Volume 2, Issue 2 - Fall 2009
Message from the Director
Mention "official review" during November in much of the country and folks are likely to think you’re talking football. And although I might admit to watching more than my share of gridiron action lately, the official review that is most on my mind is unrelated to athletic events. Rather, my thoughts turn to the recently submitted management review of the Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center (EFETAC) and our sister center, the Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center (WWETAC). The review was conducted in July on behalf of the three deputy chiefs representing Forest Service Research and Development, State and Private Forestry, and the National Forest System; all three branches have vested interests in the Centers and provide financial support. Participants in the review included national and regional Forest Service staff and a representative from the National Association of State Foresters. Jerry Beatty, WWETAC Director, and I are currently drafting a response to the review that will outline our plans for addressing concerns and recommendations raised by the review team. (The report of the management review team and our response will be posted on our website soon.)
Above: Many of the team members from the Eastern and Western Threat Assessment Centers met for the first time at a joint retreat in 2007.
The review provided an excellent opportunity to showcase the work of the Centers, assess our progress, and suggest improvements for the future. It also was a chance for Center scientists and staff to engage agency leaders directly and discuss how our efforts address pressing concerns. Although we did not have time to cover everything, a full day packed with technical presentations left little doubt that EFETAC is engaged in cutting edge research and development that ultimately will be invaluable in predicting, detecting, and assessing forest threats. I see the hard work of our employees and cooperators every day, so I shouldn’t be surprised, but even I found the breadth and quality of the efforts described impressive. Check out the on-line presentations from the review and I think you’ll agree.
Particularly noteworthy is the fact that much progress has been made at EFETAC in a relatively short time span. When I first arrived in Asheville in July 2005, EFETAC existed in name only. Not only was I the inaugural Director, I was the only employee for several months. My first priority beyond securing office furniture and a computer was to recruit and hire a core staff to carry out the mission of this new Center.