[Send comments to Gary Mason before May 18, 2004]
Director's Order 2-1: Resource Stewardship Planning
Sunset Date: _______________
Table of Contents
1.1. Resource Management Plans were previously required by the 1988 NPS Management Policies and their content prescribed by the NPS Resource Management Planning Guideline and Software Manual (1994). They continue to be required by the current National Park Service Management Policies (2001). However, changes to these plans are necessitated by changes to the NPS planning process contained in the current National Park Service Management Policies (2001). Under this revised planning process, there is a large gap between the broad requirements for the General Management Plan (GMP) and the park strategic plan's required 5-year suite of base-funded actions under "foreseeable" park budgets. This gap is being addressed through a new plan in place of the RMP, the Resource Stewardship Plan (RSP). The Resource Stewardship Plan provides a mechanism to develop and document well-defined and integrated natural and cultural resource condition objectives and comprehensive strategies for meeting them to guide park management decision-making.
The Resource Stewardship Plan provides a linkage between the general, conceptual treatment of resources in GMPs and the specific detailed activities described in park strategic or implementation plans.
2.1. This Director's Order supplements the policies and guidance included in chapters 2, 4 and 5 of NPS Management Policies (2001). It, and the accompanying Reference Manual 2-1, replace:
· Chapter 4 of NPS-77 Natural Resource Management Guideline (1991);
This Director's Order will also be coordinated with Section B3bii of Director's Order 41: Wilderness Preservation and Management (1999).
2.2. This Director's Order addresses replacement of the Resource Management Plan with a requirement for each park to develop and maintain a Resource Stewardship Plan whose role and function differs significantly from the former RMP. This Director's Order also addresses the relationships between the Resource Stewardship Plan and other NPS planning requirements.
2.3. The Associate Directors for Natural Resource Stewardship and Science and for Cultural Resource Stewardship are delegated the authority to establish program standards and other detailed guidance in the form of Reference Manual 2-1 for Resource Stewardship Planning. Together, this Director's Order, the program standards, and Reference Manual 2-1 will provide information needed by park managers throughout the national park system to develop science- and scholarship-based comprehensive strategies for the achievement and maintenance of park desired future resource conditions. The reference manual will include detailed guidance about specific procedures, techniques and tools useful in developing park natural and cultural resource management strategies and the resource stewardship planning process. The program standards and Reference Manual 2-1 constitute "level three" guidance for resource stewardship planning.
2.4. This order is intended only to improve the internal management of the NPS and it is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity by a party against the United States, its department, agencies, instrumentalities or entities, its officers or employees, or any other person.
3.1. This Director's Order is issued pursuant to 16 USC 1 through 4 (the National Park Service Organic Act), 16 USC 5911, and 5931 through 5936 (the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998), and delegations of authority contained in Part 245 of the Departmental Manual.
4.0 Relationships to Other NPS Plans
4.1. The GMP establishes the desired future resource conditions used for resource stewardship planning purposes.
4.2. The park's Resource Stewardship Plan reiterates the desired future resource conditions in the GMP to ensure that they provide appropriately quantifiable, measurable objectives needed to develop management strategies and to measure the success of management actions implementing the strategies. Depending upon the outcome of this evaluation, Resource Stewardship Plans will:
1) Adopt the desired future resource conditions identified in the park's
(See 5.3.5 for more information about situations where no GMP exists for the park, or where the GMP does not contain management prescriptions consistent with chapter 2 of Management Policies.)
4.3. The Resource Stewardship Plan then discusses
the park's long-term, science- and scholarship-based strategies to achieve
and maintain the desired future resource conditions.
4.4. Shorter-term steps to implement the strategies contained in Resource Stewardship Plans are contained in park 5-year strategic plans. Developed for performance management purposes, the park's strategic planning process considers and integrates components of the Resource Stewardship Plan's comprehensive strategies into the park 5-year strategic plan. The human and fiscal resource allocation decisions included in a park's strategic plan are designed to incrementally put into effect the comprehensive strategies contained in the park Resource Stewardship Plan and provide the basis for corresponding annual performance planning.
4.5. Parks may also prepare detailed implementation plans (e.g., Fire Management Plan, Fisheries Management Plan, Black Bear Management Plan, Cultural Landscape Management Plan, etc.) based on a comprehensive strategy in the Resource Stewardship Plan. Such implementation plans are normally prepared in response to the complexity, duration, or controversial nature of resource management actions or programs.
