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Authorizations For Science Within MCNCA




Currently, there is no formal process for scientific authorizations with MCNCA outside of the state-wide process for permitting paleontological and archaeological research. The process described below is not meant to replace or duplicate these processes. When a prior process is already in place, it will take precedence and researchers will only need to complete one permitting process. The process outlined below will only take affect when no other permitting process applies. However, permits and authorizations will be shared between appropriate state and field office staff for research taking place within MCNCA.


All requests should be carefully considered, weighing potential benefits and costs. The following process has been adapted from other NLCS units.


1. Scientist submits proposal to MCNCA science coordinator.

a. Proposals must include:

i. Contact information for the principal investigator

ii. Summary of proposed research (not to exceed 3 pages) including

1. A brief explanation of background information;

2. Rationale for research;

3. Research methods;

4. Timeline for field work; and,

5. Outline of public outreach efforts, if appropriate.

2. The proposal will be considered by the MCNCA science coordinator for completeness. The coordinator will consult with staff specialists, as appropriate, to determine if the proposal is:

a. Complete;

b. Conforms to the MCNCA Science Guidelines (including all relevant laws and regulations);

c. Conforms to the MCNCA Resource Management Plan;

d. Meets the MCNCA scientific mission.

3. The science coordinator will brief the MCNCA manager on the review of the science proposal. Subsequently, the MCNCA manager (or the manager's designee) will grant or deny authorization to conduct the scientific investigation.

4. If a proposal is denied authorization:

a. A letter of denial will be provided to the scientist and will include justification for the denial.

5. If a proposal is granted authorization:

a. A determination will be made as to what, if any, NEPA analysis is necessary.

b. A letter of authorization will be provided to the scientist, signed by the MCNCA manager (or the manager's designee). The authorization may include stipulations such as NEPA analysis requirements, time limits, geographic limits, reporting requirements, and public outreach requirements.

c. The proposal will be added to an internal tracking document of on-going scientific investigations in MCNCA, accessible by all MCNCA staff.

d. Reporting requirements for all scientific investigations will require:

i. Progress reports (at least annually), filed with the science coordinator;

1. Progress reports should include status of the investigation and preliminary findings when possible.

ii. Final reports, filed with the science coordinator;

1. Final reports should include:

a. Research background and results;

b. Discussion of the results including how the results are relevant to the NLCS unit and potential management decisions;

c. A summary of the public outreach effort if appropriate;

d. Raw data where appropriate; and, 

e. Electronic copies of any published papers resulting from the scientific investigation.

iii. Manager's summary report.

1. Manager's summary reports are brief presentations (in any appropriate format) of research results to BLM managers, which ensure that:

a. Management questions are answered;

b. Managers have a full understanding of scientific findings; and,

c. Managers can incorporate these findings in their management decisions.

iv. If results of research are not sensitive material (for example some cultural and paleontological studies), a public outreach component.

6. The authorization is routed to MCNCA and GJFO staff.

a. Copies of the authorization will be made available to BLM staff, for example on the shared drive.

b. Short descriptions of ongoing research will be made available to the general public, for example on the MCNCA web page.

i. Sensitive topics, for example location of specific cultural or paleontological sites, should be excluded from public information for protection of resources.

7. Research is initiated.

a. Research must be conducted according to the stipulations outlined in the authorization.

8. Research is completed, and final report is filed with the science coordinator.