NEON Project Scientist at Boulder Headquarters

Project Scientist

This position reports to the Project Manager. The Project Scientist coordinates the design and development of scientific activities during the construction phase of the Observatory. The Project Scientist oversees, leads and guides the efforts of NEON Staff Scientists to ensure the scientific integrity and viability of science requirements in all measurement and observation systems for the Observatory during construction. The Project Scientist is responsible for the day-to-day management of the science product teams assuring the quality of science and meeting schedules, budgets and the production of work products.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
• Ensures the integrity, traceability and viability of the NEON scientific requirements in the design and development activities of the NEON construction project. S/he will be responsible for performing essential scientific analyses to build and deliver integrated measurement and observation sub-systems and articulating alternative solutions as necessary.
• Leads and manages the NEON scientific teams (Fundamental Instrument Unit, Fundamental Sampling Unit, Aquatics and STREON, and Collections and Laboratory Analysis) and the Commissioning Scientist in their timely execution of project activities leading to the delivery of scientific products, including the development of the annual budget, planning and staffing.
• Facilitates the timely delivery of Data Products through the identification of sensor suppliers, development of sampling protocols, site selections and the provision of algorithms for data processing, and the oversight of the relevant contracts and procurements.
• Defines and implements the science commissioning activities that lead to the verification of NEON science requirements, to ensure all data adheres to NEON quality standards.
• Serves as the primary scientific representative and spokesperson for scientific matters related to constructing the Observatory to include liaising with site owners, technical working groups, the NEON Observatory Scientist and other advisory groups as necessary. Coordinates communications with the NEON Observatory Scientist to ensure consistent messaging to external stakeholders (STEAC, NSF, NEON members).
• Interacts with other construction Product Team Leaders in the execution of project activities to optimize implementation of scientific requirements across subsystems.

Required Education, Experience, Knowledge, Skills:

• PhD with at least 10 years of expertise and established record of outstanding scholarly achievement in ecology or other discipline related to the NEON Science mission.
• Strong program management experience to include leading and managing large and interdisciplinary teams of scientists, as well as coordinating the design, development, and implementation of multiple, diverse projects and the teams of scientists supporting them.
• Strong leadership and interpersonal/communication skills, especially with regard to team building among diverse professional and technically-trained staff, with the ability to translate efficiently the needs/responsibilities of the project into effective work plans for the science teams.
• Extensive experience successfully advocating for a scientific organization to government agencies, funding organizations, and other stakeholders.
• Strong scientific credentials, with an outstanding record of achievement.
• Broad knowledge of ecological sciences and related fields applicable to NEON including one or more of the following: taxonomy and systematics, evolutionary biology, epidemiology, remote sensing and informatics. Knowledge of biodiversity, disease, population, or community ecology is desirable.
• Experience with/understanding of planning, development, implementation, operation and supervision of ecological field studies, analytical laboratories, and data collection.
• Knowledge of field and instrument sampling and measurement techniques.

Preferred Education, Experience, Knowledge, Skills:
• Broadly trained in field-based ecology and related sciences relevant to NEON.
• Experience addressing science questions at broad geographic scales; preferably at the regional to continental scale.
• Experience with statistical and modeling experience in large scale ecology.
• History of active engagement with the ecological and natural resources management communities.
• Experience in developing and communicating science policy and plans.
• Familiarity with development and commissioning of large-scale science projects with distributed sites and management.
• Experience in implementing or managing inventory and monitoring programs.
• History of good communication experience among multiple partners — academic, government, nonprofit and private.
• Knowledge of field-based biology protocols and best practices.
• Direct experience working with field crews and field stations.
• Experience working in a collaborative scientific enterprise or project.
• Ability to coach, mentor and counsel junior scientists with a wide range of experience, skills and interests.
• Self-starter, who can create new opportunities, use novel methods, analyses and approaches to enable continental-scale research.

This is a term position with work scheduled until December 31, 2017.

Must have permanent authorization for US employment.

Please apply to:

NEON Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women, Minorities, Veterans and Disabled Persons are encouraged to apply.

August 9, 2014

Minutes of the ESA Governing Board,
August 9-10, 2014
Sacramento, CA 

Members Present
Jill Baron                     President
Scott Collins               Past-President
David Inouye              President-Elect
Leslie Real                  VP for Finance
Sharon Collinge          VP for Public Affairs
Valerie Eviner             VP for Science
Julie Reynolds            VP for Education and Human Resources
Charles Canham         Secretary
Carmen Cid                 Member at Large
Stephen Jackson        Member at Large
Michelle Mack             Member at Large

Staff Present
Katherine McCarter    Executive Director
Elizabeth Biggs          Directory of Finance
Cliff Duke                   Director, Science
Michelle Horton          Director, Administration and Meetings
Teresa Mourad           Director, Education and Diversity
David Baldwin            Managing Editor
Sue Silver                   Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers
Alison  Mize                Director, Public Affairs
Regina Przygocki       Publications Office

Incoming Board Members
Evan Delucia
Monica Turner
Ana Elisa Perez Quintero

Guests Sunday, August 10, 2014
Hal Balbach    2014 Program Chair
Carol Brewer   2015 Program Chair
Jing Duan        EHS Managing Editor for China
Aaron Ellison  Editor in Chief, Ecological Monographs
Nancy Huntly Centennial Implementation Committee
Ed Johnson     Editor in Chief, ESA Bulletin
Debra Peters    Editor in Chief, Ecosphere
Josh Schimel   Publications Committee Chair
Don Strong     Editor in Chief, Ecology
Yonglong Lu   Editor in Chief, Ecosystem Health and Sustainability

9:00 am, August 9, 2014, meeting called to order by President Jill Baron 

  1. Roll Call and Agenda
  1. Adopt Agenda
    Sharon Collinge moved and David Inouye seconded a motion to approve the agenda.  All aye.
  2. Ratification of Vote-Minutes from May 2014
    David Inouye moved and Sharon Collinge seconded ratification of the minutes of the May 2014 meeting.  All aye.


  1. Reports


  1. Report of the President

Jill Baron reserved comments for later in the meeting, and thanked ESA staff for all of their efforts on behalf of the Society.  She also stressed the importance of retention and recruitment of members.


  1. Report of the ESA Staff

Katherine McCarter previewed reports that will be provided by staff during the meeting.

