The Morning Report

Monday, September 22, 2014

Recent Editions  

INCIDENTS



Joshua Tree National Park (CA)
Search In Progress For Missing Woman

On Monday, September 8th, Nola Taylor, 84, left the Hi-Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree, en route to her quilting class at the Yucca Valley Community Center. She never arrived there.

Taylor’s vehicle was discovered by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department on Friday, September 12th, after her son reported her missing. The car appeared to have become disabled while turning around on a life estate private road in the park.

The sheriff’s department started an immediate search of the area using patrol personnel, aircraft, bloodhounds, and their own search and rescue teams. They did not realize at the time that this was an obscure portion of the park, but upon notification began cooperative efforts with park staff.  

Rangers and volunteers from the park's SAR team, JOSAR, are coordinating search activities with the sheriff's department on both sides of the park boundary. Taylor has still not been located.

[Submitted by Jennie Kish Albrinck, PIO]


Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (MI)
Rangers Respond To Diving Emergency

On September 18th, the Coast Guard in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, received a call for assistance from the research vessel David Boyd, which was inspecting a newly-discovered shipwreck in Lake Superior. The captain declared a SCUBA emergency and requested medical assistance for a 64-year-old diver who had ascended too quickly from a 220-foot-deep dive.  

The nearest Coast Guard vessel was five hours away, so assistance was sought from rangers in Grand Marais, Michigan.  Rangers Shaun Hughes and Matt Davis responded in the park boat along with members of the Burt Township ambulance corps and the local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

After battling waves up to six feet high, rangers made contact with the David Boyd approximately eight miles offshore of Grand Marais.  Park and local EMTs boarded the research vessel and found the diver to be suffering from probable decompression sickness – he was weak and lethargic and unable to move or bear weight on his legs.  

EMTs continued treatment as the ailing diver was transported to a waiting Valley Med Flight helicopter at the Grand Marais harbor.  He was then transported to a hyperbaric chamber in Marquette, Michigan, where he is still undergoing treatment.  Other assisting agencies included the Alger County Sheriff's office, Burt Township Fire Department and USCG Air Station Traverse City.

[Submitted by John Patmore, Chief Ranger]


Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Previously Convicted Felon Sentenced For Weapons Possession

On January 11th, rangers arrested Stephen Granieri, 39, for camping in an undesignated area and possession of about four ounces of marijuana. He was also found to have a loaded firearm in his possession. In addition to being a wanted person in two states, Granieri was also found to be a previously convicted felon who’d been found guilty of domestic violence.  

A special agent from the Investigative Services Branch and a special agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation in coordination with the U. S. Attorney’s Office.

On August 12th, Granieri was sentenced in federal court for being a felon in possession of a firearm.  The sentence includes 27 months imprisonment followed by three years of supervised probation and payment of a $500 fine, a $250 fee to offset drug testing and treatment, and a $100 special assessment for the crime victim's fund.  

[Submitted by Investigative Services Branch]


NEWS AND NOTES



Vicksburg National Military Park (MS)
Civil War Soldier Diaries Donated To Park

In a ceremony held on September 17th at the site of the Iowa Memorial, the Civil War diaries of John Hughes, Jr. who served with Company G, 28th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, during the Siege of Vicksburg, were donated to the park by Bruce Davidson, great-grandson of John Hughes, Jr. Superintendent, R. Michael Madell accepted the diaries on behalf of the park.

The diaries give an eyewitness account of the events that transpired during the summer of 1863. The accounts are recorded in seven diaries that start on April 16, 1861, and continue through 1864, when Hughes stopped recording daily entries, until 1906, when he was appointed as a member of the governor’s commission that traveled to Vicksburg and Chattanooga, Tennessee, to dedicate Iowa Monuments on those battlefields. Hughes was among those present for the Iowa Monument dedication at Vicksburg National Military Park in 1906. 

Traveling from Coronado, California, Davidson visited the park a year ago with the thought of possibly donating the diaries.   After consulting with other family members, the decision was made to donate the diaries to Vicksburg National Military Park earlier this year.  Davidson said that he was glad to find a home for the diaries where they will be cared for in perpetuity.

Included in one of the diaries is an account of what happened on July 4, 1863. Hughes wrote: 10:00 A.M. White flags are displayed!  The rebel regiments are marched out in front of their works where they stack arms and colors and return.  The renowned Gibraltar of the Confederacy is ours!” 

The diaries will play an invaluable role in enlightening the staff as well as future researchers on the events that occurred over 150 years ago through the eyes of a siege participant.

[Submitted by Elizabeth Joyner, elizabeth_joyner@nps.gov, 601-636-7840]

 More Information...
Geologic Resources Division
Call For Proposals Issued For Geoscientists-in-the-Parks Internships

The Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate has issued a call for proposals from parks and central offices for Geoscientists-in-the-Parks (GIP) positions for the spring and summer of 2015. 

