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December 30, 2009

DNR online forum transitions to non-profit group

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources thanks the public for concerns about the Department and the forums. No one regrets the necessity of cutting funding from our budget for the forums more than we do.
With that said we have communication from a non-profit group that would like to take over the forum. This group is dedicated to hunting and preserving the hunting traditions. We will keep the forum open for another month to help make this transition and a formal announcement is hopefully forthcoming.
In addition to the over 40% cut in our appropriated budget, we are also seeing disturbing reductions in our revenue trends over the past several months and we are concerned that this may continue if the economic picture continues to worsen. Our agency has 163 vacancies, which is 19% of the agency’s authorized positions. The Information Technology section (IT) is down 30% of its workforce. There are counties that have either one or no resident conservation officers to maintain public safety and protect our natural resources.             

Understandably we do not have an expectation of being able to fill these vacancies in the foreseeable future. We have already had to initiate one reduction in force and another reduction is under serious consideration. It is safe to say this is the worst budget situation the agency has faced in its entire history.
DNR simply cannot provide the level of service in regard to the forums that we have been able to in the past with these budget reductions. 

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