Our mission: The Department of Natural Resources' mission is to develop, conserve and maximize the use of Alaska's natural resources consistent with the public interest.
What we do: The Department of Natural Resources manages all state-owned land, water and natural resources, except for fish and game, on behalf of the people of Alaska. When all land conveyances from the federal government are completed, the people of the state will own land and resources on 104 million acres: Approximately 100 million acres have been conveyed so far. The state owns approximately 60 million acres of tidelands, shorelands, and submerged lands and manages 40,000 miles of coastline. The state also owns the freshwater resources of the state, a resource that equals about 40% of the entire nation's fresh water flow.
How we are organized: The department is currently organized into seven divisions that reflect its major programs: Agriculture, Forestry, Geological & Geophysical Surveys, Mining, Land & Water, Oil & Gas, Parks and Outdoor Recreation, and Support Services.
The Division of Agriculture offers land for agricultural development and works with local producers to promote and support Alaska's agricultural industry through financing for farmers and processors, plant material development, conservation education, marketing assistance, inspection and farm product certification.
The Division of Forestry manages over two million acres of dedicated State Forests in the Tanana Valley and near Haines for multiple use and sustained yield; protects 134 million acres - over twice the size of Washington State - with its highly trained wildfire suppression organization; and administers Forest Health, Forest Stewardship, Community Forestry and Conservation Education programs.
The Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys (DGGS) generates, analyzes and interprets data on geologic resources and natural conditions; maps and inventories mineral and energy resources on state land for use by government, private industry, scientists, educators and the public.
The Division of Mining, Land & Water is the primary manager of Alaska's land holdings. Responsibilities include ensuring the state's title; preparing land-use plans and easement atlases; classifying land; leasing and permitting state land for recreation, commercial and industrial uses and coordinating and overseeing the needed authorizations for major development on the North Slope. It also manages 2.5 million acres in Public Use and Recreational River Systems and is responsible for land sales and conveyances to municipalities.
The division also manages mineral (excluding oil & gas, coalbed methane and geothermal energy) and water resources. It manages state mineral exploration, development and leasing programs on the 96 million acres of state lands available for mineral exploration and mining and administers state's Surface Coal Mining control and Reclamation Program. The division allocates and manages the state's water resources on all lands in Alaska, adjudicates water rights, provides technical hydrologic support, and assures dam safety.
The Division of Oil and Gas develops and manages the state's oil and gas leasing programs. The Oil & Gas division staff identifies prospective lease areas; performs geologic, economic, environmental and social analyses, develops a five-year leasing schedule, and conducts public review of proposed sales. The division conducts competitive oil and gas lease sales and monitors collection of all funds resulting from its programs. It is also responsible for the development of the state's geothermal and coalbed methane resources.
The Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation provides outdoor recreation opportunities, protects and interprets areas of natural and cultural significance, and supports the state's tourism industry. Park units range in size and character from the half-acre Potter Section House State Historic Site to the 1.6 million wild acres of Wood-Tikchik State Park. The Office of History and Archaeology, the State Historical Preservation Office, the Office of Boating Safety and the Alaska Trails Program are within this division.
The Support Services Division provides administrative, financial, human resources and computer support for department personnel and facilities throughout the state. Its Land Administration System, status plats, and award-winning Geographic Information Systems mapping are the mainstay of both public and private managers and users of state land and resources. It also serves the public and private sectors through the Recorder's Office, which administers the statewide recording system and the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) Central File.
The Commissioner's Office oversees DNR divisions and a number of offices, including the Mental Health Trust Land Office, which manages the Mental Health Trust's land and resources assets; the Office of Project Management & Permitting, which coordinates the review of larger scale projects in the state; and the Public Information Center, which offers "one-stop shopping" for the department's programs and services.