Alison Mize summarized efforts of the Public Affairs office, particularly with reference to activities in Congress.  David Inouye suggested doing more to inform members of letters sent to Congress from the Society.  Sue Silver thanked the Frontiers editorial board for their efforts to keep the quality of articles high.  David Baldwin has been on leave in Mexico, and thanked Regina Przygocki and Publication Office staff for the smooth running of the journals in his absence.   Cliff Duke reviewed efforts by the Science Office, focusing on the new program on “Sustaining Biological Infrastructure” to offer short courses on non-profit management.  He also updated the board on activities related to the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.   Michelle Horton gave the board an update on the Sacramento meeting.  Growth in the size of the meeting program has required use of nearby hotels for some sessions.  Teresa Mourad noted that approximately 30 SEEDS students will be participating in the 2014 meetings.  She provided details of the recent SEEDS program review and noted that results will be presented in both a poster and an oral session during the meetings.  She summarized approaches for funding the program. A video will be shown in the opening plenary to encourage member donations to the program.  Regina Przygocki reviewed activities in the Publications Office, including major updates in the software infrastructure for the journals.  Elizabeth Biggs reviewed membership trends over the past 18 years.  There was an increase in membership following the launch of Frontiers in 2003.  Since then membership has fluctuated, but dropped below 9000 in 2013.  There was discussion of a number of new initiatives to strengthen the sense of community among professional ecologists, and recent efforts to increase participation by students and early career ecologists in activities of the Society.


  1. Financial Update


  1. Fourth Quarter Financials

Elizabeth Biggs and Katherine McCarter reviewed the budget and fourth quarter financial report.   Katherine noted that this is the first budget in many years that does not include a surplus that can be allocated to reserves.  Financial challenges with scientific publications continue to put pressure on the budget.  Subscription revenue over the past year was significantly below budget, in part because of restructuring of subscription fees that reduced subscription costs to a number of institutional subscribers.  Total revenue was more than $400,000 below budget, but expenses were lower by a similar amount, so it is anticipated that there may only be a small draw on unrestricted funds to balance the budget.


III. Discussion/Action Items


  1. FY 2014-2015 ESA Budget


  1. Proposed ESA FY 2014-2015 Budget

Les Real moved and Sharon Collinge seconded recommending to the Council the approval of a revised 2014-2015 budget.  All aye.


  1. Board Strategic Initiatives

There was discussion of two specific ideas for use of board strategic initiative funds, as well as discussion of the process by which resources from the Opportunity Fund are used for strategic initiatives.  There was sentiment that the topic should be discussed each year, but without a sense that the funds need to be used each year rather than accumulated over time for more substantive initiatives (such as the strategic review of publications).


Sharon Collinge moved and Steve Jackson seconded that $5,500 be allocated to support the Ad Hoc Certification Committee and $4,500 be allocated to complete SEEDS fundraising efforts begun last year.  All aye.


  1. Long-Range Planning Grant Subcommittee

Katherine McCarter reviewed guidelines the governing board adopted last year for awarding long-range planning grants to sections, chapters and committees.  Jill Baron appointed the Governing Board Members-at-Large to serve as the committee to review proposals for long-range planning grants.


  1. Discussion of Council Presentation

Katherine reviewed topics to be presented at the Council meeting on Aug. 10, 2014.


  1. Fundraising

Charlie Canham reviewed the fundraising strategy, with particular emphasis on the Opportunity Fund.  Discussion focused on identifying a limited list of the most compelling needs.   Coordinating fundraising efforts with Centennial activities was also discussed.


  1. Review of Governing Board Annual Meeting Activities

Katherine reviewed the schedule of events for the Governing Board during the Sacramento meeting.


  1. Sustainability Science Award

Sharon Collinge moved and Julie Reynolds seconded that the Society accept the recommendation of the Sustainability Science Award subcommittee to establish a second award in this category, entitled “The ESA Innovation in Sustainability Science Award”.  All aye.


  1. Annual Meeting 2019 – Recommendation

Meetings Co-Chair Kiyoko Miyanishi joined the meeting to present the recommendation that New Orleans be selected as the site for the 2019 Annual Meeting.  She summarized the pros and cons of the site.  In particular, the hotels are willing to guarantee room rates in 2019 that are lower than current hotel rates in Sacramento.  Valerie Eviner moved and Sharon Collinge seconded a motion to approve the selection of New Orleans as the site for the 2019 Annual Meeting.   All aye. There appears to be a consensus that the most popular meeting sites should be used repeatedly.


  1. Environmental Offsets

Susan Ustin, local host for the 2014 meetings has recommended that the environmental offset funds generated by the Sacramento meeting be awarded to the Yolo Basin Foundation, a local non-profit founded to assist in establishing the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area located in the flood bypass for the Sacramento River.  Steve Jackson moved and Julie Reynolds seconded awarding the environmental offset funds to the Yolo Basin Foundation.  All aye.

Julie Reynolds offered to draft a paragraph to provide more guidance to the local hosts about the environmental offsets.  She will have it for the fall meeting.


  1. Public Policy Recommendations

Sharon Collinge introduced the recommendations of the Public Affairs Office and Public Affairs Committee for public policy priorities for the coming year.  The Committee met in May and generated a list of issues in eight general areas: (1) energy and climate, (2) water quality and quantity, (3) disasters affecting ecosystems, (4) STEM education, (5) endangered species, (6) invasive species, (7) urban ecosystems, and (8) federal investment in natural resource and research agencies.  The list is not designed to exclude action on other issues.

Charlie Canham moved and Les Real seconded adopting the public policy priorities.  All aye.


  1. Earth Stewardship Update

Jill Baron reviewed the history of ESA activities that led to the Earth Stewardship Initiative, and summarized activities at the 2014 Annual Meeting that are motivated by the Initiative.


  1. Ad Hoc Certification Committee

During the May 2014 Governing Board meeting, the Board asked President Jill Baron to name and charge an ad hoc committee to review ESA’s certification program.  This request resulted from a discussion that was initiated by Linda Heath, former chair of the Board of Professional Certification. She noted that the program had not been reviewed since its inception in the 1980’s. Carmen Cid was appointed chair of the committee, and presented a synopsis of the charge to the committee, and a timeline for their work.


  1. Strategic Review of Publications

ESA has engaged Rising Tide to conduct a strategic review of ESA publications.  Katherine McCarter provided an update on the effort.


  1. Actively Engaging with NEON—Discussion

Jill Baron discussed the idea of creating an ad hoc committee to provide input from the ecological community to NEON.


The Governing Board went into Executive Session at 4:00 pm, and adjourned at 5:00 pm.


Sunday, August 10, 2014 – meeting called to order at 8:30 am


III. Discussion/Action Items (continued)


  1. 2014 Annual Meeting

Hal Balbach, 2014 Program Chair, gave an update on changes in the program planning process.  He thanked Susan Ustin for serving as the local host and coordinating field trips.  Jill Baron thanked Jennifer Riem for her extraordinary work on the program.


