What does a natural resource manager do?

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What is a Natural Resource Manager?

A natural resource manager is responsible for the sustainable management and conservation of natural resources, including land, water, forests, wildlife, and minerals. They work to balance environmental protection with the responsible use of natural resources to meet the needs of present and future generations.

Natural resource managers may work in various sectors, including government agencies, non-profit organizations, consulting firms, and private companies, and they often collaborate with stakeholders such as landowners, community groups, indigenous communities, and government agencies to develop and implement resource management plans. They ensure the long-term health and viability of natural ecosystems and support the sustainable use of natural resources for social, economic, and environmental benefits.

What does a Natural Resource Manager do?

An image of forest land and a lake.

Duties and Responsibilities
The duties and responsibilities of a natural resource manager can vary depending on the specific role, organization, and type of natural resources being managed, but generally include:

  • Resource Assessment: Conducting surveys, studies, and assessments to evaluate the condition, abundance, and distribution of natural resources such as land, water, forests, wildlife, and minerals. This may involve collecting field data, analyzing environmental data, and using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to map and inventory natural resources.
  • Management Planning: Developing and implementing management plans and strategies to sustainably manage and conserve natural resources. This may include setting goals and objectives, identifying management priorities, and designing management actions to achieve desired outcomes while considering ecological, social, and economic factors.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Ensuring compliance with environmental regulations, laws, and policies related to natural resource management, such as the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and other federal, state, and local regulations. This may involve obtaining permits, conducting environmental impact assessments, and adhering to best management practices.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Collaborating with stakeholders, including government agencies, tribal governments, non-profit organizations, industry stakeholders, landowners, and the public, to solicit input, build consensus, and address concerns related to natural resource management. This may involve facilitating public meetings, workshops, and consultations to gather feedback and incorporate diverse perspectives into decision-making processes.
  • Conservation and Restoration: Implementing conservation and restoration projects to protect and restore natural habitats, ecosystems, and biodiversity. This may involve restoring degraded ecosystems, conserving endangered species, managing invasive species, and protecting critical habitats through land acquisition, conservation easements, and habitat restoration efforts.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation: Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of management actions and conservation efforts to assess progress towards achieving management goals and objectives. This may involve collecting monitoring data, analyzing trends, and reporting on the status of natural resources to stakeholders, policymakers, and the public.
  • Education and Outreach: Providing environmental education and outreach to raise awareness about the importance of natural resource conservation and sustainable management practices. This may involve developing educational materials, leading interpretive programs, and engaging with schools, community groups, and the media to promote environmental stewardship and public participation in conservation efforts.

Types of Natural Resource Managers
Natural resource managers can specialize in various areas depending on the type of natural resources they work with and the specific focus of their responsibilities. Some common types of natural resource managers include:

  • Rangeland Manager: Rangeland managers focus on the sustainable management of rangelands, including grasslands, shrublands, and grazing lands. They may be responsible for managing livestock grazing, implementing range improvement projects, monitoring vegetation health, and balancing the needs of livestock production with habitat conservation and ecosystem health.
  • Forestry Manager: Forestry managers specialize in the sustainable management and conservation of forest resources, including timber, wildlife habitat, watershed protection, and recreational opportunities. They may oversee timber harvesting operations, reforestation efforts, wildlife management, and forest ecosystem restoration projects.
  • Wildlife Manager: Wildlife managers focus on the conservation and management of wildlife populations and habitats. They may be responsible for monitoring wildlife populations, implementing habitat restoration projects, managing hunting and fishing programs, and developing wildlife management plans to promote biodiversity and protect endangered species.
  • Water Resource Manager: Water resource managers specialize in the management and conservation of water resources, including rivers, lakes, wetlands, and groundwater. They may be involved in water quality monitoring, watershed management, floodplain management, water conservation initiatives, and water resource planning to ensure sustainable water supply and ecosystem health.
  • Parks and Recreation Manager: Parks and recreation managers oversee the management and operation of parks, natural reserves, and recreational areas. They may be responsible for developing recreational programs, maintaining trails and facilities, managing visitor use, and implementing conservation measures to protect natural and cultural resources within park boundaries.
  • Fisheries Manager: Fisheries managers specialize in the conservation and management of fish and aquatic resources. They may be responsible for monitoring fish populations, implementing fisheries management plans, regulating fishing activities, restoring fish habitats, and managing aquaculture operations to promote sustainable fisheries and protect aquatic ecosystems.
  • Land Use Planner: Land use planners focus on the strategic planning and management of land resources to balance competing land uses and promote sustainable development. They may be responsible for zoning regulations, land use policies, environmental impact assessments, and urban growth management to protect natural resources and support community development goals.

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What is the workplace of a Natural Resource Manager like?

The workplace of a natural resource manager can vary significantly depending on the specific field, organization, and nature of the projects they are involved in. Generally, natural resource managers spend a considerable amount of time working both indoors and outdoors, often in diverse settings ranging from office environments to remote field locations.

In office settings, natural resource managers engage in a variety of tasks such as data analysis, report writing, project planning, and stakeholder coordination. They may collaborate with colleagues, stakeholders, and experts to develop management plans, assess environmental impacts, and make strategic decisions regarding the conservation and utilization of natural resources. Office work also involves administrative tasks such as budget management, grant writing, and regulatory compliance to ensure that projects are carried out efficiently and in accordance with legal requirements.

Fieldwork is an integral part of the natural resource manager's job, allowing them to observe and interact directly with the ecosystems they are responsible for managing. Fieldwork activities may include conducting surveys, collecting data, monitoring wildlife populations, assessing habitat conditions, and implementing on-the-ground conservation measures. Natural resource managers may spend extended periods in the field, working in diverse environments such as forests, wetlands, rangelands, or aquatic ecosystems, often facing rugged terrain, adverse weather conditions, and physical challenges.

Additionally, natural resource managers often interact with a wide range of stakeholders, including government agencies, tribal governments, non-profit organizations, industry representatives, landowners, and community groups. They may engage in public outreach, attend meetings, and participate in collaborative decision-making processes to address complex environmental issues and foster partnerships for sustainable natural resource management.

Natural Resource Managers are also known as:
Environmental Resource Manager Conservation Manager