Operate Effectively and Efficiently
The major DCNR accomplishments of 2017 to operate effectively and efficiently are listed below.
Helping Combat the Opioid Epidemic
During mid-April, Governor Tom Wolf traveled to Gifford Pinchot State Park in York County, to announce DCNR would be equipping more than 400 state park and state forest rangers, managers, and assistant managers with life-saving naloxone.
The intent is to minimize opioid overdose fatalities, especially in rural settings such as state parks and state forests where police and first responders may not be readily available.
Environment Education Acclaim
Employee accomplishments were acknowledged at Kinzua Bridge State Park Visitor Center and Park Office, winner of second-place honors in the Interior Exhibit category, National Association for Interpretation’s Interpretive Media Award competition.
Also, two educators -- Angela Lambert and Diane Madl -- received the Women of Community Engagement and Environmental Education Partnership Award from Penn Future.
The Bureau of Information Technology continued to focus on improving efficiency for DCNR staff and providing new ways to do business.
As with many state agencies, DCNR has numerous process that are currently handled by paper. Focusing on making these processes electronic provided a simple, but effective focus point for the bureau’s work last year.
E-grants -- The grant approval process for the Bureau of Recreation and Conservation was made electronic. The end-result: a process that used to take months now is completed in a fraction of the time.
Out-Service Training and Travel (OST) -- DCNR staff submit roughly 700 training/travel requests each year, and until recently, this vital agency process was being handled by an aging, unsupportable system. Working with partners in HR, bureau staff produced a new OST system that is easier to use and provides more transparency in the approval process. The system was so successful that it is slated to be adopted across the agencies in the delivery center.
FDC Electronic Bids -- Potential bidders on FDC projects previously had to contact the bureau and request that bid documents be burned on a CD and mailed to them. Now, a user-friendly interface featured on the DCNR website allows potential bidders to electronically receive bid documentation, including any addendums or other updates. The new system not only saves time for FDC staff, but has allowed them to stop charging bidders for documents.
DCNR Research Database -- This database provides the public (and DCNR staff) with electronic access to more than 1,000 reports either conducted on DCNR land or funded by the agency. Users can search both geographically and through keywords, and once a report is located it can be easily downloaded for offline reference. Though the site is currently focused on research tied to the Bureau of Forestry, the hope is that documents from across the agency will be housed there.
Human Resources Consolidation
During July 2017, the DCNR/DEP HR Office transitioned into the Conservation & Environment HR Delivery Center, encompassing DCNR, DEP, Agriculture, Milk Marketing Board, and the Environmental Hearing Board.
This transition has resulted in:
The new HR Delivery Center has expanded training courses offered due to the inclusion of the Department of Agriculture training program. Now DCNR employees can attend formally known “agriculture” courses since they are now offered for employees of the five agencies within the delivery center.
Recruitment events have expanded. Analysts now attend recruitment events and recruit for all five agencies.
The HR Delivery Center is very involved with the Civil Service reform changes that will impact placement activities and in rolling out the new Neogov Placement system.
As part of ongoing efforts to implement energy-saving operations and facilities, DCNR continued to pursue a sustainability course during 2017 that included:
Dedicating an off-grid battery-storage solar array at Caledonia State Park, Franklin County. Five solar installations queued for 2018 will save the agency $75,000 annually, and reduce CO2 emissions by 450 tons a year.
Dedicating of the LEED-anticipated Buchanan State Forest Resource Management Center, DCNR’s 16th LEED building.
Procuring the agency’s first eight electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, with installation of corresponding charging stations in Harrisburg. DCNR also is assessing options for procurement of other electric vehicles and charging stations in locations around the state.
Planning a western region parks and forests Guaranteed Energy Savings Act project to begin during 2018, saving the agency $2.5 million during 10 years by improving energy efficiency of its infrastructure.
Enacting a new High-Performing Building Policy for DCNR.
Working with students from Carnegie Mellon University to obtain baseline assessment of the agency’s fleet usage and emissions, thus guiding away from fossil fuel vehicles.
Hurricane Relief Efforts
The Bureau of Forestry’s Division of Forest Fire Protection mobilized three emergency teams to other states in support of hurricane relief efforts.
DCNR worked with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) to ensure necessary equipment and personnel were dispatched. Pennsylvania has never participated in an interstate mobilization of this nature, and no other state in the Mid-Atlantic region has ever implemented this type of interagency cooperation.
Also, as host of the Mid-Atlantic Mobilization Center, division personnel opened and staffed a location to stage and move resources from across the country to Puerto Rico, essentially becoming the mobilization center for the entire East Coast. Weiser State Forest District provided personnel and equipment in this effort.
Wildfire Fighters Deployed
Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Forestry again answered the call from states hard hit by wildfires during 2017.
More than 200 highly trained bureau and volunteer wildfire fighters were deployed to major fires in:
Pennsylvania experienced a relatively mild fire season, with 531 reported wildfires affecting 1,644 acres.