  1. Centennial

Nancy Huntly, Chair of the Centennial Implementation Committee, reported on activities related to the Centennial year.  A call for proposals has been distributed for funding available to Sections and Chapters for activities they would like to propose.   Huntly and Carol Brewer, 2015 Program Chair discussed changes to the meeting structure for the Centennial.  The Board encouraged them to be creative but cautioned that changes should not reduce the opportunities for members to make presentations.


  1. Publications Meetings


  1. Publications Committee

Josh Schimel gave an update on work of the Publications Committee during the past year. Several editors-in-chief were reviewed and reappointed during the year, and an effort is underway to recruit a new editor-in-chief for Ecological Monographs.  Dr. Yonglong Lu, Editor-in-Chief of the new journal Ecosystem Health and Sustainability, was introduced.


  1. Ecology

Don Strong, Editor-in-Chief of Ecology reported that Ecology is on an even keel, and that submission, acceptance, and rejection rates are stable, with acceptance rates in low to mid-20% level.  He is concerned about staffing support in the Publication Office and publication delays for the Journal.  He feels that the problems are structural and related to staffing.  He thinks there is an opportunity to pursue tighter linkages between Ecology and Ecosphere.


  1. Ecological Monographs

Aaron Ellison, Editor-in-Chief of Ecological Monographs echoed Don Strong’s comments that acceptance, and rejection rates are typical of 5-year averages, but that submission rates are down substantially during the past year.  The journal has experimented with Twitter, with some success.


  1. Ecological Applications

David Baldwin gave a report on Ecological Applications, including announcement of the first paper in a new format for “virtual invited features”, in which papers in invited features are published as they are ready, and will then be linked into a virtual special feature electronically.  Submissions during 2013 were up 15% over the previous year, and have been steady during the first half of 2014.   Ecological Applications has instituted a data archiving requirement for accepted papers.


  1. Ecosphere

Debra Peters, Editor-in-Chief of Ecosphere noted that the journal has its first impact factor to report.  Submissions are increasing, and the first special feature has been published, and can be done as “virtual” features that are linked once all of the individual papers have been published.


  1. Ecosystem Health and Sustainability

Dr. Lu gave a thorough presentation on the status and future of the new journal, with the first issue slated for January, 2015.  There was extensive discussion of the challenges of launching the new journal and achieving the goals of rapid publication of very high quality research.


  1. Frontiers

Sue Silver, Editor-in-Chief of Frontiers reviewed the year at Frontiers, including efforts to reduce costs.


  1. Bulletin

Ed Johnson, Editor-in-Chief of the Bulletin reviewed plans for the next 4 issues of the Bulletin related to the Centennial celebration.  He would like to receive histories from sections and chapters.


Meeting adjourned at 12:00 pm.




Minutes of the ESA Governing Board,

August 15, 2014

Sacramento, CA


Members Present

David Inouye              President

Jill Baron                     Past-President

Evan Delucia               VP for Finance

Valerie Eviner             VP for Science

Julie Reynolds             VP for Education and Human Resources

Charles Canham          Secretary

Carmen Cid                 Member at Large

Ana Elise Perez Quintero        Member at Large


Members Absent

Monica Turner President-Elect

Scott Collins               VP for Public Affairs

Leah Gerber                Member at Large


Staff Present

Katherine McCarter    Executive Director

Cliff Duke                   Director, Science

Michelle Horton          Director, Administration and Meetings

Teresa Mourad            Director, Education and Diversity

Sue Silver                    Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers

Alison  Mize                Director, Public Affairs



Kate Gallagher            Student Section Co-Chair


Meeting called to order by President David Inouye at 8:30 am


  1. Information

David Inouye welcomed new board members, and thanked Jill Baron for her service during the past year.  He reviewed 2014-2015 meeting dates.  He described early planning for the program for the Centennial meeting.   Kate Gallagher described plans by the Student Section for a monthly newsletter, and liaisons with other sections.


  1. Discussion/Action Items


  1. Audit Committee

David Inouye appointed Jill Baron to serve on the Audit Committee.


  1. Meetings Format Recommendations

There was discussion of ideas for increasing the numbers of early and mid-career members attending the meetings, including high-profile named (and sponsored) lectures.


  1. Current Issues


  1. Centennial Celebration

Evan Delucia described fundraising efforts with foundations and corporations for support of activities at the Centennial meeting.


  1. Earth Stewardship

The landscape design project led by Alex Felson was a very active and visible activity during the meeting.   There is hope that a similar activity will be scheduled for the Centennial meeting.  Carmen Cid mentioned that the faith communities are expected to be active in the coming year in activities related to earth stewardship.


  1. Publications Strategic Review

An initial report from the strategic review of publications is expected for the November board meeting.


III. Other


Jill Baron mentioned contacts from other professional societies requesting that ESA provide booths at their annual meetings.


Meeting adjourned at 9:45 am


May 5, 2014

Minutes of the ESA Governing Board,
May 5-6, 2014
Washington, DC

Members Present
Jill Baron                     President
Scott Collins               Past-President
David Inouye              President-Elect
Leslie Real                  VP for Finance
Sharon Collinge          VP for Public Affairs
Valerie Eviner             VP for Science
Julie Reynolds             VP for Education and Human Resources
Charles Canham          Secretary
Carmen Cid                 Member at Large
Stephen Jackson          Member at Large
Michelle Mack            Member at Large

Staff Present
Katherine McCarter    Executive Director
Elizabeth Biggs           Directory of Finance
Cliff Duke                   Director, Science
Michelle Horton          Director, Administration and Meetings
Teresa Mourad            Director, Education and Diversity
Sue Silver                   Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers
Alison  Mize                Director, Public Affairs
Regina Przygocki         Publications Office

9:00 am, May 5, 2014, meeting called to order by President Jill Baron

I. Agenda and Approval of Minutes 

  1. Adopt Agenda
    David Inouye moved and Carmen Cid seconded adopting the agenda.  All aye.
  2. Approval of the Minutes of the August 2013 Governing Board Meetings.
    David Inouye moved and Val Eviner seconded approval of the November 2013 minutes.   All aye.
  3. Ratify vote – Regional Policy Award
    Steve Jackson moved and Scott Collins seconded a motion to approve the recommendation of Darrell Steinberg, California State Senate Majority Leader as the winner of the 2014 Regional Policy Award.   All aye.

