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Administration
Overview
Administrative services at South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve provide a framework for human and fiscal resource management and coordinate policies and processes to support Reserve programs and operations. This framework is intended to foster intra- and inter-agency cooperation to achieve effective management of the Reserve.
 
The Reserve’s administrative services support human resources and facilities along with the research, education, and stewardship programs. Grant monitoring, fiscal reconciliation with the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL), and guidance for general operations are provided through administrative staff and processes. Administrative services are closely aligned with facilities operations at the Reserve since both function in a support capacity to all program areas of South Slough NERR.

Federal and State Partnership
South Slough NERR is a cooperative federal-state partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Oregon Department of State Lands. NOAA provides funding, national guidance, and technical assistance to the Reserve. Daily operations of the Reserve are managed through DSL with direction from the South Slough NERR Management Commission.
 
The Reserve applies annually for funds from NOAA that are used to support research, education, and stewardship programs and Reserve operations. NOAA funds may also be requested for special projects, facilities construction, and land acquisition. DSL provides 30% matching funds for NOAA monies dedicated to operating the Reserves and to facilities construction, and 50% match for land acquisition funds. South Slough NERR also applies for, and is dependent on, external grants to fund many of the projects undertaken by the Reserve’s programs.

Role & Responsibility of NOAA
NOAA’s Estuarine Reserves Division (ERD) administers the overall National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) and provides support for the reserves. ERD disburses and oversees expenditures of federal funds. ERD also coordinates the design and implementation of system-wide programs, provides guidance for the development of NERRS policies, and is responsible for ensuring that the Reserve is managed according to NERRS policies and regulations.
 
As required by federal regulations (15 C.F.R. Part 921.40), NOAA periodically evaluates the performance of the Reserve for compliance with federal requirements and with the Reserve’s federally-approved management plan. The last performance review (312 Evaluation) of South Slough NERR’s programs and operations was conducted in 2007; the next evaluation is scheduled for 2011.

Role & Responsibility of the Oregon Department of State Lands
The Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) provides for the on-site management of the Reserve’s resources and programs. South Slough NERR receives administrative support and oversight from DSL, which provides the Reserve with fiscal recordkeeping, technological support, and assistance with human resources. Reserve staff are DSL employees and funding for the Reserve, from all sources, is administered through DSL.

The Management Commission
Oregon statutory code (O.R.S. 273.554) created the South Slough NERR Management Commission (Commission) as the Reserve's immediate governing body. The Commission establishes operating policies and administrative rules for the Reserve, subject to State Land Board general policy and to state and federal laws.
 
As per state statute, the nine members of the Commission are appointed by the Governor and serve as representatives of specific institutions, agencies, and other constituencies. The Director of DSL (or a designee) serves as permanent chair of the Commission.
 
The South Slough NERR Management Commission is empowered by statute to appoint a manager and other staff, through whom the Commission conducts the day-to-day management and operations of the Reserve. The Commission may apply for, receive, and expend federal and state funds for Reserve purposes. Commissioners review Reserve activities and proposed initiatives at  meetings that are held three times a year and are open to the public.

Commission Advisory Group
In 1974, the South Slough NERR Management Commission adopted rules (O.A.R. 142-10-010) which created a "Citizens' Advisory Group" and a "Scientific/Technical Advisory Group," both to be appointed by the Commission. These groups were merged in 1994 into a single Advisory Group composed of individuals with a range of expertise in science, business, and management. Advisory Group members are nominated by existing Advisory group members and are appointed by the Commission to two-year terms.
 
Although the Advisory Group has no binding authority over the Commission, it must be consulted by the Commissioners prior to application of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides; prior to approval of any tree removal in the Reserve; and prior to any closure of a public Reserve area or suspension of an otherwise permitted public activity. Upon request, Advisory Group members also provide the Commission with objective assessments of impacts from existing or proposed Reserve policies. The group may be consulted on any other topic as requested by the Commission.

South Slough NERR Policies
South Slough is managed in accordance with NERRS Program Regulations (15 C.F.R. 921 et seq.) and South Slough NERR Administrative Rules (O.A.S. 273.553 et seq.). The federal regulations govern the administration NERRS programs, grants, and funding. State rules are designed to complement the objectives of the NERRS by regulating public uses of the Reserve. These regulations and rules are used in combination with South Slough NERR stewardship policies to manage and protect the resources and integrity of the Reserve.
 
Reserve Visitors
Public visits to the Reserve advance the goals of the NERRS by expanding citizen awareness of the NERRS, and by increasing opportunities for the public to physically experience an estuarine setting. Public access to the Reserve, however, must be consistent with NERRS and state policies. Reserve management may facilitate public access, but its primary obligation under federal and state mandates must be to maintain the integrity of the Reserve, protect it from uses and activities which may alter or affect the ecosystem and its processes, and preserve the area for long-term scientific and educational uses. State Administrative Rules provide:
 
All publicly owned areas of the Reserve are available to scientists, students and the general public on a basis desirable and permissible for coordinated research and educational uses and for other compatible uses to the extent they do not interfere with the primary management and scientific objectives. (O.A.R. 142-010-0005)

Human Resources
Adequate staffing is essential to the effective implementation of South Slough NERR programs and operations. The Reserve currently meets human resource needs through a combination of full-time staff, part-time positions, contractors, interns, and volunteers.

