In the face of shrinking budgets, doing more with less is a fact of life for many governmental employees. But the efforts of some federal workers in Grayson and Breckinridge counties are drawing national honors.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office at Rough River Lake recently was named the Corps’ 2012 Chief of Engineers Natural Resources Management Project of the Year.
The award recognizes an office or “project” for its accomplishments in management efficiency, public involvement, public safety, management effectiveness, partnerships, environmental stewardship and environmental compliance as related to all elements of the Corps’ Natural Resources Management Program.
The evaluation focuses on management efforts that contribute to greater efficiency and effectiveness in use of personnel and funds, while sustaining or improving good customer service and stewardship of project resources.
The Corps has been naming a Project of the Year for more than 44 years.
Park manager Diane Stratton said Rough River was selected because of efforts to serve “the Corps and our nation very well with effective management with decreased funding.”
“The staff is (being) recognized for outstanding efforts to maximize their programs in a manner that allows them to still meet the needs of the visiting public,” she said.
The Corps operates and maintains 422 multi-use lake projects around the country.
Rough River Lake was first selected as the representative project for the Ohio River Division before moving on to the national review at the Corps’ headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The award, made earlier this month, cites outstanding achievement by the Rough River Lake staff in reshaping culture, aligning for success, and providing “one door to the Corps”.
Judges noted they maintain quality recreational facilities, resulting in safe and healthful outdoor recreational opportunities. Safety awareness programs have been revolutionized by thinking “outside-the-box” and creating initiatives that serve the public on national, regional and local levels, judges also noted, and the staff places an emphasis on stewardship and professional leadership in establishing joint programs with local communities, special interest groups, volunteers and other public agencies.
Nationwide, the Corps of Engineers has faced budget cuts for about the last three years. In fiscal 2012, for example, its $4.63 billion budget reflected a one-year cut of 6 percent, and a two-year cut of 15 percent. For fiscal 2013, which begins later this year, the president is proposing a slight funding increase, to $4.73 billion.
An awards ceremony is being planned at Rough River Lake on Aug. 6, but further details were not available Friday.