Orange County Partnership - News

  • NYS DEC Region 3 Director, Kelly Turturro

Regional Director of New York State DEC Meets with ABG to Discuss Wetlands Regs.

More than 100 members and guests of the Alliance for Balanced Growth were on hand for a highly informative meeting with key leaders of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Region 3 office to discuss key issues affecting the development community in the region.


The March 30th session at the Barn at Villa Venezia in the Town of Wallkill was one of the best-attended gatherings in the ABG’s history. Among the attendees included a number of elected officials who were interested in receiving updates on state environmental regulations, according to ABG co-chairman John Lavelle.


The featured speaker at the event was NYS DEC Regional Director Kelly Turturro. Also making the trek from the Region 3 office in New Paltz were: Brian Drumm, Wetland Biologist; John Petronella, Regional Permit Administrator and Nathan Ermer, Wildlife Biologist with the New York State DEC.


Regional Director Turturro’s presentation focused mainly on the different departmental responsibilities within the DEC and how to better interact with DEC staff.


New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos appointed Turturro to the position of Regional Director for DEC's Region 3 in 2017. Region 3’s jurisdiction includes: Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan and Westchester counties.


Turturro began her career with DEC in 2006 as a Senior Attorney and was promoted to Regional Attorney in May 2015. In addition to serving as Regional Attorney, she had served as Acting-Regional Director since June 2016. Prior to coming to DEC, Turturro worked as an Associate Counsel for the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation.


Turturro holds a B.A. in Political Science from Le Moyne College and earned her J.D. Cum Laude from Pace University School of Law. She was admitted to New York State Bar in March 2002.


Lavelle said the ABG was very appreciative of the Regional Director and staff’s appearance at the meeting and that Turturro promised to hold similar public meetings in the future.


In addition to Turturro’s presentation, the event also featured networking and a spirited and informative Q&A session.


“We were thrilled that Regional Director Turturro was able to speak to the ABG membership and especially excited that she was able to have DEC Region 3 specialists with her.  It was a really unusual opportunity to interact with DEC staff in an open forum like that, and I think it is safe to say that everyone learned something from their presentation,” Lavelle said.


The meeting was held prior to the passage of the state budget that includes changes to DEC’s freshwater wetlands regulatory program, including making outdated freshwater wetlands maps informational rather than jurisdictional. One environmental group—The Save NYS Wetlands Coalition—contends that the new regulations will allow the Department of Environmental Conservation to protect more than one million acres of freshwater wetlands that are currently unmapped and tens of thousands of smaller wetlands that are of “unusual importance” to the environment.


Regional Director Turturro said that in the future the public will have the opportunity to comment on the development of regulations to implement the new law.


Lavelle said that the new wetlands mapping regulations will be a key issue with the development community over the next two years since it has the potential to have a major impact on investment and economic development in Orange County and throughout New York State.