The state Department of Environmental Protection is at its lowest staffing level in 12 years, leading to fewer enforcement actions and fine collections. At the Department of Conservation and Recreation, there are almost 400 fewer full-time positions now than there were a decade ago. And the Division of Ecological Restoration needs to address thousands of dams and culverts that have gone past their planned lifespans.

Advocacy groups agree: several state agencies charged with protecting the environment need more funding, particularly as climate change continues to increase risks and challenges. They gathered at the State House on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to invest millions of dollars, far beyond the level proposed by Gov. Charlie Baker, in those departments.

"Our environmental agencies have faced steep cuts in staff and resources in the last decade or so," said Elizabeth Henry, president of the Environmental League of Massachusetts. "We now have a third fewer staff in our key agencies and substantially less enforcement than we've almost ever had."

Many of the issues raised Tuesday dealt with staffing at the state's environmental agencies, with suggestions for additional funding to fill positions that had been cut. Even as climate change becomes a more central issue, most of the departments involved have fewer people working today than they did in recent years.

That trend carries significant effects. A Boston Globe review in 2017 found that, as the the DEP's workforce decreased by about a third in the past 10 years, enforcement against serious violations dropped 50 percent and fines dropped 75 percent.

"They didn't have the staff to go out and do the inspections to meet with folks and do a follow-up for enforcements," said Gabby Queenan, policy director for the Massachusetts River Alliance. "It's really an accident waiting to happen."

Advocates often point toward the overall percentage of the budget used for conservation and protection. In the early 2000s, about 1 percent of the budget went to environmental agencies, but in recent years, as the total budget has raced past $40 billion, that figure has hovered around 0.6 percent.

"With increasing challenges we face due to climate change, this is not sufficient," Henry said.

Gov. Charlie Baker's fiscal year 2020 budget does allocate increases to DEP, DCR and DER, but Henry said it's only an "incremental step" that needs to be expanded. Environmental groups behind the "Green Budget" presentation Tuesday suggested increasing funding for DCR State Parks and Recreation to $47 million, DCR Watershed Management to $1.5 million, amd DER to $1.75 million.

The group and Baker agreed on DEP administration, though, with both parties proposing an increase up to $31.5 million in fiscal year 2020.

"All of these agencies people think we can squeeze and get away with — the price is visible now and it's going to be visible in the future," said Sen. William Brownsberger, a member of the Senate's Global Warming and Climate Change Committee. "Strengthening our commitment to these environmental agencies is a very fundamental thing."

There was a sense of optimism at Tuesday's presentation. Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, chair of the House Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee, pointed to Speaker Robert DeLeo's proposal for a 10-year, $1 billion environmental grant program as a sign of progress.

"Climate change is very different from one end of this Commonwealth to another, but it's impacting us just the same," Pignatelli said. "We're ready to go to work."