II. Reports

  1. Report of the President
    Jill Baron reported on activities related to the Earth Stewardship Initiative, including the project entitled “Integrating Ecological Science into Landscape and Urban Design” to be conducted during the 2014 meetings in Sacramento.
  2. Report of the Executive Director and Staff
    Katherine McCarter introduced the staff reports contained in the board packet.  Cliff Duke highlighted several new projects, including a 2-year grant to increase the visibility of the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services within the scientific community.  Michelle Horton gave an update on preparation for the 2014 annual meeting.  They have retained a company to prepare an iPhone, Droid, and tablet app for the program of the meeting.   Alison Mize, the new Director of the Public Affairs program, reviewed recent efforts, including bringing graduate students to DC for meetings with congressional representatives.   She noted that The National Climate Assessment will be released this week.

Sue Silver reported on recent special issues of Frontiers.  They are introducing new open access components of Frontiers.  Teresa Mourad presented highlights of the Office of Education and Diversity Programs.  She summarized a recent SEEDS leadership meeting, and thanked Jill Baron for her help with the meeting.  There are several field trips scheduled for students in the program, including to the Trout Lake and Mountain Lake field stations.  Results of the SEEDS evaluation report will be presented later in the board meeting.  Regina Przygocki reported on activities of the Publication Office while David Baldwin is working part time from Mexico.  The Office is looking for new software for management of the production process.  Elizabeth Biggs gave a brief update on finances, since there will be an in-depth review of finances later in the meeting. Membership numbers and institutional subscriptions are both up slightly over the same time last year.

  • Financial Update
    Elizabeth Biggs, Director of Finance, reviewed the Society’s third quarter financial status.  Both dues and subscription revenue are going to be below budget for the fiscal year.  But both salary and benefits are also below budget, in part because the position of Director of the Public Affairs Program was vacant for part of the year.  As a result, total revenue was above expenses but at a much lower level than at the same time last year.  Liz also reported on the status of our investment accounts.  The Society has investments managed by both Merrill Lynch and Towneley Capital Management and both portfolios are performing well.


III. Discussion/Action Items

  • Report of the Audit Committee
    Steve Jackson moved and Sharon Collinge seconded a motion to accept the Audit Committee report.  All aye.
  • Program Review – Financial Status
    Liz Biggs reviewed the financial status of the Society, focusing on sources of unrestricted net income.  She began by reviewing the balance of income (less investments) versus expenses for the past 9 years.  Balances have been positive in all years from 2005-2013.  Including investments, the cumulative effect has been a $2.3M net balance which has resulted in unrestricted net assets of $2.9M.  In contrast, as recently as 1999, the society’s unrestricted net assets were negative ($126,363).   The Governing Board has set a goal of $5M in unrestricted net assets.  Liz then reviewed how the different categories of revenue and expenses have changed since 2005.  Dues revenue varies significantly year-to-year, largely because of variation in meeting attendance, while the long-term average has increased slightly because of built-in and gradual increases in membership dues.  Subscription revenue has declined slightly from a peak in 2009, despite increases in institutional subscription rates.  The numbers of institutional subscriptions has declined in 6 of the 7 last years, from a peak of 2,015 in 2006 to 1,791 in 2013.  Member subscriptions have also dropped, in part attributed to online institutional subscriptions.  There was extensive discussion of strategies for retaining and expanding institutional subscriptions, particularly at smaller institutions and government agencies.  The Annual Meeting is an important source of net income.  The Board has set a target of a minimum of $80,000 in net income from the meetings, and this target has been met in each of the last 9 years.  The actual net income varies from $96,000 to $432,000, and is a function of both attendance and expenses associated with the site.  Julie Reynolds suggested that the Board increase the expected net income from meetings.  There was discussion of the perennial issue of selecting locations for meetings to balance issues related to maximizing attendance and net revenue versus geographic diversity.  Scott Collins noted that the most fundamental goal of the meeting is to encourage the largest number of members to attend and interact.  There has been strong sentiment to set up a rotation in which certain cities are used repeatedly.

    Les Real moved and Sharon Collinge seconded a motion to set the minimum expected net income from the annual meeting at $125,000, beginning in 2019.  All aye.

    Liz Biggs then reviewed page charge revenue.  This typically amounts to close to $500,000/yr (including income from special features in Frontiers).  Income relative to expense for Ecosphere is projected at about $20,000 for 2014.

  • Proposed FY 2014-2015 ESA Budget

    1.Budget and Assumptions
    Katherine McCarter introduced the Fiscal Year 2014-2015 Budget Proposal.  Highlights include changes in journal subscription policies that are designed to bring institutional subscription revenue back to 2012 levels.  Membership dues are also expected to increase based on anticipated annual meeting attendance.   Per Council vote of August 2007, membership dues will increase by 2% for all members in 2015.  In lieu of the normal annual allocation of $50,000 to unrestricted funds, that money will be devoted to Centennial activities.  There are no significant capital expenses in the draft budget.   The budget will be reviewed again at the August meeting before bringing it to the Council for approval.
    2. Board Strategic Initiatives
    There was discussion of a number of ideas for use of the Board Strategic Initiative funds, including reserving the monies so that they accumulate in the Opportunity Fund for future initiatives.  The strategic review of ESA journals being considered during this meeting would likely be funded from the Opportunity Fund.

  • Strategic Review of the ESA Journals
    For several years, the Governing Board has been discussing the future of ESA’s publication program. Stresses on journal publishing include open access, declining library subscriptions, and the demand for new technology. The publication program has been a major source of funding for ESA and the Board is aware of the decline in revenue due to fewer institutional subscriptions.

    As a follow up to these conversations, President Jill Baron and Executive Director Katherine McCarter are recommending that Bill Burke of Rising Tide be engaged to do a Strategic Review of ESA’s journals. The effort will take no less than three months and no more than six months. The review would:

    * Review ESA’s publication portfolio (peer review, production practices, use of technology, mode of access, etc)
    * Conduct a competitive review of the standing of ESA’s journals in relation to their direct and major competitors
    * Benchmark ESA against like publishers and identify practices that have led to their success
    * Determine what actions ESA needs to take to be successful in the future – include a range of operational options to pursue

    Bill Burke joined the meeting via speakerphone to summarize their proposal and take questions from the Governing Board.  There was extensive discussion of the review.  Julie Reynolds noted that it would be desirable to have bids from other sources.

    Charles Canham moved and Sharon Collinge seconded a motion to approve soliciting a formal bid from Rising Tide, with a maximum budget of $75,000.  All aye.

