The Department of Environmental Resources was created by combining the departments of Forests & Waters, Mines & Minerals and elements from the Health Department and became Pennsylvania’s first agency with the responsibility to protect the environment. Maurice K. Goddard became the first DER secretary. The Environmental Hearing Board was created to hear appeals of DER actions and 21-member Environmental Quality Board established to adopt DER regulations. See final report of the Sanitary Water Board.

The first Natural and Wild Area was established on state forest land to protect endangered species.

The first national Earth Day was celebrated on April 22 to draw attention to environmental pollution problems.

Brook trout named official state fish.

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council was established in Philadelphia to educate the public about environmental issues and promote partnerships between government, citizens and industry to solve pollution problems.