The Morning Report

Monday, March 17, 2014

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INCIDENTS



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NEWS AND NOTES



Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (MI)
New Wilderness Area Created In Park

President Obama signed a law into effect late last week that designates 32,557 acres of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan as wilderness, the first congressional designation under the Wilderness Act since 2009. 

“President Obama and Congress have given the American people a priceless gift by ensuring that this extraordinary landscape with its towering sand dunes and bluffs will be preserved forever as wild and primitive,” Jewell said. “Hikers, anglers, paddlers and others who venture into this wilderness will find it just as the Ottawa and Chippewa tribes have for the past 3,000 years – a place of quiet solitude, spectacular views, and abundant wildlife.”

“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act this year, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is now our 50th national park with wilderness areas,” said Director Jarvis. “Thanks to the commitment of local advocates and the Michigan congressional delegation, we can now improve our preservation efforts for this beautiful and significant national treasure.”


“We are thrilled with the official designation of Sleeping Bear Dunes Wilderness, which resolves a long-standing 44-year issue stemming from the park’s 1970 enabling legislation,” said Dusty Shultz, the park’s superintendent. “Thorough civic engagement and the 2005-2009 GMP/WS/EIS process produced a wilderness proposal that turned local opposition into broad support. The overwhelming majority of local officials, members of the conservation community, and the Michigan Congressional delegation were united in their support for this bill as a winning resolution to an issue that has been debated for years. The designation strikes an appropriate balance between preserving access and guaranteeing outstanding opportunities for naturalness, solitude and primitive recreational experiences.”

“The designation also comes at a time when Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is being discovered by national media, with record visitation of 1.5 million people in 2012,” she added. “It is a great sense of accomplishment for those who care so deeply for this very special place in Michigan and for those who fought long and hard to finally create designated wilderness at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore for this and future generations to enjoy and cherish.”

The Wilderness Act, signed into law in 1964, established the highest level of conservation protection for federal lands. It prohibits permanent roads and commercial enterprises, except commercial services that may provide for recreational or other purposes of the Wilderness Act. Wilderness areas generally do not allow motorized equipment, motor vehicles, mechanical transport, temporary roads, permanent structures or installation. Visitors can engage in non-motorized recreation in wilderness areas, including hiking, fishing, camping, and hunting.

S. 23 was introduced by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and co-sponsored by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). A similar bill was introduced in the House (H.R. 163) by Rep. Dan Benishek, which had 11 co-sponsors.

[Submitted by Mike Litterst, Dusty Shultz]


Stephen T. Mather Training Center
Mather Training Center Seeks Videos For Anniversary

Mather Training Center, which will mark its 50th anniversary on Thursday, April 17th, is seeking “time capsule” videos from anyone with memories of attending courses or meetings at the center. 

If you are a former student and have a special memory of a moment, an effect, or a meaning that you recall from Mather Training Center that made a difference for you in your work and/or your career, you are invited to record a message to describe what your experience at Mather meant for you.

The center is looking for good quality recordings, but they do not need to be formal, professional presentations. They may be recorded in your workplace or anywhere you wish.  Submissions will be compiled and shared with others during the festivities at the center on April 17th. Similar thoughts and memories of those who attend this event will be recorded and the entire package will be archived for future NPS staff.

Steps for success:

  • Think of a story or reflect on a special moment, memory, or positive impact that attending an event at Mather Training Center had on you and your career.
  • Please keep the length to one to two minutes.
  • Use a tripod and have a friend run the recorder, using a cell phone or other media device.
  • Upload that video to your Google drive (don't worry, Google can handle large files)
  • Share the file on Google drive with Ryan Jennings of the NPS Distance Learning Center staff at Mather so he can locate it and save it.

Things to remember:

  • Find a quiet place to record. Try to avoid an open office area; opt for something outside if possible.
  • Make your video as comfortable and casual as you would like.
  • If you are in uniform, be sure that you follow the uniform dress code.

Please upload your video by April 1st.

