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ESSENTIAL COMPETENCIES FOR


RECREATION AND CONSERVATION PROGRAMS

The four basic competencies for recreation and conservation programs are:

I. Communication

II. Partnership Building

III. Planning and Design

IV. Project and Program Management

A committee of technical assistance and grants staff from the field and WASO has developed the following list of essential competencies for technical assistance and grants staff. The list is intended to guide staff on the skills they should develop and to guide managers on designing training programs. The list is not intended to be used in preparing position descriptions, determining grade levels, or judging performance. Certain competencies, such as skills in management and leadership, are Servicewide and are covered elsewhere.


RECREATION AND CONSERVATION PLANNER - TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

Essential Competencies

ENTRY LEVEL

Description: The following are the essential competencies necessary to do the most basic technical assistance work assisting NPS partners. Work is performed under close supervision in close collaboration with a more experienced NPS colleague.

I. Communication (entry level)

A. Writing and editing
B. Public speaking
C. Audio-visual presentations
D. Producing publications

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Able to write grammatically-correct English and to present relevant information in an organized manner; able to write informative letters, memos, and reports; able to use word processing and electronic mail systems

Able to speak effectively to small groups

Able to take and select good-quality photographs and put together slide presentations and visual displays; able to operate audiovisual equipment

Able to assist in the production of publications, including charts and maps

II. Partnership Building (entry level)

A. Organizational development
B. Team and partnership building
C. Public involvement and facilitation

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Basic knowledge of the mission, role, and goals of specific recreation/conservation organizations and programs

Able to participate effectively as a team member

Able to help plan and conduct public meetings and workshops; able to facilitate small, informal groups

III. Planning and Design (entry level)

Staff should have at least four of the following competencies:

A. Outdoor recreation
B. Natural resource conservation
C. Cultural resource conservation

D. River corridor conservation
1. River science
2. Principles of river conservation
3. Federal laws governing rivers

E. Trail corridor conservation
1. Establishing trail networks
2. Federal laws governing trails

F. Resource inventory, analysis, and assessment
G. Urban/community/land use planning
H. Land trusts
I. Environmental/historic regulation and compliance
J. Conservation education

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Basic knowledge of the principles of outdoor recreation planning, park planning, park facility development, and recreation trends and issues

Basic knowledge of ecology and the principles of protecting natural resources

Basic knowledge of historic preservation techniques, including the provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act

Basic understanding of: stream ecology, fluvial geomorphology, and hydrology; river corridor conservation techniques; Federal laws that affect river conservation

Basic knowledge of trail planning, design, construction, and maintenance, as well as Federal laws that affect trail planning

Basic knowledge of how to conduct natural, cultural, recreational, and tourism resource inventories

Understanding of the principles of urban and regional planning; familiarity with State and local land use regulation and ordinances

Familiarity with functions of land trusts and how they operate

Basic knowledge of Federal environmental/historic preservation regulations

Able to explain the importance of protecting community resources

IV. Project and Program Management (entry level)

A. Organizational mission
B. Managing technical assistance projects

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Basic knowledge of the mission, role, and goals of NPS recreation and conservation programs

Basic knowledge of the approach to developing and managing a technical assistance project; knowledge of problem solving and decision making tools and techniques

DEVELOPMENTAL LEVEL

Description: The following are the essential competencies necessary to do routine technical assistance work in the field. Straightforward tasks are performed with minimal supervision. More complex tasks require close supervision or team work with a more experienced staff person.

