Washington State Department of Natural Resources

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The Washington State Department of Natural Resources is a state agency led by the elected Commissioner of Public Lands, responsible for managing state owned lands. WDNR has ## employees among 6 upland offices and three aquatic regions, distributed among eleven programs. Their authority ranges from state regulation of Forestry, and management of State Trust Lands, State Forests, Community Forests and 58 Natural Resource Preserves and 39 Natural Resource and Conservation Areas to management of access of State Owned Aquatic Lands (Overlapping with Shoreline Management. DNR also regulates Mining. They are the state agency that manages Wildfire. Their land management mission overlaps with WDFW and State Parks as well as Federal Land Owners.



  • The elected Commissioner of Public Lands is the executive of DNR, the agency is relatively independent of the executive authority of Washington State Office of the Governor. Because the Commissioner of Public Lands is a state-wide elected office, and so often serves as a stepping stone for political aspirants.


Some important programs for ecosystem management include:

  • Aquatic Lands Habitat Conservation Program - which develops protective standards for the use of state-owned lands.
  • Natural Heritage Program - which studies and tracks rare vegetation
  • Natural Areas Program - which manages a set of state owned preserves.
  • Creosote Removal Program - which removes creosote soaked pilings and logs from River Deltas, Beaches and Embayments. DNR also has project management capacity. The presence of a state lease which requires lessee removal of structures can limit DNR's ability to remove programs.
  • Forest Practices - which regulates commercial forest harvest. WDFW often provides and advisory role. The program operates under a Habitat Conservation Plan under the Endangered Species Act.
  • Aquatics.