  • Ecosystem Health and Sustainability Update
    Sue Silver and Regina Przygocki updated the Board on progress with the development of the joint journal with the Ecological Society of China, Ecosystem Health and Sustainability.  A journal website was launched in March 2014 and the Ecotrack portion of the journal is to be available by June 2014.  They hope to have the first papers published in January 2015.
  • Fundraising Update
    Charles Canham reviewed efforts to increase the number and average size of donations to the Fund for the Future.  He thanked board members for the e-mails they sent to ESA members last winter.  In the coming year fundraising efforts will be coordinated with planning for the Centennial year.  Michelle Mack suggested developing posters that can be displayed at the annual meeting to illustrate the need for and use of donations to the Fund for the Future.
  • Mid-term Review – Education
    Teresa Mourad, Director of Diversity and Education and Julie Reynolds, Vice President for Education and Human Resources updated the Board about education and diversity program priorities since the last review.  She presented initial results from the NSF-funded review of the SEEDS program, including surveys and compilation of data from both current students and alumnae.  She reviewed 2013-2014 priorities for the Committee for Diversity and Education.  These include preparing for the Centennial, the annual diversity luncheon, the sustainability of SEEDS funding, and vision and change in undergraduate biology education.
  • New Generation Report – Implementation Update
    The Ecology for a New Generation Committee made its final report to the Governing Board at its May 2012 meeting. While the Board did not specifically approve all the recommendations, it encouraged ESA staff, sections and chapters to review the report and implement the recommendations as appropriate. Director of Education and Diversity Teresa Mourad has sent a survey to sections and others to gather information for the update. She presented results to the Board, noting that many of the recommendations are being addressed by the Society and by individual sections, chapters, and committees.
  • Early Career Ecologist Section Petition
    Daniel Scholes and an organizing committee have submitted a petition to establish an Early Career Ecologist Section. The petition contains a statement of general scope, proposed bylaws, and the names of at least 50 members.

    Staff review of the proposed bylaws indicates that they are in accordance with the requirements of the ESA Constitution and Bylaws and also confirm that 50 members have signed the petition.

    Scott Collins moved and Julie Reynolds seconded approval of the Bylaws of the Early Career Ecologist Section.  All aye.

    Scott Collins moved and Julie Reynolds seconded recommending that the Council approve the formation of the Early Career Ecologist Section.  All aye.

  • Proceedings of the National Vegetation Classification
    The ESA Panel on Vegetation Classification has been collaborating to develop the standards for a national classification and construction of the classification itself since 1994. In 2009, the ESA Council amended the ESA By-laws to grant the Panel standing committee status.

    ESA’s panel on Vegetation Classification is proposing that ESA agree to house the Proceedings of the National Vegetation Classification (NVC), an online resource that would document changes in the NVC.

    The National Vegetation Classification is dynamic—it can be changed in response to new information from the field. In the last several years, the Federal Government has relied on ESA’s Vegetation Panel to develop a peer review process to review proposed changes. ESA is being asked to house the review materials and products. After completion of the NVC (anticipated in 2015) proposed changes will begin to be submitted and the ESA Panel will maintain the leadership of the review process.

    Scott Collins moved and Les Real seconded a motion to approve that ESA will house the Proceedings of the National Vegetation Classification in an online format.  All Aye.

    Tuesday, May 6, 2014
    The Governing Board met in executive session from 8:00 – 9:00 am.

  • ESA Professional Certification – Review
    Linda Heath, former chair of the ESA Certification Program has provided a background document on the Professional Certification program and a suggestion that the program, established in 1981, would benefit from a review including an update of its criteria and consideration of new directions.   Heath’s document not only contains the argument for the need for an update of the certification program, but also contains the kinds of questions and concerns that should be addressed.

    Steve Jackson moved and Julie Reynolds seconded a motion to approve the appointment by ESA President Jill Baron of an Ad Hoc Committee to review the certification program. A charge, time frame, and selection of members will be determined by the President.

  • Automatic Section Membership
    During the November 2013 Governing Board meeting, the Board approved a motion to “recommend to the Council increasing the Student Membership by $2, with the additional funding dedicated to Student section activities”.   There was also discussion of the issue of whether all student members should be automatically enrolled in the Student Section, and whether all membership classes should include membership in a section of the member’s choice.  Currently about 60% of ESA members pay the $5 fee to join a section.  Attendees of the annual meetings will, beginning this year, be able to join a section while at the meeting.

    Julie Reynolds moved and Val Eviner seconded that the Board recommend to the Council that all membership categories be increased by $5 and that all members are invited to select one section or chapter as part of their basic membership.  Additional section or chapter memberships can still be selected for $5 each.  Student dues would increase by the $2.00 going to the student section and the $5.00 fee for a section or chapter of their choice. All aye.

  • Centennial Implementation – Update
    The Centennial Implementation Committee, chaired by Nancy Huntly, was charged to oversee the implementation of various activities approved for funding by the Governing Board as part of the Centennial celebration during 2015. These activities include Centennial Papers in ESA journals, a video production, efforts by the Past Presidents and Historical Records Committees, and allocation of funds for activities organized by Chapters, Sections, and Students. The Committee Chair also communicates with ESA Staff, the 2015 Program Chair, the Historical Records Committee Chair, the Past Presidents Chair, and Section Chairs to coordinate and promote the Centennial.

    Nancy Huntly provided a written update on activities of the committee.

  • 2015 Centennial Theme
    Carol Brewer, Program Chair for 2015, in consultation with Nancy Huntly, Chair of the Centennial Implementation Committee, and others has submitted a suggested theme for the ESA 2015 Centennial meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.   The board discussed feedback to provide to the Program Chair for revision of the theme.  Jill Baron will pass on comments from Governing Board members to Carol Brewer.
  • Report of the Nominations Committee
    Scott Collins announced the slate of candidates for the 2014 ESA Governing Board elections.  Steve Jackson moved and David Inouye seconded approving the slate of candidates.  All aye.

    Les Real moved and Charlie Canham seconded the motion to appoint Scott Collins to serve a one-year term as Vice President of Public Affairs, to fill the vacancy from 2014-2015.  All aye.

  • Report of the Awards Committee
    The Awards Committee, chaired by Alan Hastings, has provided its recommendations for the ESA-wide awards to be presented during the Scientific Plenary at the 2014 Sacramento Annual Meeting. These recommendations also contain nominations for Fellows and Early Career Fellows and the Whittaker and Shreve awards.

    Scott Collins moved and Valerie Eviner seconded approving the slate of candidates for the awards.    10 votes aye, 1 abstention.

Meeting adjourned at 11:30 am,  May 6, 2014

Applications Scientist at LI-COR

Applications Scientist

1) Provide specialized technical support to researchers and scientists, especially for photosynthesis products, including plant gas exchange and leaf chlorophyll fluorescence, as well as canopy architecture, leaf area, and light measurement. 2) Provide scientific leadership in understanding and developing new products and product applications, 3) Present results to the scientific community in professional talks, workshops, and published manuscripts, 4) Write technical application notes and provide training to LI-COR customers and employees, 5) Actively participate in the technical sales process.

