Department of Natural Resources
Carol S. Comer,
The Department of Natural Resources is composed of the Office of the Director, Water Resources, Soil and Water Conservation Program and five programmatic divisions. The five divisions include Administrative Support, Energy, Environmental Quality, State Parks and Missouri Geological Survey.
The Office of the Director is the central management unit within the Department of Natural Resources. Responsibilities include coordinating, developing, and implementing the department’s strategic planning efforts, policy research, legislative initiatives and employee relations activities of the department. The Director’s Office is responsible for providing overall direction for the department.
Water Resources Center
The Water Resources Center provides information for Missouri’s comprehensive water needs by examining both surface and groundwater use and availability. Hydrologists and engineers perform complex analyses to determine the benefits or adverse impact of interstate river operations and resultant water quantity impacts for the state of Missouri. Staff provides analytical support on legal challenges and are involved in negotiations with other states on water quantity issues. Staff monitors and provides technical assistance regarding drought and flood conditions, prepare lake capacity and future water supply studies and utilize data from surface and groundwater monitoring equipment to provide water quantity evaluations. The Water Resources Center staff continues to provide guidance and technical expertise for planning and development of regional water supply projects throughout Missouri. The Water Resources Center also administers the provisions of the Missouri Dam and Reservoir Safety Law. The department regulates nonfederal, nonagricultural dams 35 feet and higher through inspections, registration and issuance of construction permits.
The Water Resources Center includes Water Pollution Control Branch activities implemented by state laws, regulations and policies developed by the Clean Water Commission to maintain and improve water quality. The program also includes the Public Drinking Water Branch which strives to ensure the public receives drinking water free from harmful levels of contaminants and serves the Safe Drinking Water Commission. Operator Certification provides training approval and certification information for drinking water and wastewater system operators, including concentrated animal feeding operations. The branch includes the Wellhead Protection Section, which regulates the construction of private water wells, irrigation wells, monitoring wells and heat pump wells and how to properly plug all types of wells. Low-interest loans are provided through the Financial Assistance Center for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan programs to communities to assist them in financing the upgrade of their water pollution and drinking water facilities.
Soil and Water Conservation Program
The Soil and Water Conservation Program implements the policies of the Soil and Water Districts Commission. Services are provided through the program and local soil and water districts throughout the State of Missouri. In addition, grants and loans are provided to landowners for land practices that reduce soil erosion in the State of Missouri. The Soil and Water Conservation Program administers voluntary programs developed by the Soil and Water Districts Commission and funded by the Soil and Water Sales Tax to conserve Missouri’s soil and water resources for agricultural production. Staff assists the 114 soil and water conservation districts throughout the state in the reduction of agricultural erosion and sediment runoff to maintain the land’s agricultural productivity.
Division of Administrative Support
The Division of Administrative Support includes the functions of budget development, financial resource allocations, internal audit, accounting, human resources, procurement, grants management and general services.
Division of Environmental Quality
The Division of Environmental Quality oversees the state’s environmental programs and regional and satellite offices to ensure clean air, land and water by cleaning up pollution from the past, addressing pollution problems of today and identifying potential pollution issues of the future. The programs include: Air Pollution, Environmental Services, Hazardous Waste, Land Reclamation, Solid Waste Management and Water Protection. The regional offices are located in Kansas City, Macon, Poplar Bluff, Springfield and St. Louis.
Environmental Services Program
The Environmental Services Program supports the other programs in the department that need accurate scientific data for their work. To obtain these data, the Environmental Services Program performs field work, conducts monitoring, collects samples and provides laboratory testing for environmental pollutants. The program responds to environmental emergencies, cleanups of controlled substances (primarily wastes associated with methamphetamine production), and manages the Clandestine Drug Lab Collection Station Program.
Air Pollution Control Program
The Air Pollution Control Program provides staff support to the Air Conservation Commission which is responsible for developing policies to maintain and enhance the state’s air quality. The program works closely with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement the Clean Air Act. The program researches, develops and implements control strategies that help Missouri improve and maintain healthy air quality. The program also issues construction and operating permits for installations that emit air pollution; selects locations for air monitoring equipment and analyzes data collected from these monitors, and works with general public, stakeholders and the regulated public to comply with local, state and federal air quality regulations.
Hazardous Waste Program
State law requires oversight of hazardous waste practices from the point of generation through final disposal. This activity is managed through the Hazardous Waste Program. Hazardous waste generators are required to register with the Hazardous Waste Program and the movement of waste is tracked through a manifest and quarterly reporting system. In addition to regulating the management of current hazardous waste production the program is also responsible for the clean up of hazardous waste sites that have been abandoned. Efforts are undertaken to identify responsible parties to recover the costs of the cleanup.
Land Reclamation Program
The Land Reclamation Program provides staff support and technical assistance to the Land Reclamation Commission. Undertaking remedial clean up of abandoned mining operations is a primary function of the Land Reclamation Program. In addition, the program is responsible for assuring the permitting and regulation of existing mining operations in the State of Missouri to ensure mining operations are managed in an environmentally responsible manner.
Solid Waste Management Program
Protecting public health and the environment by requiring proper management of solid waste is the responsibility of the Solid Waste Management Program. Grants are also provided by this program to assist the local solid waste districts and other parties in reducing the waste stream of Missouri. Funds are also provided through the solid waste program for the clean up of abandoned waste tires sites.
Division of State Parks
The Division of State Parks manages the many recreational, cultural, and historical resources of the Missouri state park system. State Parks also administers programs to promote outdoor recreation statewide. These activities are accomplished through grant programs. The mission of the Division of State Parks is to preserve and interpret the state’s most outstanding natural features; to preserve and interpret the state’s most outstanding cultural landmarks; and to provide compatible recreational opportunities in these areas. The division manages 85 state parks and historical sites plus the Roger Pryor Pioneer Backcountry. These state parks and historic sites are scattered throughout the state, each containing unique and diverse natural and cultural resources. The park system also includes five district offices, and five support programs.
Missouri Geological Survey
The Missouri Geological Survey’s mission is to investigate the state’s geology and apply technical knowledge to environmental decisions; to determine the character and availability of the state’s energy and mineral resources; to restore and maintain the original land survey monuments and maintain a repository of land survey records.
Environmental Improvement and Energy Resources Authority
The Environmental Improvement and Energy Resources Authority, under Chapter 260, RSMo is an independent, self-supporting, quasi-governmental agency assigned to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
Due to the special independent status as “a body corporate and politic,” the authority is able to issue tax-exempt bonds and utilize fees charged for issuance of its bonds and notes. The authority is empowered to conduct environmental and energy research and development activities, develop alternative methods of financing environmental and energy projects, and assist Missouri communities, organizations, and businesses in obtaining low-cost funds and other financial assistance for projects related to the authority purpose.