Position descriptions must be entered by COB November 1st at: http://rock.geosociety.org/g_corps/2013/myGC_sup.asp.  The on-line system to upload position descriptions will be ready for use on October 1st.

The GIP program, administered by the Geologic Resources Division in partnership with The Geological Society of America’s GeoCorps America™ program, places persons 17 to 35 years old in parks and central offices for three to twelve months to help the NPS meet its natural resource science needs.

Science disciplines covered in the GIP program include geology, air resources, biological resources, climate change science, natural sounds, night skies, scenic resources, social science, and water resources. Projects that do not have a strong natural resource science component (e.g., trail construction and maintenance, exotic plant management) or emphasize disciplines other than natural resources (e.g., cultural resources, business) should be submitted to the Student Conservation Association or other NPS internship program such as the Cultural Resource Diversity Internship Program, or the NPS Business Plan Internship.

Parks, regions, and central office staff can propose natural resources projects that focus on research, inventory, monitoring, GIS and other technologies, and interpretation/education.  Examples of projects that are appropriate for the GIP Program are shown at the bottom of this announcement.

Geoscientists-in-the-Parks projects must:

  • be structured, rigorous science projects or educational or interpretive projects that use natural resource science as a basis for the materials produced and presented to the public;
  • have well-defined tasks and deliverables, and
  • allow a high degree of autonomy by the intern with a strong mentoring component by park staff.

NRSS will cover the administrative costs and travel stipend for up to two internships per park.  Parks or central offices hosting an intern are responsible for paying the intern’s stipend/living allowance (typically $3,000 for three months), providing housing (or a housing allowance), and paying 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 December 1st until January 31st. Application materials will be electronically distributed by GSA to the park mentor/supervisor who will conduct phone interviews and select a qualified GIP participant in February and March.

Examples of projects that are appropriate for the GIP Program include:

Research -- Researching the geologic history of a park unit or the distribution of plants or animals; studying migration or breeding patterns of a wildlife species; determining the timing and distribution of plants leafing out (phenology); documenting impacts to natural resources; determining how native cultures historically used natural resources in their everyday lives; using models and data to learn how changes in precipitation affect streams, ponds, and groundwater levels; collecting and analyzing data and historic records as part of a climate change vulnerability assessment; measuring shoreline profiles or analyzing historic photos to document changes in coastal geomorphology associated with sea level rise; researching spatio-temporal travel patterns and visitor use in parks; reviewing and summarizing literature on light pollution impacts to wildlife; collecting and analyzing data on visitor experiences, motivations, and behaviors with respect to natural resources; and researching causes and effects of visibility impairment and acid deposition;

Resource Inventories -- Mapping bedrock or surficial geology, caves, glaciers, paleontological resources, or plant or animal species; collecting acoustical data and conducting active listening sessions throughout a park to characterize the park’s soundscape; conducting scenic resource inventories; conducting gap analyses between baseline natural resource inventories;

Resource Monitoring -- Taking repeat measurements of a natural resource to detect change over time such as surface or groundwater quality, air quality, acoustical measurements; using repeat photography to measure change in natural resources such as the advance or retreat of glaciers or changes to paleontological or other natural resources; monitoring oil and gas operations;

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Other Technologies -- Developing a GIS database, acquiring geospatial datasets, conducting geospatial analysis, modeling, geospatial referencing, and creating GIS-based maps; developing photogrammetric data to support conservation, resource monitoring, and educational initiatives; conducting a viewshed analysis to determine if adjacent development can be seen from key park vantage points; taking SQM-L transects in parks with sensitive nocturnal species to monitor sky brightness, developing and populating a database to support NPS partnership efforts; and

Education/Interpretation -- Researching, developing, and presenting an interpretive talk or program that describes the natural resources or natural history of the park, developing park brochures, trail guides, or other educational materials covering one or more natural resource topics; designing a Junior Ranger activity book centered on a natural resource topic; collaborating with scientists and park interpreters to develop interpretive programs that integrate traditional ecological knowledge of local communities with citizen science; linking the park’s natural resources to those found elsewhere in the world; leading stargazing walks and talks; assisting with curating and cataloguing park’s natural resources (e.g, paleontological resources); and developing educational curriculum and activities for a variety of natural resource topics.

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

 More Information...
Fire and Aviation Management
Beta Testers Sought For Park Structural Fire Coordinator Course

Frustrated. It’s what you feel when you’re given a job or project that requires more knowledge and skills than you think you have. Despite the lack of information, the job still needs to get done and done well. 

So, what can you do? 

For those assigned the role of park structural fire coordinator (PSFC), primarily a collateral duty responsibility that lies outside of an employee’s main job description, help is on the way.

