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Department Overview

Environment and Conservation is a diverse, dynamic department serving our state by:

  • Safeguarding the health and safety of Tennessee citizens from environmental hazards;
  • Protecting and improving the quality of Tennessee's land, air and water;
  • Managing the Tennessee State Parks system.

Read TDEC's Mission Statement.

The department has more than 2,900 employees working across Tennessee. Eighty-one percent of these positions are full-time, and the balance are either part-time or seasonal. Fifty-six percent of department employees work in Tennessee State Parks and conservation activities, while 44 percent work in environmental protection programs and the central office. Learn more about department leadership.

The department’s budget for FY13 is $357 million, reflecting:

  • 58 percent of funding comes from dedicated fees and state parks revenue
  • 22 percent of funding comes from state general fund
  • 20 percent of funding comes from federal source

A wide spectrum of department work supports greater sustainability through core activities that ensure compliance with environmental laws, rules, regulations and mandates. The department also promotes corporate and personal actions beyond baseline requirements and regulations, including outreach, innovations and best management practices.

Environmental Protection

The department is the chief environmental and natural resource regulatory agency in Tennessee. It has delegated responsibility from the U.S. EPA to regulate sources of:

We have eight (8) environmental field offices across the state. We offer a program of grants and loans to assist local communities with the development and maintenance of drinking water and wastewater infrastructure as well as solid waste disposal, waste prevention, plus programs for recycling, parks, greenways and trails. We promote both front-end environmental education and strong, effective enforcement.

Parks and Conservation

The department manages 54 state parks and 83 state natural areas encompassing more than 185,000 acres across Tennessee - ranging from rustic natural and historic sites to resort parks with 6 inns, 8 restaurants, 4 marinas and the 9 golf courses on the Tennessee Golf Trail. There are more than 200 trails that offer almost 1,200 miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding opportunities on public lands. Tennessee State Parks will draw more than 25 million visitors in 2013.

We also provide support and assistance to local governments for local parks and recreation programs. We are also responsible for conserving and promoting the historical, natural and archaeological heritage of Tennessee.