Mary Mertz, ODNR Director, Ex Officio

Mary Mertz serves as Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Governor Mike DeWine appointed her to this post in January of 2019.

In this role, Mertz leads and oversees 11 divisions that manage Ohio’s state parks, preserves, and forests, analyze and report on geologic and water resources, protect and improve the Lake Erie coastline, conserve and manage Ohio’s fish and wildlife, and regulate oil, gas and mining industries. The department’s employees can be found in each of Ohio’s 88 counties, with assignments from the Ohio River to Lake Erie and its islands, and from the east to the western borders of Ohio.

Mertz has been instrumental in advancing Governor DeWine’s initiatives in the H2Ohio water quality program by launching an ambitious effort to restore and create wetlands in key locations across Ohio, focusing on the Lake Erie watershed. She has also led efforts to conserve and protect important land areas for both recreational opportunities and preservation of rare species.

A lawyer with experience in both the public and private sectors, Mertz served as First Assistant Attorney General during Mike DeWine’s entire tenure in the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. In that position she led all legal and operational divisions in advancing the work of the office. She has served in many other government posts as well, including as an advisor for Governor George Voinovich, as Chief of Staff for Mike DeWine when he served Ohio as the Lt. Governor, as legislative director for Congressman Bob McEwen, and in the Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House.

Mertz is a native of Riverside, Ohio and earned her undergraduate degree at American University, a master’s degree at George Washington University and her juris doctorate at The Ohio State Moritz College of Law. She grew up sailing with her father at some of Ohio’s best inland lakes, including Kiser Lake, Cowan Lake and Eastwood Lake. In her free time she enjoys sailing, hiking and exploring Ohio’s great outdoors.