[Submitted by David B. Dahlen, Superintendent]


Geologic Resources Division
Geoscientists-in-the-Parks Internship Proposals Sought

The Geologic Resources Division is announcing a call for proposals from NPS units and central offices for fall and winter 2014/2015 Geoscientists-in-the-Parks (GIP) internship positions.  Position descriptions must be entered by April 1st at http://rock.geosociety.org/g_corps/mygc.htm

The GIP program, run in partnership with The Geological Society of America’s GeoCorps America™ program, places youth aged 17 to 25 in parks and central offices for three to twelve months to help the NPS meet its physical and integrated science needs. Parks, regions, and central office staff can propose projects in geoscience or multidisciplinary research, resource management, inventory, monitoring, GIS, and interpretation/education.

During the fall and winter program season, the NPS Geologic Resources Division is able to cover the administrative costs and travel stipend for up to two internships per park.  The park or central office hosting the intern is responsible for paying the intern’s stipend (typically $3,000), provide housing (or a housing allowance), and cover all costs for positions lasting more than 3 months (stipend, administrative costs, and housing).

Positions will be recruited and advertised by The Geological Society of America from May 1st to July 1st. Parks will conduct phone interviews and select qualified GIP participants in July and August.

For an overview of the GIP program and the steps to submit a proposal, see the Geoscientists-in-the-Parks Intranet site

[Submitted by Lisa Norby, lisa_norby@nps.gov, 303-969-2318]

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Wilderness Stewardship
Wilderness Photography Contest Winners Announced

Last week, Nature's Best Photography and Wilderness50, a coalition of over 20 nonprofit, educational, and government organizations, including the National Park Service, announced the winners of the “Wilderness Forever” photography contest that was open for public entries last summer.

In celebration of 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, professional, amateur, and student winning photographs will be part of the “Wilderness Forever” exhibition opening in September at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Winning photographs capture wilderness areas from Alaska to the Everglades taken by both well-known photographers such as grand prize winner Rodney Lough Jr., and new, emerging image-makers, such as 16-year-old student Jenna Van Kley. Winning images can be viewed online on the Nature’s Best Photography Facebook page.

[Submitted by Erin Drake, erin_drake@nps.gov, 303-969-2091]

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Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs
Weekly Legislative Activities Report

The Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs puts out weekly reports on hearings, new legislation and other activities on the Hill. This report covers activities in Congress for the week ending March 14th.

In order to obtain the full text of any of the bills that appear below, click on the following link: http://thomas.loc.gov/ . That will take you to Thomas, the Library of Congress legislative tracking system. Enter the bill number in the “Search Bill Text” block, being sure to also click on the “Bill Number” option below the block.

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New Public Laws

On March 13th, President Obama signed into law S. 23 (Levin, D-MI), a bill to designate as wilderness certain land and inland water within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in the State of Michigan, and for other purposes.  The law designates more than 32,000 acres of wilderness. The public law number is not yet available.

Floor Action

On March 13th, the House passed by a vote of 238-174, H.R. 3189 (R-CO-3), to prohibit the conditioning of any permit, lease, or other use agreement on the transfer of any water right to the United States by the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture.  The bill would prohibit the conditioning of land-use permits on the transfer of private water rights to the federal government.  The Administration opposes the bill.

Committee Activity

On March 13th, the House Natural Resource Committee (Hastings) approved by unanimous consent the following bills of interest to the National Park Service:

  • H.R. 1192 (McClintock, R-CA-4), to redesignate Mammoth Peak in Yosemite National Park as `Mount Jessie Benton Fremont'. The Department opposes the bill.  While Jesse Benton Frémont was among the early supporters of protecting Yosemite Valley, there is no evidence of her having a connection to Mammoth Peak.  Both NPS and the U.S. Board of Geographic Names policies discourage the commemorative naming of features within federally designated wilderness.
  • H.R. 1501 (Jeffries, D-NY-8), to direct the Secretary of the Interior to study the suitability and feasibility of designating the Prison Ship Martyrs' Monument in Fort Greene Park, in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, as a unit of the National Park System.  The monument commemorates the sacrifice of more than 11,000 patriots during the American Revolution.  The committee amended the bill to add requirements for the study.  The Department supports the bill.
  • H.R. 3222 (Meng, D-NY-6), to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of sites associated with the 1657 signing of the Flushing Remonstrance in Queens, New York, and for other purposes.  The Flushing Remonstrance is recognized as a forerunner of the First Amendment of the Constitution and an early demand by citizens for freedom of religion.  The committee amended the bill to add requirements for the study.  The Department supports the bill.

