish and Game Commission, the State Land Board, the Park and Recreation Commission, the Board of Forestry and Fire Control, and similar and affiliated agencies. The stated objective of the department is to manage Utah's natural resources in a manner which optimizes economic development and recreation while maintaining balance between development and conservation.

Biography/History Notes

The mission of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is: "To sustain and enhance the quality of life for people today and tomorrow, through the coordinated and balanced stewardship of our natural resources."

Purpose: "To preserve, protect, and develop the natural resources of the state of Utah." (From "Capitol Connections" newsletter, volume 1, issue 6, October 1993, page 4.)

"The department is headed by an executive director who is appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. This executive director may be removed at the will of the governor. He or she is responsible for administering the department and effecting coordination and cooperation among the various boards and divisions included in the department. He also appoints the directors of the various divisions with the concurrence of the board having policy authority for the division and administers federal aid programs with natural resources." (From "State and Local Government in Utah," 1992 ed., page 177.)

"The Department of Natural Resources includes a number of policy boards, an advisory council and the following operating divisions: (1) water rights, (2) water resources, (3) state lands and forestry, (4) oil, gas, and mining, (5) parks and recreation, (6) wildlife resources, and (7) geological survey." (From "State and Local Government in Utah," 1992 ed., p. 177.)?Functions of the Division of Energy were divided in 1993. The Office of Energy and Resource Planning, which remains in the Department of Natural Resources, retained programs related to utility policy, economic and policy analysis, energy system engineering in state facilities, and renewable energy development. Federal conservation and state alternative fuel programs were placed within the Division of Community Development of the Department of Community and Economic Development.