5.0 NPS Resource Stewardship Planning Policy
Sections 4.1.1 and 5.2 of NPS Management Policies are hereby supplemented as follows:
5.1. Resource Stewardship Plans will consider the park and its resources in their full ecological and local, regional and national cultural context as a unit of the national park system and as part of their surrounding landscape. The plan will identify connections among all park programs and management districts so that comprehensive strategies address resources management in an interdisciplinary manner. The plan will guide the park as a whole, not only the organizational unit with lead responsibility for resource management. An interdisciplinary team with appropriate consultation with stakeholders will develop the plan.
5.2. Required components of a Resource Stewardship Plan
5.2.1. The Service will ensure that each park containing natural or cultural resources prepares and periodically updates a Resource Stewardship Plan that addresses the following items (and as described in more detail in the program standards):
· Restates the park's desired future resource conditions and resource
condition-dependent visitor experiences specified in the management prescriptions
contained in its GMP. If the park does not have a GMP, or its existing
plan does not contain management prescriptions and desired future conditions
consistent with chapter 2 of Management Policies, appropriate interim
desired future conditions will be developed as the initial step of the
resource stewardship planning process;
5.2.2. Comprehensive Resource Stewardship Strategies
Comprehensive strategies developed to achieve and maintain park-specific desired future resource conditions will be the key products of the Resource Stewardship Plan. These strategies will be developed and documented through the resource stewardship planning process. They will provide parks with a template for developing detailed program and project needs, which will then be integrated into park strategic planning. Together, the strategies and their detailed needs provide parks with a crucial strategic planning tool for human and fiscal resource allocation decision-making and for detailed implementation planning.
Each comprehensive strategy will possess the following characteristics:
· Addresses the next 10- to 20-years timeframe;
5.3 The Resource Stewardship Planning Process
5.3.1. The NPS will use the resource stewardship planning process to identify long-term strategies that, if implemented, would achieve and maintain the desired future resource conditions identified in the GMP, and in some cases, the interim desired resource conditions developed during the resource stewardship planning process and included in the Resource Stewardship Plan. It will use an interdisciplinary process to develop integrated strategies encompassing natural, cultural and other resource values and concerns in an interdisciplinary and consultative manner. Knowledge and skills of natural and cultural resource specialists, scientists, and scholars having relevant expertise will be utilized. Once developed, the parks will then base their 5-year strategic plans on the 10- to 20- year strategies set forth in the Resource Stewardship Plans. Resource Stewardship Plans would provide the basis for the separate preparation of park base increase and project funding requests for this 5-year period to the extent allowable by foreseeable human and fiscal resources.
5.3.2. Resource stewardship planning will include, at a minimum, informal consultation with traditionally associated peoples, other agencies at various levels of government with special interests or expertise about the park's resources, and other stakeholders as appropriate. If park interim desired future resource conditions are developed through the resource stewardship planning process, outside resource experts and authorities, as well as knowledgeable park staff, should be involved. Interim desired future resource conditions should be subjected to both peer and public review and comment.
5.3.3. The superintendent of each park will prepare and periodically revise a Resource Stewardship Plan for his/her park, except as noted below for new parks.
220.127.116.11. Superintendents of existing parks will prepare and obtain approval of a Resource Stewardship Plan in accordance with a regionally-approved schedule designed to balance the regional workload associated with assisting with plans throughout the region. In no case should park Resource Stewardship Plans be completed more than five years from the date of this order.
18.104.22.168. Superintendents of new parks will prepare and obtain approval of a Resource Stewardship Plan within six years following its issuance, but no more than two years following approval of the park's initial GMP.
22.214.171.124. Superintendents of parks where the preparation of a Resource Stewardship Plan is contingent upon a requested revision or amendment to the GMP (i.e., the resource objectives in the current GMP are in need of updating) will prepare and obtain approval of a Resource Stewardship Plan within six years from the date of this order, but no more than two years following approval of the GMP revision or amendment.
126.96.36.199. Superintendents of parks possessing an approved Resource Stewardship Plan will prepare and approve revisions to it not more than five years following its approval date. The park's Resource Stewardship Plan may be updated more frequently based on new information on the park's resources or other park needs.
