Renewable Natural 

Resources Foundation


Congress on Environmental Science Issues Facing

the U.S. Congress and Natural Resources Agencies


November 30-December 1, 2006
American Geophysical Union Conference Facility
2000 Florida Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by

National oceanic and atmospheric administration

U.s. geological survey


Introduction        Program        Program committee

More than ever before, environmental science-based programs of the federal government are being scrutinized because of mounting budgetary pressures. Such programs must be efficient, efficacious, and closely aligned with agency objectives. At the same time, the need for science-based management of natural resources has never been greater. Environmental challenges faced by federal agencies are multiplying, and are increasingly complex and technical--and adverse impacts on the environment are increasing. Thus, despite budgetary pressures to the contrary, the U.S. needs to invest more on environmental science and management--not less.
Natural resources are facing new and growing pressures as human population and associated development increases. Especially significant pressures include demands relative to water quality and availability, increasing demands for natural resources, expanding energy development on public lands and associated environmental impacts, and declining terrestrial and marine environments (including the free fall of numerous marine fisheries).

Federal agencies are responding to these pressures with innovative environmental science programs, including the U.S. Geological Survey's water resources program, the USDA Forest Service's research and development programs, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service sustainable fisheries program. An examination of the environmental science and management programs featured in case studies identified the ingredients of their success, and suggested avenues for further refinement and enhancements.

The overall goals of the congress were to showcase, critique, and offer recommendations for improving vital natural resources programs. Findings and recommendations for expanding the successes of these programs and overcoming program challenges were developed through interdisciplinary discussion and action. To achieve these goals, the congress focused on the following objectives:

    -Provide an interactive forum for researchers and policymakers to discuss the state of environmental science within federal agencies.

    -Examine critical environmental science programs and assess opportunities to translate successes to other programs and to learn from program challenges.

    -Identify opportunities for the professional and scientific community, universities, federal and state agencies, and NGOs to contribute to expanding programs’ successes and overcoming the identified challenges. Such efforts can include building understanding of the issues; engaging in technical assistance type activities; and/or serving as clearinghouses for necessary information.


Barry Starke
RNRF Chairman
Ross Gorte
Congressional Research Service
Kei Koizumi
AAAS
Robert Hirsch
U.S. Geological Survey
Steve Murawski
NOAA
Richard Guldin
USDA Forest Service
Lisa Turner
Government Accountability Office
James Perry
Bureau of Land Management



David Goldston
House Science Committee




  

Program

November 30, 2006 

8:30 am - 9:00 am
Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00 am - 9:05 am
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Barry W. Starke, RNRF Chairman
Former President, American Society of Landscape Architects
President, Earth Design Associates, Casanova, Va.
 
9:05 am - 9:15 am
Congress Context and Goals
Robert D. Day, RNRF Executive Director, Bethesda, Md.
   
9:15 am - 9:45 am
Environmental Science-Based Issues Facing the U.S. Congress and Natural Resources Agencies
Ross W. Gorte, Head, Natural Resources Section, Congressional Research Service, Washington, D.C.
Environmental challenges faced by federal agencies are multiplying, and are increasingly complex and technical. Natural resources are facing new and growing pressures as human population and associated development increases. The speaker will identify and discuss grand challenges facing natural resources, Congress, and federal agencies. These challenges include invasive species, water quality, climate variability, land use, sustainable fisheries, and energy development.   

9:45 am - 10:05 am
Discussion and Questions
   
10:05 am - 10:35 am
Pressures on Environmental Science-Based Programs in Federal Agencies
Kei Koizumi, Director, R&D Budget and Policy Program, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, D.C.
More than ever before, environmental science-based programs of the federal government are being scrutinized because of mounting budgetary pressures. Such programs must be efficient, efficacious, and closely aligned with agency objectives. At the same time, the need for science-based management of natural resources has never been greater. The speaker will discuss these budgetary pressures and reductions in support and offer some generalizations on the responsibilities of federal agencies and Congress.
   
10:35 am - 10:55 am
Discussion and Questions
   
10:55 am - 11:15 am
Break
   
11:15 am - 11:45 am
Case Study I: Water Quality and Availability
Robert Hirsch, Associate Director for Water, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Va.
Clean water in sufficient quantity to provide for fish and wildlife, human needs, and other ecosystem services has been an environmental issue for decades, but this issue will continue to intensify as human population and demand for appropriation of freshwater increase. Federal programs promote the use of science to support critical water-resources decisions and an appreciation of the contribution of ecosystem goods and services to society. These programs focus on assessing water quality, water availability, and water needs--many times in the face of decreased funding. At the U.S. Geological Survey, for example, monitoring programs and research activities have provided the basis for a strong water resources portfolio. Programs such as the National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) monitor the quality of water resources in key watersheds. The streamgage and observation well network assesses water availability and monitors for changes in flow and availability. The speaker will discuss some of the challenges associated with water resources research and monitoring, and offer perspectives on programs designed to meet these challenges, and future program and research needs.