On March 14th, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs (Young) held a hearing on a discussion draft bill, “The Alaska Native Subsistence Co-Management Demonstration Act of 2014”.  The legislation would authorize a demonstration program that allows for State-Federal-Tribal co-management of wildlife throughout the traditional hunting territory of the Ahtna people.  The Department submitted a statement for the record that did not take a position on the draft bill.

New Bills Introduced     

The following new bills of interest to the NPS were introduced:

  • S. 2104 (Flake, R-AZ), a bill to require the Director of the National Park Service to refund to States all State funds that were used to reopen and temporarily operate a unit of the National Park System during the October 2013 shutdown.
  • H.R. 4218 (Grijalva, D-AZ-3), to reauthorize the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area.
  • S. 2111 (McCain, R-AZ), a bill to reauthorize the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area.

Upcoming Committee Activity

Nothing to report.

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For additional information, please visit the Legislative and Congressional Affairs Office website at http://www.nps.gov/legal/

[Submitted by Susan Farinelli]


CAREER OPPORTUNITIES



Office of Human Resources
GS-14/15 Acting Superintendent (Detail)

Applications are being sought from GS-14 and GS-15 NPS employees for a detail assignment as acting superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

This assignment is a noncompetitive detail for up to 120 days and will include travel and per diem, as appropriate. The detail announcement number is NPS-SES-14-05D. It is not on USA Jobs.

The person selected will manage a large, complex park operation in a major national park that lies in two states.  Responsibilities include:

  • Providing leadership, policy development and enhancement of the park’s science program for the protection of the  large and diverse natural ecosystem and backcountry environment within the park
  • Fostering strong partnerships with the park’s friends group and cooperating association and other key partners  in conservation planning and in the management of visitor use facilities and  support for the park’s natural  and cultural resource management programs
  • Maintaining and enhancing major partnerships with multiple communities spanning two states and the Cherokee Reservation.

The Washington Office is looking for an individual with a proven track record of working with high performing teams and possesses strong communication and interpersonal skills, has an understanding of and experience in managing major park resources, has successfully managed science programs, and has managed a large, highly skilled workforce.

An employee serving in this assignment may later apply for consideration when the position is advertised on a permanent basis. A detail will not affect the applicant’s ability to be considered for the permanent position when it is advertised. Applicants must have a fully successful or higher rating on his or her most recent performance appraisal to be considered.  Candidates will be assessed and referred for consideration.

Candidates who apply and are found eligible for a position may be considered for this detail opportunity. Please note that employees detailed to a Senior Executive Service (SES) position do not receive a higher rate of pay or temporary promotion during the detail.

Permanent employees desiring consideration should submit a letter of interest and an abbreviated resume, no more than two pages in length. Please summarize experience you have had, including but not limited to those areas listed above.  Also indicate your skill and ability in managing an organization through subordinate levels of supervision, including managing human and financial resources.  Interested employees must include the following information:

  • Detail announcement number (the announcement number, as noted above, is NPS-SES-14-05D; this is internal to the NPS only and is not listed on USA Jobs)
  • Name, title, series and grade
  • Current duty station
  • A letter of support from your immediate supervisor, no more than one page in length.  This letter should address how the assignment to SER would support or enhance your career development and the competencies needed to succeed as a senior manager.

This information must be emailed by 11:59 p.m. on April 4th to patricia_casey@nps.gov. Individuals interested in seeking additional information are encouraged to contact Patricia Casey at 202-354-1978 with any questions.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial (SD)
GS-1640-12 Supervisory Facility Operations Specialist

An announcement has been issued for a facility operations specialist for Mount Rushmore National Park.

Click on the link below for a copy of the announcement with full details on duties, area information, and procedures for applying.

For more information, contact Cheryl A. Schreier, the park’s superintendent, at 605-574-3131 or Cheryl_schreier@nps.gov .

It closes on March 31st.
 More Information...
Golden Gate National Recreation Area (CA)
GS-0301-9 Volunteer-in-Parks Coordinator

Golden Gate National Recreation Area is seeking candidates for a position as the park’s volunteer coordinator.

Click on the link below for a copy of the announcement with full details on duties, area information, and procedures for applying.

It closes on March 24th.
 More Information...