An Independent Review of the National Park Service’s Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate

June 2010 - The National Park Service's (NPS) Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate (NRSS) requested that an independent panel of the National Academy conduct a review of its effectiveness in five core functions, its relationships with key internal stakeholders, and its performance measurement system. Among other things, the NPS' NRSS is responsible for providing usable natural and social science information throughout the NPS.

NRSS leadership requested this review of the directorate’s performance on five core functions, its relationships with key internal NPS stakeholders, and its performance measurement system.

Main Findings

The panel determined that NRSS is a highly regarded organization that provides independent, credible scientific expertise and technical information. The panel also found that NRSS and NPS have additional opportunities to advance natural resource stewardship throughout the Service. If implemented, the panel’s eight major recommendations will: (1) help the Service respond to the parks’ environmental challenges while raising public awareness about the condition of these special places; (2) strengthen NRSS as an organization; (3) promote scientifically based decision-making at the national, regional, and park levels; and (4) improve the existing performance measurement system.