With a team of scientists and other dedicated professionals, the Department of Conservation (DOC) administers a variety of programs vital to California's public safety, environment and economy. The services DOC provides are designed to balance today's needs with tomorrow's obligations by fostering the wise use and conservation of energy, land and mineral resources.
Five divisions comprise the DOC: Land Resource Conservation; Mine Reclamation; California Geological Survey; Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources; and State Mining & Geology Board. Read more about each division below.
DLRP administers or supports a number of programs designed to promote orderly growth in coordination with agricultural endeavors. This is a crucial job: the population of California is expected to grow from its current 39.9 million to 50 million by 2055, and the need for new homes will put strain on the nation's leading agricultural economy. Key DOC tools available for land conservation planning are conservation easement grants, tax incentives to keep land in agriculture or open space, and farmland mapping and monitoring.
The reclamation of mining land wasn't addressed in state law before 1975. The Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) is the link between producing the mineral products important to California and protecting the environment. Under SMARA, every mining operation must have a permit to mine, an approved reclamation plan (the mined land must be restored or altered to a condition agreed upon prior to mining), and a sound financial ability to ensure reclamation.
In the United States, only Alaska experiences more earthquakes than California. CGS scientists gather data on earthquakes and map earthquake faults and related hazards. This information is used to make buildings and structures that are better able to withstand earthquakes, minimizing loss of life and property damage. In addition, the Mineral Resources Program gathers, analyzes and distributes information on the state's mineral resources to help prevent valuable mineral deposits from being lost.
CalGEM prioritizes protecting public health, safety, and the environment in its oversight of the oil, natural gas, and geothermal industries, while working to help California achieve its climate change and clean energy goals. To do that, CalGEM uses science and sound engineering practices to regulate the drilling, operation, and permanent closure of energy resource wells.
Though it operates within DOC, SMGB is granted certain autonomous responsibilities and obligations under several statutes. The board's general authority requires all nine board members to "represent the general public interest." The board serves as a regulatory, policy and appeals body representing the state's interest in geology, geologic and seismologic hazards, conservation of mineral resources, and reclamation following surface mining activities.