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New Director Named for DNREC’s Division of Community Affairs

Matthew Ritter has been appointed director of the DNREC Division of Community Affairs

Matthew Ritter, Long-time Department Staffer, Appointed to Oversee DNREC Law
Enforcement Arm Environmental Crimes Unit, Other Community Service-Related Offices

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin has announced the appointment of Matthew Ritter as director of the DNREC Division of Community Affairs – a DNREC division that spans community-related government services sections, including the Delaware Natural Resources Police Environmental Crimes Unit, the DNREC Public Affairs team, and the Offices of the Community Ombudsman and the Small Business Ombudsman.

Ritter has served 18 years with the Department, most recently as an environmental program administrator for DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation. In his new position, he succeeds Pat Emory, who recently was appointed director of the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife.

“Matt Ritter has the rounded background in natural resources and the environment that we value at DNREC, especially given the breadth of our mission and the diverse focus of our regulatory oversight,” said Secretary Garvin. “During my time with the Department I’ve had many opportunities to work with Matt on a number of high-profile issues and always been impressed by his ability to meet any challenge and see it through.”

After joining DNREC in 2004 as a seasonal parks interpreter, Ritter worked his way up through the state parks system under the Division of Parks and Recreation to positions of operations administrator and administrator of planning, preservation and development. As parks’ operations administrator, he oversaw Natural Resources Police Park Rangers, one of three law enforcement units within DNREC.

As director of the Division of Community Affairs, Ritter will oversee another Delaware Natural Resources Police arm, DNREC’s Environmental Crimes Unit, which enforces the state’s environmental laws and regulations. His new role within the Department also calls for directing DNREC’s Public Affairs team, providing assistance to businesses and communities, and acting as a liaison with the General Assembly.

Ritter was integral in the Division of Parks and Recreation’s capturing two National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) National Gold Medals – with Delaware not only notable as the smallest state park system to win the award, but for having won it twice. He also led the division in receiving accreditation through the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) – making the DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation one of only three state park systems in the nation with CAPRA accreditation. Ritter is a graduate of Frostburg (Md.) State University, having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife and Fisheries and a master’s degree in education.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment.  For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, InstagramTwitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Michael Globetti,; Nikki Lavoie,