The Morning Report

Monday, April 21, 2014

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INCIDENTS



Blue Ridge Parkway
Bicyclist Succumbs To Injuries From Collision With Deer

On the evening of April 2nd, a 52-year-old man was bicycling on the parkway in the area of Milepost 64 when he was struck by a deer. 

The bicycle was travelling at approximately 25 miles per hour when the deer collided with the rider’s right side, causing him to lose control of his bicycle. The cyclist, who was wearing a helmet, hit the roadway with his head, resulting in severe head and neck trauma. 

EMS was provided on scene by Big Island Rescue and the cyclist was evacuated by helicopter to Lynchburg General Hospital. He remained in critical condition there until succumbing to his injuries on Sunday, April 13th.   

Ranger Miranda Cook is investigating the accident.

[Submitted by Kurt W. Speers, Ridge District Ranger]


NEWS AND NOTES



Biscayne National Park (FL)
Elliott Key Reopens Following Storm Repairs

Elliott Key, closed for 18 months due to damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy, reopened to the public on Thursday, April 17th.

The repair work to the marina’s docks and oceanside boardwalk was accompanied by upgrades to the island’s restroom and shower facilities that were designed to minimize potential damage from similar future storms.

“Over the past 18 months, one thing stood out in the comments we received from visitors – Elliott Key is VERY well-loved by park visitors,” said the park’s superintendent, Brian Carlstrom. “We are glad to finally be opening a new-and-improved version of the island.”

High tides and waves associated with Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 separated the docks from their attachment points on the seawall in the harbor, requiring a complete redesign and rebuilding of the finger piers. The rebuilt docks have been disconnected from the inflexible seawall and include a mesh deck that allows water to easily flow through the docks’ surfaces.

A new, larger dinghy dock was also added, allowing improved access for those anchored offshore or arriving by kayak. Improvements to the campground restroom and shower facilities include new plumbing, automatic and low-flush toilets, and fresh paint. All work was completed by locally based contractors.

The largest island in Biscayne National Park, Elliott Key was once dotted with pineapple farms and pioneer homesteads. Today, the island provides opportunities for camping, picnicking, swimming, wildlife watching and hiking, as well as opportunities for formal curriculum-based educational programs.

For more information about Biscayne National Park, visit the park website at www.nps.gov/bisc, and follow the park on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/biscaynenps, and Twitter at www.twitter.com/biscaynenps.

[Submitted by Matt Johnson]


Redwood National and State Parks (CA)
Efforts Underway To Check Spread Of Sea Star Wasting Disease

Sea star wasting syndrome is occurring along much of the Pacific coast of North America from Alaska to California, including Redwood National and State Parks. While this is not the first time that sea star wasting syndrome has been observed, the mass mortality of this epidemic is unprecedented.

“Although similar sea star wasting events have occurred previously a mortality event of this magnitude, with such broad geographic reach has never before been documented,” reports the website for the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

“Early signs of the syndrome can include a ‘deflated’ appearance, unnatural twisting, or small lesions on the surface that may increase in size and number. Wasting syndrome can progress rapidly, and often leads to loss of arms, softening of tissue, and eventual death just a few days after external signs become visible.”

Redwood National and State Parks researchers have monitored park intertidal zones twice a year since 2004. While the syndrome began to be noted at multiple sites along the West Coast  in late spring last year, nothing abnormal was observed at park study areas during a survey in May 2013.

One year later, sea wasting syndrome is in the parks. Ochre sea stars with small lesions were found at the three rocky intertidal sites (False Klamath Cove, Damnation, and Enderts) last December. On February 21st, Yurok tribal technicians found large numbers of dead ochre sea stars on park beaches along the mouth of Wilson Creek at False Klamath Cove. On February 24th, national park employees documented the die off and surveyed the intertidal rocky area adjacent to Wilson Creek.

Live ochre stars with symptoms of the wasting syndrome—missing legs, lesions, and deteriorating tissue—were found, but also healthy looking sea stars. Because dead chitons were also found and the large numbers of dead starfish found intact, scientists believe that, although the wasting disease is present, it wasn’t the main cause of this die off but rather resulted from a water quality problem from the creek—either or both nutrients and sediments that caused a localized hypoxia event. All park intertidal study sites will be sampled again in May with the park’s UC Santa Cruz partners.

Scientists do not know what is causing sea star wasting syndrome, but are working hard to understand the causes and the consequences of the event. One challenge is that the cause may be different in different regions.

The UC Santa Cruz Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology is taking a lead role in collecting and analyzing monitoring data from agencies and organizations, including the National Park Service, all along the West Coast. Other research groups at Cornell, University of Rhode Island, Brown, Western Washington University and Seattle Aquarium are addressing the pathology and infectiousness of wasting.

