Governor Rick Snyder today signed an executive order splitting the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Quality into two separate departments.
Executive Order 2011-1, the governor's first executive order, creates a Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as separately functioning departments so each is able to better focus on their core mission.
"Michigan is blessed with an abundance of natural resources and we need to be a leader and innovator in protecting these resources," Snyder said. "Recreational fishing, hunting and boating activities alone contribute more than $3 billion annually to our economy. Separating the DEQ and DNR means we can better address these key priorities."
As Snyder previously announced in November, Dan Wyant will serve as director of the DEQ and Rodney Stokes will serve as director of the DNR. Wyant will also oversee the DEQ, DNR and the Department of Agriculture as the Quality of Life group executive.
Wyant previously served as president and chief operating officer of the Edward Lowe Foundation, which promotes entrepreneurship and helps second-stage business owners accelerate growth for their companies. Prior to that, he served as director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture in the administrations of former Governors John Engler, a Republican, and Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat.
Wyant currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Nature Conservancy, Michigan. He earned a bachelor's degree in food systems management from Michigan State University and an MBA from American University in Washington, D.C.
Stokes began his professional career with the DNR in 1977 and held leadership positions at the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund program, Grants Administration and Parks and Recreation Division from 1997 to 2002. Stokes also served as interim director and deputy director of the Detroit Recreation Department, and as director of the Gainesville, Fla., Recreation and Parks Department. Stokes returned to the Michigan DNR in 2004 where he served as its legislative liaison, chief of staff, and chief of the office of science and policy.
Stokes earned a bachelor's degree in recreation administration from Tennessee State University and master's degree in parks and recreation resources from Michigan State University.
The Office of the Great Lakes will move to the DEQ under the Executive Order with former Senator Patricia Birkholz serving as director and as a member of the Governor's Cabinet. The Executive Order has an effective date of March 13, 2011.