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Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources

The Virginia Museum of Natural History is an agency of the Secretary of Natural Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Secretary of Natural Resources advises the Governor on natural resources issues and works to advance the Governor's top environmental priorities. The Secretary oversees six agencies that protect and restore the Commonwealth's natural and historic resources. The Secretary's office and all of the natural resources agencies work together to uphold the provisions of Article XI of the Virginia Constitution.  To learn more about the Secretary of Natural Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia, click here.


Secretary of Natural Resources Initiatives



CHESAPEAKE BAY RESTORATION

The Chesapeake Bay is the world’s greatest estuary and one of our nation’s most significant natural resources.  As a Commonwealth we must ensure that we are responsible stewards of the Bay so that future generations can enjoy this natural treasure as much or more than we can.  The Bay provides recreation for Virginians and visitors, billions of dollars in economic activity, and tremendous numbers of jobs and products.  We are working with all of the other states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, along with the federal government and the District of Columbia, to improve the Bay’s water quality and wildlife. 

Governor McAuliffe was recently named the new chair of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s executive council, and his leadership will be critical as we work to meet the requirements of the recently signed Chesapeake Bay Agreement. 

 

LAND CONSERVATION
The Governor is committed to ensuring that open space and publicly accessible lands are preserved for future generations.  Virginia is a state with wonderful open spaces: rolling hills, mountains, wetlands, coastal plains, farmland, forestland, and many other diverse landscapes.  As our population and our development expands, it’s important that we manage that expansion in a responsible way that protects and preserves the diversity of the Commonwealth’s landscapes.  The Governor is committed to preserving a mixture of culturally significant lands, historic properties, ecologically significant lands, forested and working lands, publicly accessible and private wildlife refuges, in tracts large or small.

In the VMNH Recent Invertebrates Lab, Dr. Kal Ivanov examines the living organisms associated with Virginia soils. Without these animals, new soils for forest and farm alike would not be formed.

 

PROTECTING VIRGINIA'S AIR AND WATER
Governor McAuliffe is committed to ensuring that Virginians have access to healthy air and clean water.  In keeping with that commitment, he works to ensure that Virginia maintains reasonable and business friendly regulations that maintain environmental quality while supporting the growth of industry in the Commonwealth.

 

PRESERVING VIRGINIA'S HISTORY
The Natural Resources Secretariat oversees the Department of Historic Resources and the Virginia Museum of Natural History.  The Governor has made it clear that Virginia’s historic contributions to our nation – the greatest and most significant history in the United States – must be preserved and maintained.  Moreover, that history must be communicated to future generations so that all Virginians can gain a greater understanding of our unique and continuing leadership role in our nation and the world.

One of VMNH’s focal points is archaeology, and we study the history and pre-history of humans in Virginia. Dr. Elizabeth Moore is an expert in animal remains associated with Native American settlements. CLIMATE CHANGE Use photo of Liberty or Haley in collections: VMNH’s 10 million inventoried specimens are a demonstration of change in the Commonwealth’s environment over time. Our oldest biological specimens are from the late 1800s, our oldest archaeological specimens are 15,000 years old, our oldest fossil is 500 million years old, and our oldest geological specimens clock in at over a billion years old.

 

MONUMENTS WORKGROUP
In response to his veto of legislation filed during the 2016 General Assembly session, Governor McAuliffe directed Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward to form a work group with the Department of Historic Resources. This work group facilitated a dialogue and studied best practices regarding how to balance the preservation of history with the legitimate concerns many Virginians have about certain types of monuments and memorials.

 

CLIMATE CHANGE AND RESILIENCY UPDATE COMMISSION
This Commission will evaluate the recommendations made by then-Governor Kaine’s Climate Commission, determine what actions were taken on those recommendations, and issue an updated final report. The Executive Order gives the Commission one year to complete its work.

VMNH’s 10 million inventoried specimens are a demonstration of change in the Commonwealth’s environment over time. Our oldest biological specimens are from the late 1800s, our oldest archaeological specimens are 15,000 years old, our oldest fossil is 500 million years old, and our oldest geological specimens clock in at over a billion years old.

 

Executive Order 52 - Development Of Long-term, Offsetting Methods Within the Virginia Nutrient Credit Exchange Program
The Governor’s Executive order directs the Secretary of Natural Resources, the Secretary of Commerce and Trade and the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry to convene a committee of interested stakeholders to evaluate long term strategies to ensure the availability of nutrient credits and allocations to accommodate population and economic growth within the framework of nutrient caps established for the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

 

Executive Order 57 - Development Of Carbon Reduction Strategies For Electric Power Generation Facilities
Through Executive Order 57, Governor McAuliffe has called on the Secretary of Natural Resources to develop and recommend concrete steps that the Governor may take under existing state authority to reduce carbon pollution from the power sector. The workgroup consists of members of the Governor’s administration and will receive input from a diverse range of stakeholders, including scientists, energy experts, business leaders, and environmental advocates.  The charge is to develop a plan that will both reduce carbon pollution and create more clean energy jobs that will help diversify and grow Virginia’s economy.

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