5.3.4. The park superintendent must approve all Resource Stewardship Plans, subject to peer review and concurrence, with copies provided to both the relevant regional and Washington Office Associate Directors' offices. The peer review must consist of review by at least three natural or cultural resource specialists, including at least one specialist from each of these two resource disciplines prior to superintendent approval. The signature of peer reviewers must attest that the strategies meet minimum standards for moving the park toward meeting its desired future resource conditions. The reviewers shall not be the preparers of the plan and no more than one of the reviewers may be on the park's staff. Involvement of professional resource management specialists in the development of Resource Stewardship Plans will reduce the possibilities of peer review uncovering problems in the plan's analysis and strategies and the need to revise them.
5.3.5. If interim desired future resource conditions are developed as a part of the resource stewardship planning process; the Regional Director must approve them. The approval may be documented separately (and reflected in the plan) or through Regional Director approval of the plan.
5.3.6. In all cases, components of the Resource Stewardship Plan may borrow freely from other sources. For example, some park strategic plans have taken a broader approach and developed longer-term, unconstrained strategies to provide the context for required 5-year planning. If these strategies are sufficient to meet desired future resource conditions, and provided they are consistent with the park's GMP, they may be adopted directly in summary form. Additionally, resource condition information may be adequately described in other documents, including monitoring strategies. If so, the material may also be used directly in summary form. However, to provide a comprehensive plan, the material should be assembled with the plan, and preferably incorporated into it, so that the strategies are coherent in the context of available information and analyses.
5.3.7. Resource managers and natural and cultural discipline specialists should objectively evaluate the results of activities and projects implemented in response to comprehensive strategies in a park's Resource Stewardship Plan every two or three years. If goals are not being met, superintendents must determine the course of, and re-evaluate the strategies in, the current Resource Stewardship Plan, modifying the plan as necessary. Occasionally the desired future resource conditions may need to be reassessed based on new knowledge or previously unforeseen circumstances, and this reassessment may indicate the need to amend the park's GMP.
6.0 Information Management Requirements
6.1. Each park will develop and maintain information on existing resource conditions, desired future resource conditions, and the status of the inventories and condition assessments for each resource addressed in the Resource Stewardship Plan in a manner that is consistent with RM 2-1, and required Resource Stewardship Plan elements.
6.2. Detailed park project or program information in various information systems (i.e., the legacy RMP database) is not part of a park's Resource Stewardship Plan. Specific programs and projects necessary to implement the components of a park's comprehensive strategy would be addressed in detail, including funding and staffing requirements, in appropriate information systems and implementation plans.
7. Environmental Planning
7.1. The Resource Stewardship Plan is a long-term (10- to 20-year) program plan that is not a decision-making document. It specifies comprehensive strategies for use by park managers designed to achieve and maintain desired future resource conditions prescribed in the park's GMP. These resource conditions are normally within the scope of the analysis addressed by the GMP's Environmental Impact Statement and adopted in the Record of Decision. The comprehensive strategies provided by the Resource Stewardship Plan provide park managers with decision-making tools during subsequent strategic and implementation planning. Environmental analysis separate from the Resource Stewardship Plan may be required in conjunction with the planning of specific actions or undertakings.
7.2. Desired future resource conditions developed through resource stewardship planning are based on the management prescriptions contained in the current GMP. As a consequence, the Resource Stewardship Plan is routinely within scope of the GMP's Environmental Impact Statement and no additional environmental analysis will be necessary.
7.3. Interim desired future resource conditions are developed through resource stewardship planning when they cannot be based on management prescriptions or management objectives contained in a GMP. These interim desired future resource conditions will be evaluated in relation to the scope of the GMP's Environmental Impact Statement. Interim desired future conditions within the scope of the existing Environmental Impact Statement will require no additional environmental analysis; conditions outside the scope of the existing Environmental Impact Statement will require additional environmental analysis (e.g., environmental assessment, environmental impact statement, NHPA Section 106 compliance).
7.4. Interim desired future resource conditions
developed through resource stewardship planning that constitute a major
shift in direction or emphasis in relation to that specified in a GMP
may require a revision, amendment or addendum to the GMP and associated
environmental analysis before the Resource Stewardship Plan can be approved.
8.1. Each superintendent will be responsible for an approved, up-to-date Resource Stewardship Plan for his/her park; periodically updating that plan; and ensuring that appropriate interdisciplinary approaches, peer reviews and stakeholder consultations have occurred.
