Responsible stewardship of our state's natural resources is a team effort. It includes all employees throughout the state park system as well its many visitors. The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) within the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) consists of dedicated employees that have training and experience in environmental science, natural resource protection, and environmental impact analysis.
EMB, as part of the State Parks team, assists other agency staff and the public in responsible stewardship of natural resources. The bureau assists in protecting outdoor resources such as water and land; plants and animals; the environmental health and safety of patrons and employees; and in ensuring compliance with environmental laws and regulations.
State Parks are an excellent resource for conducting scientific research. To conduct research in state parks, please complete the application for the Scientific Research Permitting System.
The work of the EMB is performed in three general program areas: natural resource stewardship, environmental compliance and environmental health.
EMB provides recommendations on natural resource conservation in state parks, including the protection of threatened or endangered species, bird conservation, and invasive species control. The bureau coordinates the Bird Conservation and Natural Heritage Areas programs within the agency and works closely with staff from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and the New York Department of State (DOS). EMB also works with other resource protection organizations to develop invasive species management protocols and natural resource management strategies. It seeks ways to advance agency initiatives in a manner that ensures adequate protection of environmental resources. EMB provides natural history and interpretive information to assist in the development of environmental education programs offered through state parks, historic sites, nature centers, visitor centers and museums.
Six staff from the Environmental Management Bureau's Water Quality Unit attended the North American Lake Management Society Symposium in Saratoga Springs. Staff presented four posters regarding work they have recently conducted and were able to meet and network with lake management experts from all over the United States and Canada.
Sponsored by the US EPA and the NYS DEC, the NEAEB Conference held in Lake Placid, NY in April 2013 provided an opportunity for State Park Staff to share current research and receive feedback on state park natural resources and pressing environmental conservation and stewardship activities. For more information on the conference including the abstract summary please go to http://www.epa.gov/region1/neaeb2013/. For more information on the topics presented please contact the Environmental Management Bureau, 518-474-0409
The Northeast Natural History Conference (NENHC) held in Albany in April, 2011 provided an opportunity for State Parks to highlight our resources and initiatives in a special session entitled "Science and Stewardship in NY State Parks". With the assistance of our former visiting scientist George Robinson from SUNY Albany, this session looked at biodiversity conservation at state parks with presentations on management and conservation. Additional presentations on state park resources and efforts were provided in other oral presentations sessions and poster sessions. Presentations and posters on State Parks at the NENHC are provided here.
Sustainable Development: "Practical Solutions to Real World Problems". He highlighted a successful, collaborative project at NYS Parks Coxsackie Boat Launch (Coxsackie, NY) which utilized natural and environmentally friendly techniques to improve and reduce shoreline erosion to protect the sites parking area.
In November 2012 the scientific Natural Areas Journal, published an article that resulted from collaboration with State Park Visiting Scientist, Dr. George Robinson from SUNY Albany. The paper explains the stewardship potential of State Parks and how important they are for biodiversity conservation (Robinson, George R. 2012. Assessing the Conservation Significance of a State Park System, New York, USA. Natural Areas Journal. 32(4):412–419).
EMB coordinates procedural and substantive compliance with various environmental law, such as the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) and the State Agency Environmental Audit. An important component of the planning process within OPRHP is environmental review. For all projects, the agency must make a determination of the significance of the environmental impacts of a project. The bureau leads oversight of the preparation of any agency environmental impact statements or assessments and in coordinating public participation within the environmental review process. As a part of the State Agency Environmental Audit, OPRHP submits an annual report to DEC that assesses the impact of park operations.
Water quality in state parks is also an important part of OPRHP's commitment to the public. State parks provide drinking water to park patrons and offer many swimming opportunities at bathing beaches and pools. Good water quality is essential to these services. EMB coordinates the agency's bathing beach and pool monitoring programs and serves as a liaison with the New York State Department of Health (DOH) on safe drinking water monitoring. Results from monitoring are used to protect public health and safety, as well as environmental quality.
In 2013 Commissioner Rose Harvey presented EMB’s Water Quality Team with a Distinguished Service Award for their extraordinary team accomplishment and dedicated professional service in working to protect NYS Parks streams, lakes and bathing beaches. Congratulations to the Water Quality Team! For more information about the Water Quality Team’s work in NYS Parks please contact the Environmental Management Bureau (518)474-0409
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation
Albany, New York 12238
Phone: (518) 474-0409
Fax: (518) 474-7013