Operate Effectively and Efficiently
The major DCNR accomplishments of 2018 to operate effectively and efficiently are listed below.
Environment Education Acclaim
Kinzua Bridge State Park Visitor Center and Park Office received second place in the Interior Exhibit category in the National Association for Interpretation’s Interpretive Media Award competition.
Lean Process Improvement
DCNR has taken a systematic approach at continuous process improvement by encouraging Lean awareness training for its employees. This first step in reassuring front-line employees that management is listening to them has opened up a number of process improvement opportunities and standardization of work. DCNR has updated its employee intranet, and is in the process of combining, deleting, or updating department-wide policies for consistency, transparency, and easier access for employees.
Human Resources Consolidation
The Conservation and Environment HR Delivery Center, Office of Administration, has been together for a year and a half, and the team continues to work on standardizing processes and learning about the agencies for which HR services are provided. Accomplishments include:
- Act 71, Civil Service Reform was approved, resulting in disbandment of the Civil Service Commission and movement of the administrative body under the Office of Administration, Talent Management Office, leaving the commission as an appeals and litigation body. This reform slows for procedural changes leading to a more efficient hiring process. Also, hiring functions are transitioning to vacancy-based hiring, which includes the conversion of written exams to experience and training exams, which means larger candidate pools for considerations.
- The delivery center now employs a full-time recruiter for positions within all five agencies. The recruiter also coordinates intern programs, which bring approximately 200 interns across the delivery center.
In State Park and Forest Buildings
In its ongoing effort to implement energy-saving operations and facilities, DCNR continued to pursue a sustainability course in 2018 that saw it move to reduce energy consumption through reliance on solar units to power buildings and certain systems, such as sewage treatment, at state park and state forest buildings. Already, 13 total solar installations have been completed.
Innovative Energy Efficiency Programs
The Guaranteed Energy Saving Act (GESA), in partnership with Energy Systems Group (ESG), helped kick off a large energy savings project in 2018 covering 22 state parks and four state forest districts in the western region of the state. These energy saving, infrastructure investments will save $7.5 million over 20 years while reducing annual carbon by more than 2,000 tons. The project focusses on upgrading lighting to LED, installing more efficient HVAC systems, and improving building envelopes.
Charging Stations for Electric Vehicles
Nine state parks now serve as proving grounds to improve accessibility and range for park visitors who drive hybrid or full electric-powered vehicles. When a current slate of projects is complete, more than 40 DCNR affiliated locations will have electric vehicle charging stations.
Wildfire Fighters Deployed
Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Forestry again answered the call from states hard hit by wildfires in 2018. More than 200 bureau and volunteer firefighters were deployed in Montana, California, Nevada, Texas, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Utah, and Colorado. Pennsylvania experienced a relatively mild fire season, with 688 reported wildfires affecting 1,840 acres.
Flooding Relief Efforts
The Bureau of Forestry’s Division of Forest Fire Protection mobilized personnel and equipment to assist local communities in response to flooding, most notably in Bradford and Luzerne counties.
Forest Fire Protection
Lessening wildfire dangers across the state, the bureau oversaw construction of 14 replacement fire towers across the state, and carried out 27 controlled burns on 2,193 acres of DCNR-managed land, 1,500 of which were done in its largest ever single burn (in Michaux State Forest).
EDWIN Electronic Payment System
The Exploration and Development Well Information Network (EDWIN) -- the state’s official database of oil and gas records reported to the commonwealth -- has been upgraded to include a new subscription module, making it simpler to keep track of recurring annual subscriptions, and an alternate online payment method for users to gain immediate access to the network instead of mailing in a physical check. In addition, the database has been upgraded to include the use of the Commonwealth’s Keystone ID Log-in for ease of access and consistency with other commonwealth applications.