8.2. The Associate Director for Natural Resource Stewardship and Science, the Associate Director for Cultural Resources, and the Regional Directors are responsible for identifying qualified natural and cultural resource subject-matter specialists potentially available to either participate on interdisciplinary Resource Stewardship Plan planning teams or to serve as peer reviewers of draft Resource Stewardship Plans. Information on these subject-matter specialists will be made available to park superintendents.
8.3. There is no specific funding source set aside to support costs associated with resource stewardship planning. At Washington and regional office discretion, a portion of existing regionally allocated project funding may be made available to help defray certain resource stewardship planning costs.
of Director's Order----------
Comprehensive Strategy-A concise documented approach outlining
the logical sequence of steps necessary to achieve one or more desired
future resource conditions.
Desired Future Condition - Resource Condition - The resource
condition portion of a "management prescription" which is consistent
with a park's purpose/significance and specified in a park General Management
Plan. Desired future conditions concerning resources are usually expressed
as a qualitative description (e.g., natural resources are unimpaired and
generally unaffected by human influences while natural landscapes and
soundscapes predominate; provide maximum protection for certain exceptional
or fragile resources, such as unique fossils and sensitive archeological
sites). (Each management prescription consists of two integrated factors:
desired future condition-resource condition and desired future condition-visitor
Desired Future Condition - Visitor Experience - The visitor experience portion of a "management prescription" which is consistent with a park's purpose/significance and specified in a park General
Management Plan. Desired future conditions concerning visitor
experience are usually expressed as a qualitative description (i.e., visitors
explore remote areas of the park in a natural setting with opportunities
for solitude, independence, closeness to nature, and adventure as key
experiences). (Each management prescription consists of two integrated
factors: desired future condition-resource condition and desired future
Desired Future Resource Condition - The quantifiable or
otherwise objective science- or scholarship-based targets that correspond
with a desired future condition-resource condition.
Director's Order 2 - The NPS level 2 policy addressing park
planning. (Check www.nps.gov/policy for latest status.)
Foundation for park planning and management - A document
that defines the park's foundation of legal and policy mandates and the
prerequisite for all subsequent planning and decision making (refer to
Management Policies, Chapter 2 - Park Planning for additional information).
This foundation may be developed as the first stage of general management
planning or independently of a general management plan.
General Management Plan-The park's principle planning document
(refer to Management Policies, Chapter 2 - Park Planning for additional
information). The General Management Plan includes long-term direction
for desired conditions of park resources and visitor experiences, expressed
as management prescriptions.
Implementation Plan - Plans that tier off the park's general
management plan, program management plans, and park strategic plan and
describe in detail the high-priority actions that will be taken over the
next several years to help achieve the desired future conditions for the
Information System - A computer system including the data
residing in the system. Examples include the Project Management Information
System (PMIS), Operations Formulation System (OFS), List of Classified
Structures (LCS), and Resource Activity Management System (RAMS).
Interim Desired Future Resource Condition - Developed as
part of the resource stewardship planning process when a park's General
Management Plan does not possess current desired future conditions-resource
conditions. Interim desired future resource conditions are used in the
same manner as desired future resource conditions for resource stewardship
Management Objective - An objective specified in a General
Management Plan prepared pursuant to NPS policy prior to the issuance
of Director's Order 2 - Park Planning in 1998. They are primarily designed
as targets to be achieved by park management over the 10-20 year life
of these General Management Plans.
Management Prescription - Area-specific descriptions of
the resource conditions and visitor experience opportunities to be achieved
in each distinctive area of the park, and focusing on the fundamental
or otherwise nationally significant resources and values occurring in
each area together with the kinds and levels of management, access, and
development appropriate to maintaining those conditions and experiences.
(Management prescriptions that are park-wide, instead of area-specific,
are referred to as "Optimum Conditions" per DO-2 .)
Management Zone - A geographically delineated management
overlay of management prescriptions applicable to park lands and waters.
Measurable Value - A value that can either be measured directly
(i.e., a numerical value) or determined through the use of consistent
criteria (i.e., a descriptive value) and is reproducible by different
individuals utilizing the same protocols or criteria with an acceptable
degree of statistical validity.
Planner's Sourcebook - The title of the reference manual
accompanying Director's Order 2 - Park Planning and chapter 2 of Management
Policies, issued by the Associate Director, Park Planning, Facilities
and Lands. Sometimes referred to as "Reference Manual 2" or
Program Plan - Plans that identify and recommend the best
comprehensive strategies for achieving the desired future conditions and/or
visitor experiences related to a particular program area (refer to Management
Policies, Chapter 2 - Park Planning for additional information). The Resource
Stewardship Plan is one type of park program plan.