Why are scientists working so hard to better understand this problem? In a troubling “falling dominos” effect, large-scale, mass mortality of individual marine species can result in dramatic ecosystem-wide changes with long-term impacts. Two sea star species affected most are purple sea star or ochre starfish (Pisaster ochraceus) in the intertidal and sunflower sea star (Pycnopodia helianthoides) in the subtidal zone.

Ecologists consider sunflower and ochre stars to be “keystone species” because they have a disproportionately large influence on the distribution and abundance of many other species. Scientists anticipate that such a large mortality event in keystone species could change the intertidal and subtidal seascapes.

For example, the keystone species Pisaster ochraceus is considered a top predator in the rocky intertidal zone, as its diet includes mussels, barnacles, snails, limpets, and mollusks. If removed, the mussel population has the potential to dramatically increase, which could significantly alter rocky intertidal community structure.

As of last December, no underlying cause had been identified, but researchers were working to isolate a pathogen and determine how it is transmitted. Previously, bacterial and viral agents and environmental toxins and contaminants were suspected but not confirmed.  While the ultimate cause is not clear, sea star wasting events are often associated with warmer than typical water temperatures, as was the case for the major die off in southern California in 1983-1984 and again (on a lesser scale) in 1997-98. Following the 1983-1984 event, the ochre star, Pisaster ochraceus, was virtually absent along southern California shorelines for years.

The wasting syndrome underscores the value of long-term scientific monitoring, and also illustrates the importance of interagency partnership and cooperation and of the park’s being a partner in the Multi Agency Rocky Intertidal Network (MARINe). Other local groups, such as the Yurok Tribe, are also concerned about what can be done to prevent the spread.

When the cause is determined – the organism, mode of transmission, distribution, etc. – and researchers know if its spread can be ben prevented, they will work together on public posting and education for people using the beaches.

[Submitted by Candace Tinkler, Chief of Interpretation and Education]

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Richmond National Battlefield Park (VA)
NPS Joins City Event Focusing On Civil War And Emancipation

On Saturday, April 12th, 2,500 visitors turned out for programs offered by the NPS as part of a city-wide collaboration with the Future of Richmond’s Past, a partnership focusing on Richmond’s Civil War, slavery, and reconstruction history. 

Highlights included sellout bus tours exploring for the first time the role of Unionists and spies in the heart of the Confederate capital during the war. The park and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources also unveiled a new state historical marker at Chimborazo, the site of one of the largest hospitals of the war and now the park’s headquarters and medical history museum. 

The new marker emphasizes the extent of the city’s wartime hospital system and its unsung heroes, the hospitals’ many female directors and matrons.  Joining superintendent David Ruth for the marker unveiling were VDHR’s director, Julie Langan, and Ed Ayers, the president of the University of Richmond.

Rangers from the two parks offered programs and presentations in five areas of the city, from exploring the lives of prominent African Americans in the Jackson Ward section of Richmond in the post-war period, to staffing a special exhibit at the Virginia Historical Society about the preservation and management of the variety of historic structures and landscapes entrusted to the NPS, to presenting joint programs with the American Civil War Museum at Historic Tredegar. 

A ranger-led tour of the Chimborazo site included its pre-war history, its development as a Civil War hospital, and newly-discovered information about the reconstruction era when the site became a Freedman’s Bureau School.

The annual city-wide program, “Civil War and Emancipation Day,” is a special sesquicentennial project coordinated by the Future of Richmond’s Past, a collaborative effort among leaders of Richmond's historical societies, museums, commissions, cultural and tourism organizations, and educational institutions to frame the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and emancipation.

The collaborative sponsors public programs, special events, and inclusive conversations to advance a better understanding of Richmond’s shared history, and is funded through private and corporate donations.

[Submitted by Elizabeth Paradis Stern, Chief of Interpretation]

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Southeast Region
Gary Ingram Selected As Superintendent Of Cumberland Island

Gary Ingram has been selected as the new superintendent of Cumberland Island National Seashore. He will begin his new assignment in mid-May. 

Ingram has been the superintendent of Jimmy Carter National Historic Site since 2007, and has been serving as acting superintendent of Cumberland Island National Seashore since January.

“We are very pleased to have Gary accept the responsibility of superintendent at Cumberland Island, one of the jewels of Southeast Region,” said Regional Director Stan Austin.  “He is an excellent public servant who will be a great steward of the seashore’s resources and will ensure that its visitors have rewarding experiences.  He is also a strong advocate of community involvement and building bridges between diverse groups.”

A California native, Ingram has nearly 20 years of service to the National Park Service, as well as serving as a law enforcement officer outside of federal service.  Between 1993 and 2001, he worked as a ranger at Yosemite National Park in a variety of positions, including protection ranger, horse patrol, search and rescue, emergency medical services, and chief liaison officer.  In 2001 and 2002, he served as a policy advisor for the U.S. House of Representatives, focusing on federal law enforcement, homeland security, and other issues.