Reserve Staff
There are currently 16 full-time staff positions and 3 part-time positions at the Reserve.  
The staff size fluctuates with the addition of temporary contract workers, students, interns, participants from social services training programs, and others. These positions are supported by federal and private grants, interagency cooperative agreements, state operating funds, student scholarships, and contributions from private sources.
 
Development of Staff Positions
New staff positions are identified and developed in a number of ways. With new projects and expanding programs, Reserve staff work with management to determine if additional staff are needed. Necessary tasks are identified in grant proposals and by program coordinators, and the appropriate level of staffing (i.e., temporary, limited-duration, part-time, full-time, volunteer, contractor, intern, etc.) is determined based on responsibilities, work load, budget, and other parameters.
 
The need for some staff positions is identified by NOAA. The Reserve’s participation in some national programs and initiatives requires a program coordinator. The funding available for these programs generally supports the program and necessary staff. The Reserve must apply for these supplemental funds and agree to conduct the programming within the parameters laid out by NOAA. NOAA may also determine additional staffing needs via periodic evaluations.

Volunteers
Volunteer contributions of time and skills greatly enhance the programs and operations of the Reserve. In recent years, volunteers have assisted with visitor services, education programs, trail improvements, and habitat restoration, monitoring, and research projects. The Friends of South Slough (FOSS), youth work crews, AmeriCorps, local public support service programs, and individuals from the community all provide volunteer services for the Reserve. The Public Involvement Coordinator is responsible for the development, coordination and maintenance of the volunteer program.
 
By sharing their enthusiasm for and knowledge of South Slough, volunteers enhance visitor experiences and increase interest and awareness of the Reserve within the local community. The Reserve recognizes an obligation to provide interested volunteers with rewarding and enriching opportunities in exchange for their efforts on behalf of the South Slough NERR.
 
Volunteer Program
Although the Reserve has benefited from the immeasurable contributions of volunteer efforts, a formally structured Volunteer Program at South Slough NERR is currently in the early stages of development. The establishment of the Public Involvement Coordinator position in 2001 provided the Reserve with staff dedicated to the development and implementation of the Volunteer Program. The addition of this staff position has resulted in the preparation of a draft Volunteer Resource Handbook, which includes information related to the Reserve’s mission, resources, programs, and operations. The Public Involvement Coordinator has worked with staff to develop a preliminary list of volunteer job descriptions and a more effective system for appropriately matching volunteer interests to operational needs at the Reserve. With the availability of space, projects, and staff, the Reserve is now able to actively recruit new volunteers.
 
In 2002, the Reserve piloted a volunteer orientation and training seminar series to provide opportunities for new, old, and potential volunteers, along with interested members of the community, to acquire knowledge relevant the natural environment and the operations of the Reserve. With the assistance of volunteers, the Friends of South Slough have published a quarterly newsletter with information about the latest happenings at the Reserve.

Agency/Organization Partners
The management of South Slough NERR recognizes that partnerships with agencies and organizations enhance the ability of each entity to be more efficient, effective, and productive. The Reserve has entered in several partnerships which have been formalized with Memorandums of Understanding or other contracts. South Slough NERR actively seeks partnerships in the community, regionally, and nationally in support of joint projects and efforts guided by the Reserve’s vision statement.

Friends of South Slough
The Friends of South Slough is a non-profit organization incorporated in 1988, with a current membership of over 100 individuals. The mission of FOSS is to promote and assist the Reserve in program activities, principally by raising funds and obtaining in-kind donations. Any individual or group supporting the goals of FOSS may become a member.
 
The Friends of South Slough is a continuing source of support for Reserve operations and projects. FOSS operates a souvenir and book sales operation in the Interpretive Center and uses proceeds of sales to enhance their ability to provide support to the Reserve. Most recently, fundraising efforts by FOSS led to a cash gift of $132,500 designated for renovations to the Interpretive Center and the development of new exhibits. In addition to their tangible monetary contributions, FOSS members donate time and talents as volunteers at South Slough NERR. FOSS has also supported a temporary seasonal employee to assists with visitor services and the bookstore on weekends during the summer.
 
Legislation, effective January 2004, enables the Department of State Lands to more fully develop its relationship with FOSS. The management of the Reserve, already works closely and collaboratively with FOSS, and will continue to develop this partnership and explore methods to enhance fundraising and utilize resources that serve both entities.

Local Interest Groups
Administrative services at the Reserve have benefited from collaborations with several local interest groups. The Charleston Merchants Association (CMA) is a non-profit local group of merchants who work together for mutual enhancement of their businesses. A feasibility study is currently under development to examine the possibility of co-locating the Charleston Visitor’s Center with the administrative offices of South Slough.
 
The Charleston Community Enhancement Corporation is another local non-profit group who work on projects of mutual interest to generate tourism and return visits to the area. This group has expressed interest in working with the Reserve to write grants and administer funds.
South Coast Business Enhancement Corporation (SCBEC) is a public service organization that funds and coordinates training opportunities for individuals entering the workforce for the first time, or returning to the workforce after time away. Periodic trainee placements from SCBEC provide the Reserve with administrative and visitor services assistance.