Reference Manual 2 - See the "Planner's Sourcebook."
Reference Manual 2-1 -- The title of the reference manual accompanying Director's Order 2-1 - Resource Stewardship Planning issued jointly by the by the Associate Director, Cultural Resource Stewardship and the Associate Director, Natural Resource Stewardship and Science.
Resource Condition-Dependent Visitor Experience-A desired future condition-visitor
experience whose realization is dependent upon achieving a specific resource
Resource Management Plan - The plan that details how both natural and cultural resources will be managed in a given park. (The Resource Management Plan is superceded by the Resource
Stewardship Plan addressed by this Director's Order.)
Resource Stewardship Plan - A "program plan" that identifies
and recommends the best comprehensive strategies for achieving a park's
desired future conditions-resource conditions relating to the cultural
resource and natural resource program areas, including those resource
conditions upon which visitor enjoyment is dependent.
Strategic Plan - Park plans that tier off a park's General Management
Plan and Program Plans, which makes decisions about which of the desired
conditions identified in those plans should be the highest park priorities
in the foreseeable future (usually about the next three to five years).
Program Standards: Resource Stewardship Plan - Required Elements
Each Resource Stewardship Plan will contain the following information
in the format and sequence shown, in a manner consistent with RM 2-1:
· Title page with:
· Introduction page with:
· Statement of Park Purpose and Significance (consistent with
park's Foundation Document and GMP);
· Management Prescriptions and Desired Future Conditions for resources
from General Management Plan, or Interim Desired Future Resource Conditions,
· Status of resource knowledge including currently identified
resources, expressed in terms of their ecological and cultural context
(e.g., a conceptual model of the interaction of ecosystem components and/or
an analysis of the local, regional and national cultural context)
· Desired Future Resource Conditions expressed in measurable values
using the variables and terms that will be used to express and measure
current resource conditions over time. Measurable quantitative or qualitative
values for each desired future resource condition are developed and described
in terms of:
· Current resource conditions expressed in measurable values or
ranges of values developed through inventory and monitoring programs or
by utilizing accepted resource condition assessment methodologies.
· Identification of resource information which is incomplete or
of uncertain quality necessary to assess current resource conditions and
provide a strategy for its acquisition;
· Trends in resource conditions or if insufficient information
is currently available from which to identify trends provide a strategy
for its acquisition and analysis;
· Identification and map, in conjunction with Management Zones
established in the General Management Plan:
· Areas of the park that are to be managed for natural or near
natural conditions (e.g., map where the desired future resource conditions
are to achieve and maintain native vegetation, natural erosion processes,
· Areas of the park that are to be managed for desired biotic
communities (e.g., map where the desired future resource conditions are
to achieve and maintain pinyon-juniper forest communities or coral reefs);
· Other spatial natural resource objectives linked to desired
future resource conditions;
· Areas of the park that are to be managed for historic setting
or cultural landscape conditions (e.g., map where the desired future resource
conditions are to achieve and maintain the appearance of a battlefield
site consistent with a specific date); and
· Spatially defined administrative or management zones specified
in other current planning documents that should be integrated into resource
stewardship planning (e.g., "potential wilderness" identified
in an NPS Wilderness Suitability Study, "national marine sanctuary
boundary" specified in an NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Management
Plan, 100-year flood hazard area delineated on a FEMA Flood Insurance
· Analyses of difference, vulnerability, and resource issues,
comparing the current resource conditions and desired future resource
conditions with stressors likely to affect future conditions;
· Evaluation of effectiveness of previous and existing resource
· Analyze alternative strategies to achieving and maintaining
desired future resource conditions for effectiveness, where appropriate,
particularly where there are potential interactions among strategies;
· Comprehensive resource stewardship strategies for achieving
Desired Future Resource Conditions (specifying the general types of activities
[e.g., inventory, restoration], the logical sequence of activities and
associated timeframes, human resources required, approximate cost in current
year dollars); and anticipated change in resource conditions each strategy
could achieve over the next five years with adequate human and fiscal
· Measures to resolve potential conflicts among comprehensive
· Park human and fiscal resources available to implement strategies;
· Identification of Relevant Existing or Needed Implementation