In 2002, Ingram returned to Yosemite and spent three years as management assistant to the superintendent, responsible for Congressional and community affairs.  His work focused on state and regional planning issues and coordinating alternative funding programs to sustain and supplement the park’s base budget.

In 2005, Ingram moved to the Washington office nd served as special assistant to the Alaska regional director.  In that capacity, he represented Alaska’s parks and regional office in day-to-day dealings with the leadership of the Department of the Interior, the NPS, Congress and Washington, D.C.-based interest groups. 

Ingram helped move draft regulations through the approval process, represented Alaska Region in policy discussions, and served as a liaison with the Washington-based staffs for the governor of Alaska and other interest groups.

In 2013, Ingram received Southeast Region’s Superintendent of the Year Award for his leadership at Jimmy Carter National Historic Site.

“It is an honor to be selected to serve as the superintendent of Cumberland Island National Seashore,” Ingram said.  “I look forward to serving the public, my staff and many park partners. Building lines of communication and finding new ways to collaborate is a priority as we move forward to protect this incredible resource.”

Ingram plans to move to the Camden County, Georgia, area with his wife, Athena, and son, Connor. Their older son, Gary, is attending college and their daughter, McKenna, graduates from high school this year and will attend college in the fall.

[Submitted by Bill Reynolds]


Museum Management Program
Hantavirus Disease Health And Safety Update Now Available

The hantavirus disease health and safety update that appeared in the February edition of Conserve-O-Gram has been updated, expanded and retransmitted in the March edition.

The revised Conserve-O-Gram has been expanded to include current information on the hantavirus incubation period, rodent exclusion techniques, appropriate disinfectants to use, and procedures for cleaning potentially contaminated museum objects, including isolating any potentially contaminated materials at room temperatures as freezing extends the viability of the virus. 

For more information on museum management, go to:

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CAREER OPPORTUNITIES



National Capital Region
Four Superintendent And Five Deputy Superintendent Openings

National Capital Region is advertising nine leadership (GS13 through GS15) positions simultaneously. For management, this recruitment approach allows strategic matching of an applicant’s skills to park needs; for candidate, it provides the convenience of applying to a single vacancy announcement for several job opportunities.   

Each job demands vision and focus, especially in the face of controversy, and the ability to operate effectively in a high-visibility, high-risk/high-reward environment. We require strong personnel and park management skills, a desire to nurture productive, meaningful relationships with partners, and an unwavering belief in the benefits the NPS mission can bring to urban communities.

If you’re ready for a new challenge and want to make things happen, please apply. All jobs are open to all U.S. citizens and merit promotion candidates, and links to all vacancy announcements are below.

GS-13

Deputy Superintendent (GS-13) (Merit Promotion) Rock Creek Park (DC)

Superintendents (GS-13) (Merit Promotion) Two positions: Greenbelt Park (MD) and Piscataway Park (MD)

Deputy Superintendent (GS-13) (All U.S. Citizens) Rock Creek Park (DC)

Superintendents (GS-13) (All U.S. Citizens) Two positions: Greenbelt Park (MD) and Piscataway Park (MD)

GS-14

Deputy Superintendents (GS-14) (Merit Promotion) Four positions: National Capital Parks-East (DC), Office of the National Park Service Liaison to the White House (DC), Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park (MD), and George Washington Memorial Parkway (VA)

Deputy Superintendents (GS-14) (All U.S. Citizens) Four positions: National Capital Parks-East (DC), Office of the National Park Service Liaison to the White House (DC), Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park (MD), and George Washington Memorial Parkway (VA).

GS-15

Superintendents (GS-15) (Merit Promotion) Two positions: National Capital Parks-East (DC) and Office of the National Park Service Liaison to the White House (DC)

Superintendents (GS-15)  (All U.S. Citizens) Two positions: National Capital Parks-East (DC) and Office of the National Park Service Liaison to the White House (DC)

[Submitted by Charles Richardson, Charles_Richardson@nps.gov, 202-619-7216]


Intermountain Region
GS-0201-13 Human Resources Officer

Dates: 04/18/2014 - 05/01/2014

The Santa Fe SHRO is seeking a GS-13 human resources officer (SHRO lead). The vacancy announcement /(IMDE-14-254) closes on May 1st.

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

For more job or area information, call Annette Martinez, ARD Workforce Management at 303-969-2506 or for information on applying call Rebecca Snavley, HR Specialist, Denver SHRO, at 303-969-2630.

[Submitted by Rebecca Snavley, rebecca_snavley@nps.gov, 303-969-2630]

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