Moving to meet mounting invasive insect and plant threats, while fine-tuning resource management techniques at its 120 state parks, the Bureau of State Parks has announced formation of a new Natural Resource Program Specialists unit tasked with a wide range of field activities and projects.
Three new bureau employees, all with scientific backgrounds, have been hired to coordinate resource enhancements and work with park managers in three geographic zones in the state. Their work begins January 12.
“Regional application of specialized field expertise certainly is not new within DCNR,” said Secretary Ellen Ferretti. “Engineering, several fields of expertise in the Bureau of Forestry, grants and other aspects of DCNR’s work all function more smoothly because of it, but this is the first time the Bureau of State Parks will be assigning resource managers to field areas.
“They will be responsible for a variety of resource management activities and project coordination, including establishment of regional objectives and the development, revision, and implementation of park-specific resource prescriptions.”
The secretary said the new unit will enable the bureau’s Resource Management and Planning Division to increase emphasis on establishing statewide priorities and proactive natural resource protection initiatives—at both the park and bureau level.
Leading the bureau on wildlife, aquatic resource and other issues, as well as data and research coordination, this bureau division will profit greatly from the specialists’ work, Ferretti said.
“These field service specialists will be responsible for a variety of resource management activities and project coordination work,” Ferretti said, “that will range from park-specific recommendations to advising park managers on overall resource management policies and practices.”
Specifically, the new managers assigned to eastern, central and westerns zones will offer guidance and assistance:
-- On forest pest management protocols developed by DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry for addressing the hemlock woolly adelgid, emerald ash borer and gypsy moth;
-- On invasive plant suppression techniques, including species identification, herbicide selections and application techniques;
-- On parkland restoration, including planting techniques and species selection;
They also will:
— Conduct resource inspections identifying and prioritizing high-value habitat areas within parks;
— Develop management prescriptions—including actions, time lines and potential partners;
— Develop, implement and document best practices to be incorporated in the park’s management plan.
“For years, the bureau has focused on outdoor recreation and education within the parks’ outstanding natural resources,” said Bureau of State Parks Director David Kemmerer. “The addition of these positions reflects the bureau’s continued and expanding emphasis on protecting those natural resources for the enjoyment and appreciation of future generations.”
Headed by Rachel Wagoner, section chief of the bureau’s Resource Management and Field Services Section, the new field services unit consists of: Mike DiRinaldo, Western Area, a former forester with the Gallitzin State Forest District, based in Ebensburg, Cambria County; Emilee Boyer Euker, Central Area, formerly an environmental review specialist working with the Bureau of Forestry at its Harrisburg headquarters; and Shon Robbins, Eastern Area, formerly a regional wildlife biologist with Pheasants Forever Inc.(Reprinted from the December 24 issue of the Resource newsletter from DCNR.)