Whoever is chosen for the position would work closely with federal land agencies on local areas of concerns

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Crook County plans to hire a natural resources manager.

In December, the Crook County Court approved a Natural Resources Policy that had been the subject of considerable discussion and debate.

Now, county officials have turned their attention to implementing the plan, which will include formation of a new committee and the hiring of a new natural resource manager.

Introduced to the County Court in May 2016, the Natural Resources Policy dictates how public lands should be managed locally and covered a variety of topics, including wildfire suppression, grazing, logging, wild horse policy and more.

"One of the aspects of the Natural Resources Policy is getting somebody in place to help us manage interaction with the federal government," said Crook County Judge Seth Crawford. "We spelled out pretty specifically in the plan that we wanted a natural resources manager and then a natural resource committee, so we will be able to get local input and use local people with knowledge of natural resources and public lands."

Whoever is chosen for the position would be asked to "provide professional and technical assistance in implementing highly complex and comprehensive natural resource management strategies on public lands." The individual will also manage and coordinate the Natural Resources Policy, including recruitment of a volunteer natural resources committee that they would chair.

"It would just be somebody who could help us to gather information and sift through information," Crawford added. "I foresee this person, whoever we hire, interacting greatly with the (federal land use) agencies and helping to articulate what Crook County's goals, cultures and ideas are for public lands."

County officials ideally would like to hire somebody with a minimum of a bachelor's degree in environmental science, botany and biology or somebody with five years of experience in a related field.

The position will start out as half-time with a salary landing between $28,455 and $38,265 per year without benefits.

"I think it is important to test things out before you go full bore on it, so I think it is good to start on a part-time basis to see how successful it is," Crawford said. "Are we getting our money's worth? Is it something that is fruitful? If it is, we can look at whether increasing the time would make it more effective."

The Natural Resources Policy will officially take effect in early April, and while hiring a natural resources manager and forming a committee is part of that process, county officials are willing to take whatever time they need to find the right fit for the new position.

"I don't think we should just hire somebody just because of a timeline," he said. "We need to hire the right person."

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