Professional Qualifications
Ph.D. or equivalent experience in ecophysiology, environmental physics, plant physiology, agronomy or related field. Preferred experience in mathematical modeling or analysis of biological or environmental problems, turbulent fluxes, hydrologic systems, light propagation in canopies, or related processes.
Ideal candidate will be fluent in Mandarin.
•Understanding and practical experience in ecophysiology, environmental physics, plant physiology, agronomy or related field.
•Familiarity with the techniques, instrumentation, and laboratory procedures fundamental to plant physiology, environmental physics, agronomy or related field.
•Understanding of mathematical and physical principles as they relate to instrumentation and biological or environmental issues.
•Demonstrated record of independent creative activity and expertise relating to plant physiology or environmental instrumentation.
•Experience in working with, teaching, or mentoring colleagues, students and/or customers.
•Demonstrated record of writing published scientific papers and/or posters or proven history of writing technical or marketing documents describing creative scientific activity of LI-COR products or applications.
•Ability to mentor others or lead teams to accomplish technical goals.
•Possess mature scientific judgment.
•Sustained record demonstrating initiative and motivation.
•Demonstrated creativity in generating and testing new products, applications or scientific ideas.
•Experience in mentoring individuals, team participation, facilitating small group activities, group teaching, seminar presentations or customer communication.
•Demonstrated excellent oral and written communication skills.
•Demonstrated ability to write scientific and technical documents.
•Demonstrated dependability, team player, positive attitude, and good attendance.
•Demonstrated high ethics, integrity, honesty and patience.

Position Responsibilities
Customer support
•Provide expert and sophisticated technical support to solve problems that require a high level of experience and understanding.
•Lead LI-COR in-house training courses for customers and distributors. Help organize and participate in offsite customer training and support.
Product development
•Recognize key scientific problems that must be addressed to develop and test new products, applications and protocols.
•Aid in the design and execution of experiments that address these problems.
•Lead and serve on new product development teams.
•Lead the testing and validation of new instrumentation. Conduct field experiments as needed.
•Participate in scientific meetings, travel to customer sites and read the scientific literature to understand customer requirements for instruments and their applications.
•Coordinate the logistics of Beta test sites and manage prototype and demo inventory.
Technical Sales and Marketing
•Develop and give technical presentations for customers, workshops and seminars.
•Participate in exhibitions (U.S. and International). Assist in on-site demonstrations.
•Take incoming sales calls/correspondence from customers and provide the necessary information and follow-up.
•Participate in developing and reviewing technical and promotional literature.
Scientific communication
•Write and review technical presentations and manuscripts for scientific meetings and journals.
•Write and review LI-COR technical documents such as manuals, application notes and protocols.
•Give oral technical presentations within LI-COR, to customer groups, and at major scientific meetings.
•Read journal articles, newsletters, product literature and other sources that present new protocols, ideas, and technologies in order to effectively implement strategies in the lab that require state-of-the-art science and technology.
•Moderate overnight and some international travel is required.
•Medium Work- Exerting 20-50 pounds of occasionally, and/or 10-25 pounds of force frequently, and/or greater than negligible up to 10 pounds of force constantly to move objects.
•Other job related duties as assigned.


November 22, 2013


In this Issue



On Nov. 13, the House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Research considered the Frontiers in Innovation Research, Science and Technology (FIRST) Act, draft legislation to reauthorize programs in the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as well as various Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education programs.

Committee Democrats were concerned about provisions of the bill that would supersede NSF’s existing merit review process. Chief among Democrats’ concerns was Section 104 of the bill, which requires the NSF director to provide a written justification for each grant verifying that it meets certain requirements, including furthering “the national interest,” being “worthy of federal funding,” furthering economic competitiveness and advancing the health and welfare of the general public. The requirements are similar to those laid out in a previous draft bill authored by science committee Republicans, the High Quality Research Act, which was opposed by the scientific community. The Ecological Society of America joined the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) in sending a letter to the science committee expressing concerns with such efforts earlier this year. 

House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-LA) states that the language is necessary to ensure accountability to the American taxpayer over federal funding decisions. “They [government employees] should explain why grants that receive taxpayer funding are important research that has the potential to benefit the national interest. It’s not the government’s money; it’s the people’s money,” asserted Smith. “Enhanced transparency and accountability isn’t a burden; it will ultimately make NSF’s grant award process more effective.”

Research Subcommittee Ranking Member Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) noted the importance of funding for behavior research, which has also been targeted by conservatives. “Social and behavioral sciences have played a critical role in strengthening our response to disasters, improving public health, strengthening our legal system, and optimizing the use of federal resources,” said Lipinski. “I believe any reauthorization of NSF should provide sustainable funding to all scientific disciplines and not impose any unique restrictions or conditions on any specific type of research.”

There was also concern regarding the bill’s lack of provisions to promote women and minority participation in STEM education fields. Alternative legislation sponsored by House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) includes such a provision. Her bill also functions as a comprehensive reauthorization for all federal science agencies in stark contrast to the piecemeal multiple bill approach taken by House Republicans.

The Republican bill also includes a provision to require public posting of the written justification used to award a grant before it is awarded. Testifying witness Vice President for Research at Purdue University Richard Buckius stated this provision would “severely compromise the process and add tremendous administrative burden.”

The draft is the second bill House Republicans have put forward to reauthorize the AMERICA COMPETES Act. Several weeks ago, the committee considered a bill to reauthorize Department of Energy science initiatives. For additional information, see the Nov. 11 edition of ESA Policy News.

To view the CNSF letter to Chairman Smith, click here. For more information on the hearing, click here.


On Nov. 12, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved several of President Obama’s choices to lead key positions at the administration’s science agencies.

The committee approved Kathryn Sullivan for the position of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator, Jo Handelsman to be Associate Director for Science for the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and Robert Simon for Associate Director for Environment and Energy for OSTP. Sullivan has previously served as NOAA’s chief scientist and assistant secretary for observation and predictions. If approved by the full Senate, Sullivan would succeed Jane Lubchenco, a former president of the Ecological Society of America.

The upcoming Senate floor confirmation votes for the nominees were made easier this week when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) held a procedural vote to allow most presidential appointments to be approved by a simple majority vote. The rule change effectively denies the Senate minority party the power to filibuster such nominees. The rule change does not apply to legislation or US Supreme Court nominees.

The rule change is often referred to as the “nuclear option” in the media, due to its unprecedented restrictions on the power of the Senate minority party. The move was prompted by Senate Republicans’ recent attempts to hold up three of President Obama’s nominees to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals for partisan purposes. The change comes as Senate Republicans have sought to hold up a historically large number of President Obama’s nominees.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) warned that Reid may regret invoking the option, arguing that it could lead to the eventual elimination of the power of the Senate minority to filibuster. The rule change also sets a new precedent for Senate Republicans to implement similar limits on the minority’s power, should they take the majority in the future.


