GWS members garner USNPS Director's awards for natural resources
Three GWS members — Russ Galipeau, Jan Balsom, and David Manski — were among the winners in the most recent round of the US National Park Service Director's Awards for Natural Resources. Given annually, these awards are among the highest honors agency resource personnel can receive. Their citations follow.
Superintendent of the Year for Natural Resource Stewardship – Russell Galipeau, Superintendent, Channel Islands National Park: “Superintendent Russell Galipeau has managed Channel Islands National Park (CHIS) with vision and long-term commitment to the stewardship of natural resources. Russell has demonstrated skill in ecology, law and policy, and public relations through negotiations culminating in 2011 that will bring the park’s Santa Rosa Island to a dramatically improved ecological condition. Conditions on Santa Rosa Island prior to his arrival at the park in 2003 included highly degraded natural vegetation due to severe overgrazing and severe decline of an endemic subspecies of island fox due to invasive golden eagles. Thanks to Galipeau’s leadership, large populations of destructive feral sheep and pigs were removed and remaining foxes were placed in protective facilities on Santa Rosa while trapping and removal of golden eagles commenced. Additionally, in order to comply with Clean Water Act violations and protect rare and endemic populations, Superintendent Galipeau successfully established an agreement to remove exotic deer and elk. Superintendent Galipeau’s actions through 2011 have insured that the 54,000-acre Santa Rosa Island will be protected and restored from damage caused by previously occurring non-native species.”
Natural Resource Management – Jan Balsom, Deputy Chief for Science and Resource Management, Grand Canyon National Park: “Jan took on the challenges of three high-profile issues at Grand Canyon National Park that had far-reaching and long-term resource management implications Servicewide. Jan supported the development of a 10-year protocol for high-flow releases at Glen Canyon Dam, non-native fish removal from the Colorado River within an area sacred to traditionally associated Tribes, and the withdrawal of over a million acres of public land surrounding the park from uranium mining. The High Flow Protocol is an essential management decision-tool for rebuilding beaches and habitat in the Grand Canyon and helps protect cultural resources. Through interagency and government-to-government cooperation, Jan helped determine the most appropriate measures for removing non-native fish from the Colorado River to protect the endangered humpback chub. Finally, thanks in part to Jan’s efforts, Secretary Salazar was able to sign the record of decision (ROD) to withdraw over 1 million acres of public land surrounding Grand Canyon from mineral entry for uranium production.
Natural Resource Management – David Manski, Chief, Division of Resource Management, Acadia National Park: “David Manski has had a long and distinguished career in support of natural resource preservation in the National Park Service. During the award year, David took the lead for integrating the natural and cultural conservation elements and coordinating campus operations at the Schoodic Education and Research Center (SERC), which will have a lasting impact on the continued management of Acadia. David coordinated the largest to date Schoodic bioblitz, which is being incorporated into a multi-year peer-reviewed publication. Additionally, through David’s management, the park has nearly eliminated many wetland invasive plants, supported nationally recognized monitoring and research on mercury pollution, replaced culverts to restore key fish passageways, and implemented science-based techniques to manage visitor impacts to montane ecosystems. His efforts have helped employ and engage young scientists in park programs, which have included a focus on sea level rise and implications for significant seabird-nesting islands. He has also served as a global natural resource ambassador through a Middle East fellowship, provided a host park for Middle Eastern visitors, participated in a recent mission to China, and assisted with development of protected area management in Oman.”