DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanians: Joe Graci, Fmr DCNR Director Of Legislative Affairs

Joe Graci is a former DCNR Director of Legislative Affairs who spent many years significantly involved in legislation that affected conservation and recreation in Pennsylvania.

Joe worked at DCNR for more than 25 years; and was the first DCNR employee when he started with the agency on July 1, 1995 -- the date the agency was established in statute.

“It was a bit surreal at the beginning,” says Joe. “I sat alone in the corner of the 15th floor of the Rachel Carson Building, where DCNR's executive staff was first housed. Eventually, additional staff filled in the office space over the next few weeks and months.”

Joe started as the agency’s legislative liaison, then served as the Director of Legislative Affairs, and finished as the agency’s special projects coordinator, where he worked on budget issues, special fund projects, and historical projects.

Joe was responsible for advancing the policy interests of DCNR and its partner organizations in Pennsylvania.

By reading through a myriad of legislation introduced by the General Assembly in Harrisburg, he would determine if any impacted DCNR positively or negatively.

“The main goals I had while working at DCNR were to protect the agency from legislation or programs that would negatively impact our operations or finances, and getting legislative proposals passed that benefited the agency,” said Joe.

One such proposal was Growing Greener 2 -- a voter-approved plan that invested $625 million to clean up rivers and streams; protect natural areas, open spaces, and working farms; and support programs to improve quality of life and revitalize communities across Pennsylvania.

While many people think of muddy boots, cutting invasive species, and planting trees, Joe’s conservation work was a bit different. He educated the members and staff of the General Assembly on what DCNR does as an agency to protect the environment and conserve the many natural resources of the commonwealth.

“I witnessed many changes at DCNR through my 25 plus years of employment,” Joe says. “I experienced six different secretaries, all with different personalities, styles of management, and differing goals and visions for the agency moving forward. We always had DCNR’s best interests in mind, and it was a great ride!”

Joe is from Harrisburg and currently resides in Camp Hill with his wife and two sons who are avid campers and hikers.

Know of a good natured Pennsylvanian who is passionate about outdoor recreation and/or conservation that we should feature? Contact DCNR by sending email to: ra-resource@pa.gov  to nominate someone.

For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

(Reprinted from DCNR’s January 20 Resource newsletter.  Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)

Conservation Leadership:

-- 26 More Counties Take The Lead In Developing Local Clean Water Action Plans In PA Portion Of Chesapeake Bay Watershed

-- CNH Industrial-New Holland Ag Partners With Alliance For The Chesapeake Bay On Riparian Buffer Project In Lancaster County

-- Miller Family, Mountain Watershed Assn. Partner To Protect 21 Acres Of Land In Fayette County

-- Susquehanna River Basin Commission To Mark 50th Anniversary Of Basin Compact In 2021

-- Susquehanna Greenway Partnership: Small Communities Becoming More Desirable In COVID Pandemic

[Posted: January 21, 2021]


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