The NPS Structural Fire Program has developed an online course, "Park Structural Fire Coordinator Certification," which will expand a PSFC’s knowledge and skills required to conduct annual fire inspections and assist with the management of a park’s structural fire prevention program.

Among the topics covered in the course:

  • Elements of building construction and how construction affects fire growth.
  • Types of building occupancies.
  • Identification of fire hazards that place people and property at risk.
  • How to help building occupants eliminate or reduce fire hazards.
  • Preparing fire evacuation plans.
  • Understanding fire protection systems and how they function.

PSFCs are appointed by and assist the superintendent with meeting a park’s structural fire management responsibilities. Using textbook reading assignments, video segments, exercises, and quizzes, students will learn how to perform this duty successfully and confidently. Helpful hints and job aids included in the course will assist PSFCs in their duties. PSFCs who complete the course will receive a certificate of completion, which will be required for the position under recently updated policy.

The NPS Structural Fire Program is seeking 10 beta testers to complete the inaugural course and provide feedback before Servicewide release. Anyone who has ever been assigned PSFC duties, whether in a previous or current position, is encouraged to become a beta tester for this course. Interested individuals should contact Brian Johnson, National Fire Prevention Program Manager, at (208) 387-5497 or brian_johnson@nps.gov by October 2nd.

The course curriculum is based on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Inspector I and II courses. Future phases of the course will incorporate the entire Inspector I and II curriculum into an accredited course, allowing students to receive certification at both levels. Additional NPS-specific information will be added in the future.

Natural Resource Stewardship and Science
Eva DiDonato Named Chief Of Ocean And Coastal Resources Branch

Eva DiDonato has been selected as the new chief of the Ocean and Coastal Resource Branch within the Water Resource Division.

"Eva brings broad experience, a uniquely informed perspective, a love of parks and a deep passion for park service mission, fresh new ideas, and tremendous energy to the position and to the Water Resources Division leadership team," said Ed Harvey, the division's chief. "Eva is a true servant leader with a management style that is inclusive, encouraging, and collaborative, and I look forward to working with her to grow and strengthen the ocean and coastal resources program, to foster new, and nurture existing collaborations and partnerships across NPS, and to provide quality services to parks." 

Eva has over 16 years of federal service, with a majority of that time spent working for the Service's ocean and Great Lakes parks. She received her BS in biology from the University of Wisconsin, Superior, and her MS in biology from the University of West Florida.

Eva gained valuable experience in the Great Lakes while working on her BS and in the Gulf of Mexico while completing her MS and working at the Gulf Ecology Division of the Environmental Protection Agency.  

In October, 2001, Eva began her NPS career as a coral reef ecologist at the National Park of American Samoa. While there, she worked primarily on water quality, coral bleaching and disease and fish surveys. 

Eva then moved to Charleston, South Carolina, where she became the aquatic ecologist for the NPS inventory and monitoring program’s Southeast Coast Network.  While in this position, Eva designed and implemented the coastal water quality monitoring program for the network’s estuarine and nearshore marine waters. This work earned her a STAR award in 2006 for professional excellence in inventory and monitoring.

In her most recent position, Eva has been serving as the marine pollution ecologist in the Water Resource Division’s Ocean and Coastal Resource Branch. In this position Eva has enjoyed working with parks on a variety of issues, including ocean acidification, marine invasive species, harmful algal blooms, water quality, ecosystem services and submerged aquatic vegetation.

She also served a five-and-a-half month stint as acting branch chief. During her tenure, she began new Servicewide efforts looking at ocean acidification and hired a student intern to develop this program, established a new inter-branch/divisional fish advisory group to look more comprehensively at salt and freshwater fisheries and fishing issues across the NPS, and hired a new specialist in sea level change, creating a new emphasis area within the branch that will join and collaborate with other similar efforts across the directorate and the service.

“I am honored to be selected to serve in this new position, and I look forward to continued work on ocean and Great Lakes issues,” said Eva.  “It is a privilege to be involved with preserving such beautiful places.”

In her free time Eva enjoys hiking, making jewelry and spending time with her husband, Guy, and two young children, daughter, Talia, and son, Nate.  Eva will begin her new assignment on October 5th.

[Submitted by Ed Harvey, forrest_harvey@nps.gov, 970-225-3511]


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 September 19th.

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.

*****************

New Public Laws

Nothing to report.   

Floor Action

On September 15th, the House passed by voice vote the following bills of interest to the National Park Service:

  • H.R. 2569 (Welch, D-VT-At Large), to amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate segments of the Missisquoi River and the Trout River in the State of Vermont, as components of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.  The Department recommends that Congress defer action on the bill until the study is completed.
  • H.R. 4119 (Johnson, D-GA-4), to direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of the West Hunter Street Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA, and for other purposes.  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, NY, and for other purposes.  The Department supports the bill.

