Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Department overview
Formed 1921
Headquarters Mason Building, Sixth Floor
P.O. Box 30028
Lansing, MI
Employees 1,450 Permanent
1,200 seasonal
Annual budget $307.4 million (2010) [1]
Department executive Rodney Stokes, Director

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the agency of the state of Michigan charged with maintaining natural resources such as state parks, state forests, and recreation areas. It is governed by a director appointed by the Governor and accepted by the Natural Resources Commission. Currently the Director is Rodney Stokes.



In 2009, Governor Jennifer Granholm moved to merge the Department back into the Department of Environmental Quality and appoint the reunited department's director instead of the Natural Resources Commission. The state merged the two agencies together to form the Department of Natural Resources and Environment. [2] In 2010, however, Governor elect Rick Snyder has named Rodney Stokes as the new DNR director, and has chosen to divide the DNRE into the original designations of Natural Resource Commission and the DNR divisions. Rodney Stokes says his first priority is to reverse the decline of hunting in Michigan, by eliminating the extended seasons, reducing the amount of antlerless licenses in Northern Michigan, improving habitat and removing license requirements for coyote and wolf.[3]

On January 4, 2011, Governor Rick Snyder issued Executive Order 2011-1, which eliminates the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) and creates the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).[4]

Mission statement

"The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the State's natural resources for current and future generations." [1]


The DNR is funded by the state general fund revenues, federal funds and a variety of restricted funds. Federal funding consists mainly of special purpose categorical grants from various Federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Restricted funding is generated from licenses, user fees and other charges. These funds support programs for wildlife and fisheries programs, operation of Michigan state parks, harbor development, marine safety enforcement and education, snowmobile and off-road vehicle (ORV) trail repair and development, and operation of Michigan's 150 state forest campgrounds. Restricted revenues, which by statute can only be used to support related programs, are generated from hunting and fishing license, state park entrance and camping fees, two percent of the gas tax, snowmobile registration and snowmobile trail and ORV permits and forest camping fees.

Norway location

Commissions & Boards

Natural Resources Commission

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) is a seven-member public body whose members are appointed by the Governor to a term of four-years and subject to the advice and consent of the Michigan Senate. The NRC conducts monthly, public meetings in locations throughout Michigan. Citizens are encouraged to become actively involved in these public forums. The NRC establishes general policies for the Department of Natural Resources and hires the Department's Director. Voter adoption of Proposal G in November 1996, vests exclusive authority in the Natural Resources Commission to regulate the taking of game.[2]

Waterways Commission

The Michigan State Waterways Commission is responsible for the acquisition, construction, and maintenance of recreational harbors, channels, docking and launching facilities, and administration of commercial docks in the Straits of Mackinac. Commission members are appointed by the Governor, with the advise and consent of the Michigan Senate, to serve three-year terms. Upon expiration of a term, a member may continue to serve until re-appointed or a successor is appointed.

Current Board Members

Bryan Amann
Term Expires: September 18, 2008
Denny Bailey
Term Expires: September 18, 2010
Bob Brown
Term Expires: September 18, 2008
Michael Bryanton
Term Expires: September 18, 2010
Curtis A. Hertel
Term Expires: September 18, 2009
Janet Mansfield
Term Expires: September 18, 2009
Carol B. Oakley
Term Expires: September 18, 2009

Natural Resources Trust Fund Board

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) has been in place since 1976 and provides financial assistance to local governments and the Department of Natural Resources to purchase land or rights in land for public recreation.[3] It also assists in the appropriate development of land for public outdoor recreation. The MNRTF is supported by annual revenues from the development of State-owned mineral resources, largely oil and gas. The program is administered by the MNRTF Board of Trusteesand the Grants Management office of the DNR. The MNRTF Board of Trustees meets six times a year and all meetings are open to the public. MNRTF projects provide for natural resource protection and outdoor recreation. [4]

Current Board Members

Ms. Lana B. Pollack
From Ann Arbor
Term expiring October 1, 2007 Mr. Bob Garner (Chair)
From Cadillac
Term expiring October 1, 2009 Mr. Keith Charters
From Traverse City, representing the Natural Resources Commission Mr. Sam Washington
From Bloomfield Hills
Term expiring October 1, 2010 Mr. Frank Torre
From Pontiac
Term expiring October 1, 2008

Mackinac Island State Park Commission



The Fisheries Division works to preserve and enhance Michigan's fish populations, as well as other forms of aquatic life. This is done through monitoring and studying by biologists. There are more than 20 fish species reared and hatched at six state hatcheries located throughout the state with the sole purpose of maintaining or improving fish populations.

Forest Management Division (FMD)

The Forest Management Division administers 6,300,000 acres (25,000 km2) of mineral estate ownership and leasing rights to explore for oil, gas and other minerals on state-owned lands which contributes nearly $20–$30 million each year in royalties to the Natural Resources Trust Fund. Furthermore, the FM division maintains statewide aerial photographs in color infra-red and black and white formats, and provides detailed computerized map information for land utilization, management and resource protection. In the field, the division is responsible for the management of all aspects of the state forests including: grooming snowmobile trails and, upkeep of rustic campgrounds and recreational areas. The FM Division also manages the use of forests for timber production, new tree growth, and wildlife habitat. The FM Division mainly consists of Foresters who regularly examine trees, plants and soil characteristics to determine the best management practices to keep the forests healthy and Fire Officers which protect both public and private lands from wildfires.

