Governor Andrew Cuomo has nominated Open Space Institute (OSI) President Joe Martens as the new Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. Martens had been at OSI since 1995, first as Executive Vice President, then as President.
At OSI, Martens’ tenure in land protection was unrivaled. In the last 16 years, OSI has completed over 400 transactions, resulting in the protection of more than 86,000 acres in New York State. Some of Martens’ achievements include the protection of the 10,000-acre Tahawus property in the Adirondacks, Franklin Roosevelt’s Top Cottage, and most recently the 2,350-acre Camp Little Notch in the Adirondacks. Martens also spearheaded OSI’s involvement to assist the Nature Conservancy in protecting the 161,000-acre Finch Pryun land in the Adirondacks. OSI was in negotiations to purchase nearly 30-miles of rail corridor as part of the Tahawus deal, but unfortunately that part of the transaction ended up on the cutting room floor. Friends of the Upper Hudson Rail Trail (FUHRT) picked up the torch and has since been leading the effort to make the rail line into a world-class rail trail.
As Commissioner of DEC, Martens will be charged with conserving, improving and protecting New York’s natural resources and environment, and preventing, abating and controlling water, land and air pollution, in order to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state and their overall economic and social well-being. Read more.