NCSS National Conference Bylaws Revisions Proposal Comment Period open April 17 through May 10

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NCSS National Conference Bylaws Revisions Proposal

Comment Period open April 17 through May 10

Dear National Cooperative Soil Survey Membership,

The National Cooperative Soil Survey Conference’s (NCSS) identified purpose is to contribute to the general human welfare by promoting the use and understanding of soil resource information and by developing recommendations for courses of action, including national policies and procedures, related to soil surveys and soil resource information.

Continuity of conference committee efforts and communications between and among conferences is fundamental to attaining objectives. A team, consisting of NRCS and Forest Service staff, refined the NCSS bylaws, to maximize their utility to that outcome. The NCSS bylaws and guidance for conducting NCSS conferences are contained in the National Soil Survey Handbook, Part 602, Subpart A and Subpart B.

The team’s initial strategy was to strengthen the Timeline of Activities, in Part 602.15, for steering and standing committee formation, communications, and results. Desired outcome: committee work is developed to the point of finalizing recommendations and decisions when the conference convenes.

Delving into the details, the team recognized additional opportunities to facilitate conference objectives and improve clarity by:

  • defining roles and responsibilities,
  • developing a roadmap for conference planning,
  • adapting to institutional realities,
  • streamlining, and reducing redundancies, and
  • listing standing committees and their objectives.

The bylaws clearly state that regional bylaws are the responsibility of the regions. However, the proposed changes to the national bylaws, if accepted, would affect the Regional Cooperative Soil Survey Conferences in the following major ways.:

  • The revised Timeline of Activities in Part 602.15 is applicable to both national and regional conferences for insuring coordination with national conferences.
  • The revisions establish standing committees for the national conference, as well as the same committees for all regional conferences

You are invited to comment on the proposed revisions, and/or make additional proposals, on a downloaded copy of the draft document made available for your review (see below). In doing so, please keep the following in mind:

  • The intent is to achieve the purpose of the National Cooperative Soil Survey Conference as stated above. Please focus on the big picture objective.
  • An English edit is planned prior to offering the revised bylaws for the conference member vote. Sentence structure, grammar, and formatting will be addressed at that time.

The comment period ends May 10, 2019. Comments will be incorporated into the review document upon team review. The revised document will be sent out for an electronic vote by May 17. Votes will be collected up to June 10, to accept or reject the bylaws by NCSS members, and to accept edits to the National Soil Survey Handbook. The result of the vote will be announced at the 2019 NCSS National Conference in Rhode Island, at the conference business meeting.

This document, along with the bylaws document with proposed revisions and tracked changes, are available in this read-only CloudVault folder:

https://new.cloudvault.usda.gov/index.php/s/FstinabgxDNw9WT

Please save a copy to your local drive, insert comments, and return a renamed file to this folder:

https://new.cloudvault.usda.gov/index.php/s/kW3zMSwpDFHTPny

Thank you very much,

The NCSS bylaws review team

Al Averill, NRCS, State Soil Scientist, Massachusetts and Vermont

John Lane, USFS Watershed and Air Program Manager, Juneau, Alaska

Dave Hoover, NRCS, National Soil Survey Center Director, Lincoln, Nebraska Rick Strait, NRCS, State Soil Scientist, New Mexico

Jennifer Wood, NRCS, Soil Data Quality Specialist, Davis, California

Jennifer Mason, NRCS, MLRA Soil Survey Office Leader, Clinton, Tennessee

Debbie Surabian, NRCS, State Soil Scientist, Connecticut

Wade Bott, NRCS, State Soil Scientist, North Dakota

Cathy McGuire, NRCS, Soil Survey Regional Director, Southwest Region 8, Phoenix, Arizona

Cory Cole, NRCS, State Soil Scientist, Alaska

D’Andre Yancey, NRCS, State Soil Scientist, Arizona

Larry Laing, National Soils Program Leader, Washington, D.C.