Law Enforcement

Michigan Conservation Officers, often referred to as "CO's", are fully commissioned peace officers that are employed by the DNR and are empowered to enforce all laws of the state of Michigan, with emphasis on marine patrol and border safety issues. CO's have full police powers in the state of Michigan and can issue a ticket for traffic offenses as well as for poaching. COs also work with other state, federal and local law-enforcement agencies to enforce a wide range of statutes and assist in undercover investigations, fire prevention and emergency search, rescue and recovery operations. Conservation Officers are often the first person to locate lost hunters and provide emergency medical assistance to those in need. They also play an important role in the department's educational public outreach efforts with organizations and clubs, community groups and schools. Conservation Officers frequently help establish and serve as instructors of recreational safety programs for hunters, boaters and operators of recreational vehicles.


Recently, the DNR has been under intense scrutiny for its extended deer seasons, youth hunts and issuance of several antlerless tags in northern Michigan, where deer sightings are few and non-existant in many places. [5] The Wildlife Division manages and protects nearly 400 species of game and nongame birds, mammals and their habitats, along with over 70 state game and wildlife areas. Recommendations on hunting regulations, habitat management, public hunting access are made by Wildlife Biologists who also help protect more than 340 threatened and endangered plant and animal species. Michigan's high number of registered hunters contribute $2 billion annually to Michigan's economy, excluding license fees. Through the sale of specialty license plates and donations, the Wildlife Division contributes to the Nongame Wildlife Fund which supports Natural Heritage research, education and habitat restoration projects to identify, protect, manage and restore native plant and animal species.

Parks and Recreation

The Michigan Parks and Recreation Division manages all 97 state parks and recreation areas, 829 developed boating access sites, 10 lighthouses, 16 harbors and six scenic sites. State park lands help to protect and preserve the biological and historical diversity of Michigan. More than 200 rare species of plants and animals are located on park lands. The Parks & Recreation Division is a self-supporting system which means management of the lands are supported by user fees such as: motor vehicle permits, camping fees, boat registrations, harbor slip rentals and marine fuel sales. The generous support of volunteers like campground hosts, helps to maintain these recreation facilities for all to enjoy. The Parks & Recreation Division consists primarily of Seasonal Park Rangers or Managers who perform all maintenance and law enforcement within each park.

Land and Facilities

The Land and Facilities Division assists with the overall administration of approximately 4,500,000 acres (18,000 km2) of publicly owned lands, 25,000,000 acres (100,000 km2) of Great Lakes bottomlands and 130,000 platted lots under the jurisdiction of the DNR. This includes land ownership records on all department land transactions, activities related to the acquisition and disposition of land or rights in land, and resolves title and boundary issues. Land and Facilities Division also deals with and department purchases, gifts, exchanges, sales, and easement transactions. This division also provides design and construction services for the department and provides administrative and facility operational support to program staff located at DNR Operations Service Centers and other field offices.


The importance of utilizing customer-friendly service technologies, sound accounting principles and best business practices, proper contract administration and educational outreach efforts in the management of Michigan's natural resources cannot be overstated. DNR's Financial Services; Budget and Support Services; Grants, Contracts and Customer Systems; Program Assistance and Review; and Human Resources, all play vital roles in supporting the department's conservation mission.

DNR Law Academies & Orientation

Annually the DNR will hold two law academies focused on training new officers. The first academy is for all newly hired Michigan Conservation Officers and consists of training in Precision Driving, Legal Issues, Watercraft, Search & Seizure, Snowmobiles, Survival Tactics, Off Road Vehicles, Use of Force, Firearms, Communication, Writing, Organization, Public Relations, Forensics, and Technology. The academy has strict Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) physical standards that each recruit must meet, and lasts 22 weeks. The second academy is for all newly hired Park Rangers and consists of mainly a classroom setting where each ranger becomes familiar with the laws governing the state parks. Additional emphasis is placed on survival tactics, report writing, handing abnormal people/complaints, and issuing appearance tickets. Michigan State Park Rangers DO NOT carry a firearm and there are minimal physical standards that recruits must meet. The duration of the academy is 7 weeks.

Every month the DNR holds a New Employee Orientation (NEO) in Lansing. The two day seminar is designed to familiarize new employees with DNR work policies and networking opportunities.

Links & Resources


  1. ^ The 2010 Michigan State Budget
  2. ^ "Metro briefs: Granholm merger plan voted down". Detroit News (Detroit, Michigan). November 13, 2009. http://www.detnews.com/article/20091113/METRO/911130369/1409/METRO. Retrieved 2009-11-25. 
  3. ^ http://www.mucc.org/index.php/hot-button/comments/governor-elect_snyder_re-splits_dnre_taps_dnr_veteran_rodney_stokes_as_dire
  4. ^ State of Michigan EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 2011-1

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