Outstanding Public Lands Professional Awards - 2009

Manager/Managerial - Administrative Category

Richard Prather
Richard Prather
Richard Prather
Left to right: Mat Millenbach (PLF), Cheryl McCaffrey (BLM-retired), Dick Prather (2009 Professional Managerial/Administrative Awardee), Ed Shepard (BLM State Director, OR/WA), Judy Nelson (PLF), Henri Bisson (PLF President), Jim Ducker (2009 Professional Technical/Operations Awardee), and Elaine Brong (PLF).

RICHARD “DICK” PRATHER’S outstanding managerial performance over many years and as the Project Manager for the Western Oregon Plan Revisions exemplify the qualities and performance of a Bureau of Land Management employee deserving of the Outstanding Public Lands Professional Award.  The Plan Revisions project was a four-year, multi-million dollar land use effort to develop a scientifically credible, legally defensible, and socially responsible management direction for 2.6 million acres of BLM-managed lands in western Oregon.

Dick orchestrated dozens of individuals across a wide variety of disciplines: computer modeling, spatial data experts, and professionals in more than 20 natural resource fields, public affairs specialists, a science team, and numerous contractors.  The project also involved the Coquille Tribe, four Federal agencies, ten State of Oregon agencies, and seventeen counties as formal cooperators.  Despite intense opposition to changing the standards and guidelines developed under the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP), Dick believed that BLM could find a better and more efficient way to meet its legal obligations by using the plan revision process that stems from the FLPMA.  He used both new and traditional methods to implement the plan revision process.

Dick exhibited outstanding vision and foresight in identifying issues that must be resolved with Federal regulatory agencies and by anticipating the convergence of multiple agency planning efforts.  His commitment to collaboration, and his careful attention to the implications of these efforts, resulted in an unprecedented level of coordination and consistency between agencies.  His work also enabled the public to review agency plans in a holistic manner and to obtain an understanding of interrelated efforts regarding the northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet.

Dick showed outstanding leadership providing for an extensive level of intergovernmental and interagency collaboration.  Formal cooperators included 17 western Oregon counties, the Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Forest Service.  The Oregon Governor joined the BLM in a Memorandum of Agreement to bring the expertise of ten State agencies to the table to speak with one voice.

As Project Manager, Dick proved adept at empowering employees and helping them realize their full potential.  He provided opportunities for employees throughout western Oregon to broaden their experience and learn leadership skills through details, term positions, training, and other participation in the planning process.  Employees with limited experience were given opportunities to develop and utilize skills at the regional level and in an interagency and intergovernmental context, and many employees were introduced to new analytical tools and methodologies.  He fostered employee growth and development in the areas of management skill which will be invaluable as the BLM moves forward.

Richard “Dick” Prather’s excellence in every aspect of management of natural and human resources define an outstanding professional and his work and dedication have rightly earned him the Public Lands Foundation’s 2009 Outstanding Public Lands Professional Award in the Managerial/Technical category.