Making Things Better

The leaders and staff of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) work together to build a lean, agile and responsive agency. They deliver the highest possible value to their customers while protecting and managing the state’s vital natural resources, protecting public health and safety, and providing quality outdoor recreation.

All state agencies face an increased demand for services. And all have limited resources. To succeed, DNREC is cutting activities that add no value. It aligns, standardizes and improves essential work practices across programs and business functions. This includes improving management of people and processes, improving communication, both within the agency and with the public, and doing a better job of using technology and innovation.

Current Initiatives

Expanding Our Lean Strategy

DNREC has launched an initiative to expand the Lean Management approach to an agency-wide strategy. (Read More)

Updating Document Management

DNREC will update its document management system and processes, and strengthen archival policies. (Read More)

Modernizing Information Technology

DNREC and DTI are updating and streamlining IT tools for permitting and data management. (Read More)

Creating a New DNREC Web Site

DNREC has created a new, modern and fully responsive web site focused on the needs of site users. (Read More)

Some Past Successes

DNREC has used a variety of Lean Management tools such as Value Stream Mapping, along with communication within the agency and outreach to clients and other stakeholders, to achieve continuing improvement in the agency.

The Division of Air Quality used Value Stream Mapping to reduce permitting turn-around times for a widely-used class of permits and to completely eliminate a permitting backlog. The Division identified and corrected problems that were complicating the permitting process and made it easier for applicants to complete, submit and get timely decisions on their applications. Read More
The Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) program used Value Stream Mapping to streamline the process to work with property owners and responsible parties to plan for and carry out clean-up projects when there are leaks from underground storage tanks. The group developed consistent guidance and a standard review process and used templates to speed clean-up planning. Read More
The Wetlands and Subaqueous Lands Section used Value Stream mapping to find and fix inefficiency in processing applications for permits, leases, authorizations, map changes and other actions needed by property owners and businesses. The Section found ways to increase the timeliness of public notices, reduce unneeded steps and streamline applications. Read More
The Brownfield Development program used Value Stream Mapping to cut the time needed to approve clean-up and re-use of formerly polluted “brownfield” sites. The program used templates to streamline reports and applications, delegated signature approvals where possible, and reduced duplicate internal reviews. Read More

Lessons Learned

DNREC and its partners learned several lessons from their early work with Lean Management tools. These are lessons that DNREC has carried forward into all of its improvement efforts. And they will inform today’s initiatives.

From Our Staff

A majority of process problems stemmed from permit applications themselves.

Nearly 100% of applications had to be re-worked.

A substantial amount of time was spent in waiting for information from applicants.

DNREC staff had a wealth of ideas for removing time and motion waste from processes.

From Applicants (Our Customers)

Permitting processes were slow and cumbersome.

It was difficult to know which forms to complete.

It was difficult to know where and how to obtain information requested on applications.

It was difficult to know which which questions to answer and which were not applicable.

They needed help with engineering calculations.

They need to know why specific information in requested on some applications.

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