The recent death of House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense Chairman Bill Young (R-FL) spurred a slight reorganization of chairmanships at the subcommittee level, including two committees that oversee funding for several key energy and environmental federal agencies.

Former Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) will now chair the Defense Subcommittee in Young’s place. Former Interior and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Mike Simpson (R-ID) will now head the Energy and Water Subcommittee. Congressman Ken Calvert (R-CA) will take Simpson’s former spot as chairman of the Interior and Environment Subcommittee.

The Interior and Environment Subcommittee has primary jurisdiction over funding the Department of Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Council on Environmental Quality and the US Forest Service. The Energy and Water Subcommittee funds the Department of Energy, the Bureau of Reclamation, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

One of the first major tasks for the new subcommittee chairmen will potentially be to outline spending levels of the agencies under their jurisdiction for the remainder of Fiscal Year (FY) 2014, which began Oct. 1. The existing continuing resolution runs out Jan. 15, 2014. The spending levels set in a new appropriations bill will in part depend on the details of a budget agreement between House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) and to what degree such an agreement nullifies the existing sequestration cuts, which have carried over from FY 2013. The two chairs have until Dec. 13 to produce a budget deal.


On Nov. 21, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a report concluding the United States is now losing over 80,000 acres of coastal wetlands per year, up from 60,000 in a prior study.

Coastal areas around the Gulf of Mexico accounted for 71 percent of the wetland loss. The study attributed wetland loss predominantly to losses of saltwater wetlands in the Gulf due to coastal storms in combination with freshwater forested wetland loss due to urban renewal development. The report concludes that rising ocean levels are also affecting coastal wetland loss.

According to the report, coastal wetlands provide a home to 75 percent of the nation’s waterfowl and other migratory birds. Also, over half of all fish caught for commercial and recreational purposes depend on coastal wetlands at some point in their lives.

The data used in this report will be used in the development of policies and initiatives to promote environmental stewardship of coastal resources such as the National Ocean Policy. View the full report here.


ESA invites applications for its 2014 Graduate Student Policy Award (GSPA). This award, offered annually to up to three winners, provides graduate students hands-on science policy experience in Washington, DC including interacting with congressional decision-makers, federal agency officials, and others engaged in science and public policy. 

ESA covers travel and lodging expenses associated with this event for GSPA recipients. The two-day event will occur April 9 and 10, 2014. The application deadline is Monday, January 6. For more information, click here.


Introduced in House

H.R. 3533, the Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act – Introduced Nov. 19 by Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV), the bill would allow states to opt-out of regulation under the Endangered Species Act. The bill also requires approval of a congressional joint resolution for the addition of new federally protected species. The bill has been referred to the House Natural Resources Committee.

Considered by House Committee

On Nov. 21, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation held a hearing on several bills related to the federal government shutdown, including the following:

H.R. 3286, the Protecting States, Opening National Parks Act – Introduced by Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT), the bill would direct the Secretary of the Treasury to reimburse states that opened national parks during the Oct. 2014 federal government shutdown. The bill has 26 bipartisan cosponsors. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has introduced companion legislation in the Senate (S. 1572) that also has bipartisan support. 

H.R. 3311, the Providing Access and Retain Continuity Act – Introduced by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), the bill would automatically reimburse states if they operate parks during a shutdown. The bill would also call on the Secretary of Interior to preemptively work with states to ensure they can ably take over park operations in the event of a federal government shutdown. The bill’s 17 cosponsors are all Republicans.

H.R. 3294, the State-Run Federal Lands Act – Introduced by Rep. Don Young (R-AK), the bill would authorize a state to petition the federal government to enter in agreement to allow state control of federal lands managed by the National Park Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Forest Service.

Approved by House Committee

H.R. 2824, the Preventing Government Waste and Protecting Coal Mining Jobs in America Act – Introduced by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), the bill would prevent the US Department of Interior’s (DOI) Office of Surface Mining from implementing a stream protection rule intended to protect water and wildlife from detrimental effects of mountaintop removal mining projects in the Appalachian region. The House Natural Resources Committee approved the bill Nov. 14 by vote of 24-14.

Passed House

H.R. 1965, the Federal Jobs and Land Security Act – Introduced by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), the bill would set deadlines for the Bureau of Land Management to make leasing and permitting decisions for oil and gas development on federal lands. The bill sets a 60 day limit for review of such permits. The bill passed the House Nov. 20 by a vote of 228-192.

The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy (veto threat) against the bill. Among its concerns, the administration noted the bill would “direct that federal lands be managed for the primary purpose of energy development rather than for thoughtfully balanced multiple uses.” View the full statement here.

H.R. 2728, the Protecting States’ Rights to Promote Energy Security Act – Introduced by Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), the bill would prohibit DOI from enforcing federal hydraulic fracturing standards if states currently have their own guidance governing the practice. The bill passed Nov. 20 by a vote for 235-187 with 12 Democrats joining all but two Republicans in voting yes.

The White House issued a veto threat against the bill, asserting the president would veto the measure, noting the bill would “require [the Bureau of Land Management] to defer to existing state regulations on hydraulic fracturing on Federal lands, regardless of the quality or comprehensiveness of the State regulations – thereby preventing consistent environmental protections.” View the full White House statement here.

H.R. 1900, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act – Introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), the bill would expedite approval of natural gas permits through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The legislation sets a deadline of one year for FERC to reach a decision on whether to approve new gas pipeline applications. Failure of the agency to meet the review deadlines outlined in the bill will result in a permit being automatically deemed approved. The House passed the bill Nov. 21 by a vote of 252-165 with 26 Democrats joining Republicans in support of the bill.

The White House issued a veto threat against the bill, asserting “the bill’s requirements could force agencies to make decisions based on incomplete information or information that may not be available within the stringent deadlines.” View the full statement here.

 Sources: American Association for the Advancement of Science, ClimateWire, Energy and Environment Daily, E&E News PM, Greenwire, the Hill, House Natural Resources Committee, House Science, Space and Technology Committee, Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, US Fish and Wildlife Service, the White House

April 5, 2013

In This Issue


With policymakers seemingly adapting to the implementation of the sequester budget cuts as a fact of life for the time being, many federal agencies are now faced with furloughs to compensate for the funding cuts they must implement. The cuts remain in effect until such time as Congress comes up with a deal to reach $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years, an unlikelihood in the immediate future at least.

