A Bounty of Summer NAEP Activity

A plethora of NAEP activity has occurred in all facets of the organization since the circulation of the last newsletter: membership, chapters, publications including a new Editor-in-Chief, Annual NEPA Report, coordination with the General Accountability Office, education, marketing and communications, preparation for the 2018 Annual Conference, leadership, and a new Association Manager.

Membership

The membership committee, under the leadership of Committee Chair Leslie Tice, has reported a steady uptick in membership since the beginning of the year. NAEP and the affiliated chapters represent approximately 5,000 environmental professionals nationwide. While laudable, this represents a fraction of the approximately 155,000 environmental scientists, engineers, and specialists employed in the United States,.[1] We clearly have the opportunity for increased growth—please invite your colleagues to join NAEP. The greater our numbers, the more effectively we can represent the diverse needs of environmental professionals. NAEP will be providing the U.S. House of Representatives with information regarding the important benefits that accrue to environmental professionals through their participation in professional organizations in relation to the consideration of the House Interior Appropriations Bill.

In the Committee’s report, which accompanies the Fiscal Year 2018 Interior Appropriations bill, the following language appears:

PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES
The Committee recognizes that maintaining the professional competencies of the Federal workforce is necessary to assure sound scientific management principles are applied to resource management. Professional societies, such as the Society of American Foresters, the Society for Range Management, The Wildlife Society, American Fisheries Society, and others provide opportunities for employees to maintain professional competencies through continuing education, scientific journals, and interaction with other professionals. The Committee encourages the Federal agencies funded in this bill to support the participation of employees in such professional societies in accordance with guidance issued by the Office of Government Ethics through 5 CFR Part 2640.203, Official Participation in Nonprofit Organizations. (p. 7)

[1] United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. December 2015. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Life, Physical, and Social Scientists> Environmental Scientists and Specialists,” and “Architecture and Engineering, Environmental Engineers.” Available at: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/environmental-scientists-and-specialists.htm and https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/environmental-engineers.htm

Chapters

On July 21, 2017, Stanley Consultant, Inc. (Elected Board Member Courtney Arena) hosted representatives from 9 of the 15 affiliated chapters in a Chapter Retreat at their offices in West Palm Beach, Florida. The retreat was organized by the Chair of the Chapters Pillar and Committee, Bill Plumpton, with excellent support from Kristin Bennett. NAEP and affiliated chapter leadership met to engage in a dialogue about how best to serve the needs of the environmental professions and the environmental scientists, specialists, and engineers who serve throughout the nation, developing, implementing, and ensuring compliance with federal, state, and local statutes and regulations. It was an engaging and productive dialogue that will be summarized in a report to be presented to the NAEP Board in its October 2017 meeting, and which will serve to prioritize and guide activities. Following the Chapter Retreat, the Florida Chapter hosted an excellent event at ER Bradley’s Saloon where the networking and exchange of ideas continued.

Publications

In early August 2017, the Publications Committee, under the leadership of Pillar and Committee Chair and NAEP Vice-President, Betty Dehoney, executed a contract for a new editor-in-chief of Environmental Practice, Frank Dirrigl. Frank comes to NAEP from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley where he teaches courses in Environmental Science & Public Policy; Environmental Regulations, and Impact Analysis; and Biological Writing. Frank will attend the October Board Meeting and the 2018 Conference in Tacoma, Washington. Please make a point of introducing yourself and take some time to brainstorm ideas for submitting articles to Environmental Practice. Submittals to the newsletter and Environmental Practice are on the rise, so look forward to increasing content in the upcoming issues.

