Executive Seminar Program for Natural Resources
Author: Center for Public Service
Posted: September 14, 2011

The Executive Seminar Program is a professional education program for mid-career managers and senior staff in public, private, tribal and non-profit organizations. This program uses live case studies of controversial natural resource issues as a focal point for leadership development.  Each seminar reconstructs the natural resource policy controversy by visiting the site of the issue, reviewing background materials and meeting with the decisive players in the conflict. Through study of these cases, participants come to understand the complex social, legal and political context of today's environmental and natural resource problems. They can then identify improved approaches, learn effective techniques, and develop greater ability to lead in the policy context natural resource managers face.

Program Year Theme: Getting Ahead of the Curve 

All three case studies this year required significant interagency cooperation, public input, political action, and best available science to chart a course for addressing challenging landscape scale issues. The cases are in varies stages of implementation and offer the opportunity to examine and compare different approaches to plan development and execution.

Registration is now open:

WolfWolf Recovery and Management in Oregon
Date: October 24-28, 2011
Location: La Grande and Enterprise, Oregon

After an absence of nearly sixty years, three grey wolves were found in northeastern Oregon in 1999. These wolves were traced to an experimental population in Idaho that had been re-established as part of a federal wolf recovery program. Although the migration of wolves into Oregon had been anticipated, their arrival renewed intense debate about the impact on livestock and native ungulates as well as passionate support among conservation groups and wolf advocates. In response, the Oregon Fish and Game Commission initiated an extensive public involvement process that culminated in the adoption of the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan in 2005. This plan was revised in 2010, but numerous bills were introduced in the 2011 Oregon Legislative session to give ranchers more latitude in killing wolves threatening livestock and personal safety, and to compensate them for the loss of livestock due to wolf depredation. In addition, the U.S. Congress removed wolves from the federal endangered species list and returned management to five western states, including Oregon. The focus of the case study will be on how well Oregon’s wolf plan anticipated and addressed wolf management issues, and what needs to be done to ensure the conservation of this charismatic species while protecting the social and economic interests of all Oregonians.

Oregon CoastBeneath the Surface: Allocating Oregon’s Territorial Sea
Date: February 27-March 2, 2012
Location: Newport, Oregon

In March of 2008, Oregon Governor Kulongoski issued an executive order initiating two parallel but linked ocean planning processes: the designation of marine reserves, and the amendment of the Territorial Sea Plan to guide the potential siting of wave energy projects. Allocating portions of the territorial sea (0-3 nautical miles offshore) to these uses that may affect fishing and other activities has been contentious and controversial. Oversight for both plans has been provided by the state’s Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC), comprised of ocean stakeholders, local governments and state agencies. A key tool to facilitate planning and public engagement, in particular by commercial fishers, has been digital map overlays of existing and potential ocean uses and ecological resources. Factoring in state, federal, and international authorities regulating ocean activities has added complexity. This case study will evaluate the effectiveness of these planning processes in reaching marine reserve and wave energy project siting decisions that balance impacts to the marine ecosystem and human uses.

Quagga MusselsControlling Aquatic Invasive Species: Mission Impossible?
Date: April 30-May 4, 2012
Location: Lake Mead, Nevada

The discovery of quagga mussels in Lake Mead in 2007 significantly heightened concerns about the expansion of aquatic invasive species (AIS) throughout the West. These dime-sized mollusks quickly encrusted docks and boats, clogged pipes carrying drinking and irrigation water, and damaged machinery and disrupted operations at Hoover Dam. In response, federal, state and local agencies in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana have intensified efforts to assess the threats from AISs to fresh waters in the Columbia Basin and to coordinate actions to prevent their spread. Control measures include research and monitoring, public education, mandatory boat inspections, and establishment of rapid response teams. The seminar will be held in the Lake Mead area to understand the economic and ecological impacts of quagga mussels and allow interactions with government officials and scientists engaged in control efforts. This case study will also examine the effectiveness of multi-state strategies to prevent the spread of invasive mussels to the Columbia River basin and illustrate lessons that can be applied to controlling other aquatic nuisance plants and animals.

PSU Sign on the Park BlocksFinal Capstone Session
Dates: June 7-8, 2012
Location: Portland State University Campus

In stonework, a capstone is the central block that holds an arch together and supports the other stones in the arch. The arch of the ESP program year is held together by the final two-day wrap-up session, which integrates the leadership lessons learned over the course of the year with the practical challenges participants face in their agencies. Participants come prepared to discuss issues from their own work experience and apply principles learned during the year to these issues. They present their conclusions to a panel of ESP Advisory Board members and Portland State University faculty, who provide feedback. Beyond providing a summative learning experience, this session provides an opportunity to deepen professional relationships and friendships formed over the program year. In association with the final session, ESP alumni have organized optional mini-cases and informal receptions, where current participants can network with program alumni and Advisory Board members.