11:45 am - 12:15 pm
Discussion and Questions
   
12:20 pm - 1:30 pm
Lunch
   
1:45 pm - 2:15 pm
Case Study II: Sustainable Marine Fisheries and Ecosystems
Steve Murawski, Director of Scientific Programs and Chief Science Advisor for NOAA Fisheries Service, and Ecosystem Goal Team Lead, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring, Md.
Terrestrial and marine environments are declining--including the free fall of numerous marine fisheries. Agencies charged with managing marine fisheries and ecosystems are working to prevent overfishing, rebuild overfished stocks, protect fish habitat, minimize bycatch, enhance research, and improve monitoring. NOAA Fisheries, through its Office of Sustainable Fisheries, is overseeing and implementing steps to meet these objectives. Essential fish habitats are being identified, restoration activities are underway, a fisheries information system has been implemented, and a fisheries research strategic plan has been developed and is being implemented.
   
2:15 pm - 2:45 pm
Discussion and Questions
   
2:45 pm - 3:15 pm
Case Study III: Forestry Research and Development
Richard Guldin, Director, Policy & Quantitative Sciences, USDA Forest Service Research and Development, Washington, D.C.
Forests are major components of the earth's natural resources and are increasingly vital to the welfare of the U.S. economy, environment, and population. The USDA Forest Service's Research and Development program is the largest forestry research organization in the world and a major catalyst of national and international science-based forest conservation. Forest Service scientists conduct basic and applied research to study biological, physical, and social sciences related to very diverse forests and rangelands. The research promotes ecologically sound management of these vast natural resources.
   
3:15 pm - 3:45 pm
Discussion/Questions
   
3:45 pm - 4:05 pm
Break
   
4:05 pm - 4:35 pm
Panel on Environmental Impacts of Energy Development on Federal Lands
Lisa Turner, Senior Analyst, Natural Resources & Environment, U.S.Government Accountability Office, Washington, D.C.
Jim Perry, Senior Natural Resource Specialist, Division of Fluid Minerals, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Washington, D.C.
Natural resources are facing increased pressure as development increases, the demand for domestic energy sources increases, and competition for resource use becomes increasingly complex. With the increased demand for domestic energy sources, concerns have grown about the environmental impacts of energy development activities on federal lands. The Bureau of Land Management is responsible for leasing oil and gas and geothermal resources on all federally owned lands, including those lands managed by other federal agencies. Panelists will examine how development activities are affecting the landscape and assess the effectiveness of mitigation efforts.

   
4:35 pm - 5:00 pm     Discussion/Questions

   

December 1, 2006


8:30 am - 9:00 am
Continental Breakfast
   
9:00 am - 9:35 am
Challenges of Sustaining Federal Science and Legislating Science into Public Policy
David J. Goldston, Chief of Staff, House Science Committee

9:35 am - 10:00 am
Discussion and Questions
   
10:00 am - 10:10 am
Explanation of Working Group Procedures
  
10:10 am - 10:30 am
Break
   
10:30 am - 11:40 am
Working Group Session I
   
11:40 am - 12:40 pm
Working Group Session II
   
12:40 pm - 1:40 pm
Lunch
  
1:40 pm - 2:40 pm
Working Group Session III
   
2:40 pm - 3:00 pm
Concluding Remarks
Robert D. Day, RNRF Executive Director


Program committee

Daina Apple, Office of the Deputy Chief for Research and Development, USDA Forest Service
Laura Bies, Associate Director of Public Affairs, The Wildlife Society
Robert D. Day, RNRF Executive Director
Jo Leslie Eimers, Staff Assistant for Special Issues, Office of the Associate Director for Water, U.S. Geological Survey
Peter Folger, Former Public Affairs Manager, American Geophysical Union
Ross Gorte, Head, Natural Resources Section, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress
Albert A. Grant, RNRF At-Large Officer; Former President, American Society of Civil Engineers; Consulting Civil Engineer
Michael Hutchins, Executive Director, The Wildlife Society
Scott Kovarovics, Federal Government Affairs Manager, American Society of Landscape Architects
Christopher Lant, Executive Director, Universities Council on Water Resources
Howard N. Rosen, Former President, Society of Wood Science and Technology; Chemical Engineer—USDA Forest Service (retired)
Barry W. Starke, RNRF Chairman; Former President, American Society of Landscape Architects
David L. Trauger, Director, Northern Virginia Center, College of Natural Resources, Virginia Tech





Introduction        Program        Program Committee