I. Communication (developmental level)

A. Writing and editing
B. Public speaking
C. Audiovisual presentations
D. Producing publications
E. Representing the Service

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

All KSAs at the entry level, plus:

Able to summarize projects or issues in briefing papers; can write persuasive project proposals

Skilled at informing and educating audiences; capable of giving a speech at a community meeting, conference, or workshop

Able to use audiovisual materials effectively in meetings and publications

Able to effectively use graphics and print production to produce project promotional products such as flyers, newsletters, and major reports (or know how to contract for them)

Able to represent the Service on routine matters and respond to basic inquires about programs he/she is working on

II. Partnership Building (developmental level)

A. Organizational development
B. Team and partnership building
C. Public involvement and facilitation

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

All KSAs at the entry level, plus:

Able to propose organizational approaches to meet conservation and recreation needs

Knowledge of coalition-building and organizational methods for structuring and maintaining partnerships; able to organize and focus a diverse group of cooperators in developing a common vision and implementation strategy

Understands public involvement strategies and is skilled at designing and evaluating public involvement processes for specific projects; able to facilitate a diversity of large and small groups representing multiple interests

III. Planning and Design (developmental level)

Staff should have at least five of the following competencies:
A. Outdoor recreation
B. Natural resource conservation
C. Cultural resource conservation

D. River corridor conservation
1. River Science
2. Principles of river conservation
3. Federal laws governing rivers
4. Floodplain management and watershed planning
5. National organizations and Federal agencies concerned with rivers
6. Funding for rivers programs

E. Trail corridor conservation
1. Establishing trail networks
2. Federal laws governing trails
3. Establishing greenways
4. National organizations and Federal agencies concerned with trails
5. Funding for trails programs

F. Resource inventory, analysis, and assessment
G. Urban/community/land use planning
H. Land trusts
I. Environmental/historic regulation and compliance
J. Conservation education
K. Government land acquisition, management, and disposal
L. Integration of conservation and recreation strategies

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

All KSAs at the entry level, plus:

Able to explain Federal outdoor recreation laws; proficient in outdoor recreation planning; knowledgeable about national park and recreation issues; understands the principles of park facility design

Able to advise communities on the protection of natural areas; able to integrate various aspects of natural resource conservation

Able to advise on some aspects of heritage areas; able to integrate historic preservation with natural areas conservation

Able to explain to local river conservationists: principles of stream ecology, fluvial geomorphology, and hydrology; basic river corridor protection options; principles of floodplain management and multiobjective river corridor planning; principles of watershed planning. Working knowledge of: applicable Federal laws, including the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, hydropower licensing of dams, and the National Environmental Policy Act; basic river conservation programs of Federal agencies and national nonprofit organizations; funding sources for river conservation

Capable of advising a community on the construction and maintenance of trails and the establishment of a trail network; knowledge of the principles of greenway planning; basic knowledge of Federal laws and policies governing trail development, including the National Trails System Act, and the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act; knowledgeable about the trails programs of Federal agencies and national nonprofit organizations; knowledgeable about funding sources for trail development

Able to assist with all aspects of a natural, cultural, recreational, and tourism inventory; able to assess resources and their significance; able to describe and map community resources for publications and presentations

Able to advise communities on land use planning and laws at the State, regional, and local levels

Able to explain a variety of land trust and easement program options to local conservationists; familiarity with how to acquire land in fee and easements

Able to advise communities on the basic principles of environmental/historic preservation regulation and compliance

Skilled at educating community groups on the importance of protecting community resources

Able to advise communities on the basic principles of obtaining surplus property for recreational and conservation purposes

Able to integrate outdoor recreation planning with natural resource conservation at the State and local levels

IV. Project and Program Management (developmental level)

A. Organizational mission

B. Managing technical assistance projects

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

All KSAs at the entry level, plus:

Detailed knowledge of agency recreation and conservation programs

Able to carry out all phases of a technical assistance project; able to formulate and guide projects, including, coordinating, executing, monitoring, evaluating, and troubleshooting; knowledgeable about how to negotiate and administer a cooperative agreement; able to oversee project budget requests, tracking, and reporting

FULL PERFORMANCE LEVEL

Description: The following are the essential competencies required to work complex technical assistance with partners at the local, State, and national level with little or no supervision. Staff at the full performance level are capable of being innovators of new approaches to conservation and recreation.