Annual NEPA Report

In June 2017, the NAEP National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Practice Group (formerly known as the NEPA Working Group), chaired by Chuck Nicholson, issued the ninth NEPA Annual Report. The report is distributed to members and to the Council on Environmental Quality, who distributes it to federal agency NEPA liaisons. The report contains summaries of the latest developments in NEPA as well as the NEPA Practice Group’s efforts in 2016. This annual report is prepared and published through the initiative and volunteer efforts of members of the NEPA Practice Group. The 2016 NEPA Annual Report comprises six primary components:

Introduction
The NEPA Practice in 2016
Just the Stats on 2016 EISs Filed with the U.S. EPA
Preparation Times for Environmental Impact Statements Made Available in 2016
Recent Congressional Legislation Regarding NEPA
2016 NEPA Cases in the U.S. Courts of Appeal and Cumulative Impacts Cases

Coordination with General Accountability Office 

In early July 2017, representatives from the NAEP Executive Board and the NEPA Practice Group met, via teleconference, with representatives of the General Accountability Office, as part of an audit required pursuant to the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The review included an overview of NAEP and the mission of the organization; information regarding environmental consultations and permitting; the challenges created by streamlining; strategies that might be considered to improve the timeliness of permitting and consultation, in a manner that is protective of the environment; and data related to processing of NEPA documents. The full text of the subsequent written response is provided in this newsletter and on the NAEP website at: http://www.naep.org/naep-response-to-inquiry-from-the-u-s--government-accountability-office-regarding-resource-agency-streamlining---engagement-101946.

Education

Under the leadership of Education Chair Shannon Stewart, NAEP hosted webinars on NEPA Case Law and Legislative Updates. The Education Committee is hard at work developing upcoming webinars related to Environmental Justice, Streamlining, and Avian Issues. The NAEP/American Public University (APU) partnership continues, and there will be two additional webinars in that series in September and November. The affiliated California AEP hosted a successful NEPA Essentials workshop at four locations in June 2017 and is developing a pilot Advanced NEPA workshop for the fall of 2017.

Marketing and Communications

Under the direction of pillar and Committee Chair David Mattern, the marketing and communications team has issued an RFP for rebranding NAEP outreach materials and the website. The responses to the RFPs are being evaluated and the committee is expected to make a recommendation at the October 2017 Board Meeting, for approval of a consultant and initiation of services.

2018 Annual Conference

Many thanks go to Rona Spellecacy for stepping into the role of Permanent Conference Chair. She is being assisted by Kristin Bennett. Rona and Kristin are working closely with the Association Headquarters (Ann Mitchell and Tatiana Veres); Chair of Local Conference Committee Josh Jensen; and Track Chair Caroline Levenda to organize the 2018 NAEP Annual Conference: Sound Leadership in Environmental Adaptation and Resiliency. The Call for Papers closes on September 15, 2017, so please get your submittal in for timely consideration, http://www.naep.org/2018-naep-conference-call-for-papers. Nearly 400 people attended the 2017 Annual Conference in Durham, North Carolina, and we hope to see you all again in Tacoma!

Leadership

Ron Deverman, past NAEP president and Chair of the Leadership Committee, continues to support the development of emerging and advancing environmental professionals. After hosting a leadership webinar in the spring, Ron and his committee have continued their efforts to emphasize the importance of active participation in NAEP as a conduit for developing technical as well as professional and leadership skills. He has been working closely with the Student Chapter of APU and provided some provocative opening remarks at the Chapter Retreat regarding the merits of “dialogue” over “discussion.”  Look it up—you’ll choose your words carefully moving forward!

Meet New NAEP Executive Manager Lynne Bynder

At the March 2017 Board Meeting, after accepting the resignation of the prior Executive Manager, the Board acted swiftly to authorize the retention of a new Executive Manager for NAEP to serve from July 2017 through June 2018. Lynne Bynder, Owner of Meetings Xceptional, has agreed to serve as the Executive Manager. Lynne and her associate Candace attended the Chapter Retreat and had an opportunity to meet much of the leadership of NAEP and the affiliated chapters. Lynne ran the July Board Meeting and is busy engaging the committees and the members and affiliated chapters served by NAEP.


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