On April 1st, the White House announced that 480 of the 500 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) employees have been notified that they will be furloughed for 10 days for the remainder of the current Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. For each pay period beginning April 21 and through Sept. 7, OMB employees will have to take one unpaid furlough day. In addition, less money is being spent on supply and equipment purchases and many agencies have instituted work-related travel restrictions.

The Environmental Protection Agency is planning to initiate four-day weekends over Independence Day and Labor Day and plans on a skeleton crew on May 24, the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. Its employees are expected to take as much as 13 furlough days through FY 2013.

In an effort to minimize staff furloughs, the United States Geological Survey has pulled back on a number of its popular educational initiatives. This summer, it will no longer hire 1800 college students it utilizes to help monitor flood forecasting data and earthquake seismic activity. The agency is also ending its tours for school groups and the two-week science summer camps for children ages 8-12 that it has hosted annually since 1996.

Many agencies are instituting hiring freezes to save money. Among them is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is already wrestling with staff shortages. Emergency managers within the agency have expressed concern that the unfilled positions will eventually lead to decreased capacity to issue warnings and weather forecasting. Such forecasting is also necessary in helping water managers monitor stream flow and area water supplies.

The next opportunity Congress has to reach a deal on the sequester will be when the temporary suspension of the debt ceiling expires. Under current law, the debt ceiling suspension will expire on May 19. However, the US Department of Treasury has indicated that the implementation of extraordinary measures may extend a government default on debt until late July or early August. The White House plans to introduce its budget proposal for FY 2014 on April 10 to nullify sequester cuts. The proposal is expected to include $1.8 trillion in savings through a mix of entitlement reforms and revenue increases.


On March 26, the Environmental Protection Agency released a report that finds that 55 percent of US rivers and streams are in poor condition for aquatic life.

Among its findings:  27 percent of rivers and streams have high levels of nitrogen and 40 percent of these water bodies have high levels of phosphorous. Excessive amounts of these chemicals causes nutrient pollution that increases oxygen-depleting algae that make waterways uninhabitable for aquatic wildlife.

The study also found that high concentrations of mercury and bacteria have adversely affected waterways. Nine percent of rivers and streams had high concentrations of bacteria that deemed them potentially unsafe for swimming and other forms of recreation. Over 13,000 miles of waterways contain fish with mercury levels that may make them unsafe for human consumption, according to the report.

The survey noted that human disturbance has attributed to approximately 24 percent of rivers and streams not having a healthy amount of vegetative cover. Such vegetation helps prevent erosion, maintain water temperature and remove pollution carried by rainwater. Loss of this vegetative cover also increases flooding risks for communities living near these rivers and streams. 

For additional information on the report, click here:


On March 26, key wildlife agencies within the Obama administration announced the publication of a national strategy that seeks to buffer wildlife from impacts of climate change.

The “National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaption Strategy,”   notes the value of plants and wildlife and seeks to provide information about threats and potential courses of action to mitigate those threats. The goals of the strategy include habitat conservation, increasing knowledge of climate impacts on wildlife as well as raising awareness and motivating actions that protect animals and plants.

The strategy was developed through collaboration between the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the New York Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources. An intergovernmental steering committee comprising 15 federal agencies, five state wildlife agencies, two inter-tribal commissions along with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies also contributed to the strategy.

To view the full strategy, click here:


National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) climate scientist James Hansen is retiring from the federal government after 46 years of service to the agency’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS).

Hansen, 72, is the GISS’s longest serving director, having served in the position since 1981. During his tenure, Hansen frequently reported on the threat of climate change. He was among the first scientists to identify the ways in which rising temperatures are affecting the planet and the impacts climate change has on human society. He testified before Congress in 1988 on the threats posed by climate change. His retirement will allow him to further his climate change advocacy without the restrictions placed upon federal government employees.

Hansen has engaged in activism in his off-time frequently over the years, appearing at climate protests and even allowing himself to be arrested or cited on six occasions. Early this year, he was arrested for protesting against the Keystone XL pipeline. He was first arrested in 2009, joining university students in a coal protest. His critics often label him as an “alarmist,” though even allied colleagues state some of his views can lean on the extreme side. He has once asserted that climate change could eventually lead to Earth having an uninhabitable atmosphere similar to Venus.

Hansen received his Masters’ in Astronomy and his Ph.D. in Physics from Iowa University. Distinguished honors include the American Meteorological Society’s Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal (2009), American Geophysical Union’s Roger Revelle Medal (2001) and the Heinz Award for the Environment (1995). He was also honored as one of the “World’s Most Influential People” by Time Magazine (2006).

In retirement, Hansen plans to take a more active role in lawsuits challenging federal and state governments over their failure to reduce green house gas emissions. The New York Times reports that he intends to start working out of his farm in Pennsylvania, but may also accept an academic appointment or start an institute.

View the full NASA release here:


On April 2, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced that former United States Geological Survey (USGS) Director Marcia McNutt has been named as the next editor in chief of its leading journal Science and its associated publications.

The first woman to head the journal, McNutt is among several scientists who departed their positions as agency heads at the start of the Obama administration’s second term. She served at the helm of the USGS from October 2009 until earlier this year. Prior to working at the agency, she was CEO of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California (1997-2009). McNutt received her Ph.D. in earth sciences from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California.

Founded in 1880 by journalist John Michels and Thomas Edison, Science includes peer reviewed studies and news articles covering topics of importance to the scientific community.
McNutt’s tenure with the journal begins on June 1, 2013. She succeeds Bruce Alberts, who has served since 2009 and had planned to step down at the end of his five year term.

For more information, see the AAAS press release:


The National Marine Fisheries Service has published a notice requesting input on whether sperm whales inhabiting the Gulf of Mexico warrant a “distinct population segment” listing under the Endangered Species Act.

The notice comes after the environmental group WildEarth Guardians petitioned to recognize the Gulf population of sperm whales (numbering roughly 1300) as a discrete group as the whales spend most of their lives in the area rather the migrating, which is unique among the species. While the general population of sperm whales are already listed as endangered, the Gulf sperm whales face unique threats posed by oil and gas exploration and development and shipping traffic in the region.

According to WildEarth Guardians, the Gulf sperm whales are physically smaller and gather in smaller groups than their outside counterparts, which help them forage in shallower water than larger sperm whales. They also note that the Gulf whales have developed a unique “dialect” that is “culturally learned” in a manner similar to human language. These unique adaptations would make it unlikely that other sperm whales would or could colonize the area, the organization asserts.

Public comments will be accepted through May 28, 2013. For additional information on how to submit comments, click here:

Sources:AAAS, ClimateWire, Energy and Environment Daily, E&E News PM, Environmental Protection Agency, Greenwire, the Hill, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, New York Times, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Geological Survey, the Washington Post