I. Communication (full performance level)

A. Writing and editing
B. Public speaking
C. Audiovisual presentations
D. Producing publications
E. Representing the Service

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

All KSAs at the developmental level, plus:

Able to edit the work of others

Able to provide concise briefings; able to inform, educate, and motivate a wide variety of audiences, including agency and community leaders; able to be a panelist or keynote speaker at a regional or national conference

Able to make quality audiovisual presentations and/or use AV production specialists effectively

Able to produce publications and/or work with graphics and production consultants

Able to represent NPS on recreation/conservation program matters, including complex, sensitive issues

II. Partnership Building (full performance level)

A. Organizational development
B. Team and partnership building
C. Public involvement and facilitation

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

All KSAs at the developmental level, plus:

Can advise on all aspects of organizational development; skilled at identifying and encouraging potential leaders

Able to create and maintain long-term working partnerships with Federal, State, and local program leaders and private organizations at the community, State, and regional levels; able to build and sustain partnerships at the national level; able to resolve partnership conflicts arising from complex and controversial issues, often among many diverse stakeholders; advanced skills in negotiation, compromise, and consensus-building; can negotiate cooperative agreements

Able to train others as facilitators of group process and in the design of public participation

III. Planning and Design (full performance level)

Staff should have at least seven of the following competencies:

A. Outdoor recreation
B. Natural resource conservation
C. Cultural resource conservation

D. River corridor conservation
1. Principles of river conservation
2. Federal laws governing rivers
3. Floodplain management and watershed planning
4. National organizations and Federal agencies concerned with rivers
5. State river conservation

E. Trail corridor conservation
1. Establishing trail networks
2. Federal laws governing trails
3. Establishing greenways
4. National organizations and Federal agencies concerned with trails

F. Resource inventory, analysis, assessment
G. Urban/community/land use planning
H. Land trusts
I. Environmental/historic regulation and compliance
K. Government land acquisition, management, and disposal
L. Integration of conservation and recreation strategies

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

All KSAs at the developmental level, plus:

Capable of assessing the need for, benefits of, and impacts of outdoor recreation (or overseeing such studies)

Able to offer expert advice on the protection of natural resources

Can advise on all aspects of the establishment of heritage areas; able to play a key role in drafting and designing legislation for Congressionally designated heritage areas

Able to assist river conservation efforts of State and local governments and nonprofits through Federal recognition, information, and technical assistance; able to assist partners in all aspects of multiple objective floodplain management and in the development of watershed management plans; knowledgeable about the full range of authorities in Federal legislation governing river conservation and how they can be implemented at the Federal, State, regional, and local levels; capable of working with other Federal agencies and the leaders of national nonprofit organizations to develop river conservation policy; able to advise States on the implementation of a statewide rivers assessment and developing statewide river conservation programs

Able to assist trail development efforts by State and local governments and nonprofits through Federal recognition, information, and technical assistance; knowledgeable about national programs to promote greenways; knowledgeable about the full range of authorities in Federal legislation governing trails and how they can be implemented at the Federal, State, regional, and local levels; capable of working with other Federal agencies and the leaders of national nonprofit organizations to develop trail development policies

Able to plan, implement, and complete all aspects of a natural, cultural, recreational, and tourism inventory

Extensive knowledge of the full range of land use planning approaches and laws to protect land; able to advise on such sophisticated techniques as transfer of development rights

Able to advise on the establishment of land trusts; able to advise on the negotiation with potential land/easement donors

Advanced knowledge of Federal environmental/historic preservation regulations; able to advise on environmental compliance

Able to work with leaders in Federal agencies and national nonprofit organizations on the acquisition, management, and disposal of land for outdoor recreation

Able to integrate conservation and recreation planning at the national level; able to lead large-scale projects that involve many of the above KSAs in combination

IV. Project and Program Management (full performance level)

A. Organizational mission

B. Managing technical assistance projects

C. Policy formulation

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

All KSAs at the developmental level, plus:

Thorough knowledge of agency history in working on recreation and conservation matters

Able to lead and mentor others in project management; able to coordinate with all levels of management, peers, and support services; able to lead interdisciplinary teams; able to build consensus; able to coordinate multi-agency partnerships

Able to formulate and implement national policy for recreation programs; able to work with Congressional staffs

National Park Service
Training and Development Division
Essential Competencies
techasst.htm

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