On September 17th, the House passed by a vote of 419-0, S. 476 (Cardin, D-MD), to amend the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Development Act to extend to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park Commission.  The bill would extend the authorization for the Commission for 10 years after enactment of the Act.  The Department supports the bill.  House passage clears the bill for the President.

On September 17th, the Senate passed by unanimous consent, H.R. 4751 (Kilmer, D-WA-6), to make technical corrections to Public Law 110-229 to reflect the renaming of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, and for other purposes.  The Department supports the bill.  Senate passage clears the bill for the President.

On September 18th, the Senate passed by a vote of 78-22, H.J. Res. 124 (Rogers, R-KY-5), Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2015.  The bill would extend funding for federal agencies, including the Department of the Interior, through December 11, 2014. The House passed the bill by a vote was 319–108 on September 17.  Senate passage clears the bill for the President. 

Committee Activity

On September 18th, the House Natural Resources Committee (Hastings) approved by voice vote the following bills of interest to the National Park Service:

  • H.R. 706 (Cicilline, D-RI-1), to establish the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park, to dedicate the Park to John  H. Chafee, and for other purposes.  The bill was amended to remove authority to acquire land by purchase, among other changes.  The Department supports the bill but has concerns about the legislation as amended.
  • H.R. 5003 (Gingrey, R-GA-11), to adjust the boundary of the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park to include the Wallis House and Harriston Hill, and for other purposes.  The bill was amended in several ways.  The Department supports the bill but has concerns about the legislation as amended. 
  • H.R. 5162 (Goodlatte, R-VA-6), to amend the Act entitled “An Act to allow a certain parcel of land in Rockingham County, Virginia, to be used for a child care center” to remove the use restriction, and for other purposes.  The bill would allow the property, which was conveyed to the county through the Federal Lands to Parks program, to be used for any purpose.  The Department opposes the bill. 

New Bills Introduced     

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

  • S. 2803 (King, I-ME), to remove a use restriction on land formerly a part of Acadia National Park that was transferred to the town of Tremont, Maine, and for other purposes.
  • H.R. 5517 (Lewis, D-GA-5), to redesignate the Martin Luther King, Junior, National Historic Site in the State of Georgia, and for other purposes.
  • S. 2873 (Coburn, R-OK), to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to acknowledge contributions at units of the National Park System.
  • S. 2861 (Nelson, D-FL), to authorize the Central Everglades Planning Project, Florida, and for other purposes.
  • S. 2857 (Blumenthal, D-CT), to direct the Secretary of the Interior to carry out a study regarding the suitability and feasibility of establishing the Naugatuck River Valley National Heritage Area in Connecticut, and for other purposes.

Upcoming Committee Activity

Nothing to report.


*****************

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

[Submitted by Andrea Dekoter]


CAREER OPPORTUNITIES



Grand Canyon National Park (AZ)
GL-0025-9 Protection Ranger (Lateral)

Grand Canyon National Park is seeking qualified candidates for lateral reassignment to the South Rim District’s Fee and Commercial Enforcement Unit. Applicants must be GL-0025-9 career or career-conditional rangers to qualify.

This is a non-supervisory law enforcement position in the Visitor and Resource Protection Division.  As a Level I commissioned ranger, the person selected will be responsible for performing an array of law enforcement duties, including detection, investigation, apprehension, and prosecution under applicable laws, rules, and regulations. The work unit supports Grand Canyon’s fee management operations, commercial enforcement, and emergency service operations.

This full-time position is stationed at Desert View on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, located in northwest Arizona at an elevation of approximately 7,000 feet.  The Desert View community consists of a small population of residents, including employees of the NPS and concessionaires and their families. 

Amenities in the area are varied including the Desert View Watchtower, Visitor Center, Trading Post, Tusayan Ruins, campground, general store, and gas station.  A wider range of services, including a school and clinic, are located 26 miles west in Grand Canyon Village. Larger amenities and hospital are located approximately 80 miles away in Flagstaff.

Employees obtain housing through a bid system or by assignment to temporary shared furnished quarters. When an employee is assigned shared quarters, the park is not able to provide accommodations for family member and pets. For additional housing information contact the park housing office at 928-638-7853.

Work will be performed on a variable schedule, including nights, weekends, and holidays. This is a required occupancy position. Permanent change of station (PCS) moving expenses will be authorized. 

Interested applicants should contact Supervisory Park Ranger Joseph Hughes at joseph_hughes@nps.gov or Brett Hergert at (928) 638-7910.  Application packages should include the following:

  • A resume or OF 612, Optional Application for Federal Employment or SF-171.
  • A current SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action.
  • A copy of the employee’s most recent performance appraisal.

Applications may be submitted electronically or by mail.  Applications must be postmarked/dated by October 6th. Submit electronic applications to joseph_hughes@nps.gov. Submit mailed applications to Joseph Hughes, Ranger Operations, P.O. Box 129, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023.