A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Mary Josie Blanchard is Deputy Director of the Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance (OEPC) within the Office of the Secretary in the Department of the Interior. She is a member of the Senior Executive Service. In this position, Ms. Blanchard oversees and coordinates DOI's compliance with environmental statutes, handling environmental matters that cut across the various bureaus of the Department and provides environmental advice to upper management. She works extensively with the eight regions of OEPC. Among her accomplishments, she led an interdisciplinary team which substantially improved the Department's fiscal reporting to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for hydropower licensing. Ms. Blanchard was instrumental in developing and implementing the Environmental Safeguards Management Improvement initiative in which Interior serves as the primary Federal agency for response to emergencies dealing with natural and cultural resources and historic properties during incidents under the National Response Framework. This initiative has provided successful planning for, response to and recovery from disasters-in part by incorporating lessons learned from recent hurricanes into Standard Operating Procedures.
Immediately prior to her assuming this position, she was Assistant Director, Program Support at the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) in the Department of the Interior. She was responsible for developing OSM's regulations, policies, and technical guidance for active and abandoned mine land reclamation in order to implement the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. In addition, she oversaw the Applicant Violator System and technical training programs. Ms. Blanchard's other positions at OSM have included Special Assistant to the Director where she headed the agency's Interim Management Team which developed management guidance for turning the bureau into a highly functioning organization. This guidance was a model for inclusion of employees and customers in its implementation. Earlier, she held various branch chief and staff positions within the bureau where she managed and improved the surface coal mining and reclamation operations on Federal and Indian lands.
In between her two tenures at OSM, Ms. Blanchard served in OEPC as Senior Environmental Review Officer for Minerals activities and National Environmental Policy Act compliance. There she served as DOI's representative on Federal Catastrophic Disaster Response Group for planning and implementing response to earthquakes which included revising the Departmental procedures for quickly assessing the impact on bureau facilities impacted by earthquakes. She later organized and managed the Hazardous Materials Management Division which oversaw DOI's compliance for treatment, disposal, and cleanup of hazardous and solid wastes on DOI's lands and facilities.
Ms. Blanchard received various awards including the Department of the Interior's two highest awards-the Distinguished Service award and the Meritorious Service award as well as the Interior Women's Distinguished Leadership Award. Groups under her leadership have also earned unit awards.
Before her Federal Service, Ms. Blanchard was one of the first employees in the Surface Mining and Reclamation Division of the Texas Railroad Commission where she developed and implemented the permitting system for coal and uranium mine land reclamation in Texas. She was appointed by the Governor of Texas to the Interstate Mining Compact Commission. She also served in the Environmental Planning Division of the Texas General Land Office where she provided research and coordination on environmental planning and review and development of the coastal zone management program.
Ms. Blanchard, a native Texan, has an A.A. with honors from Stephens College and a B.A. and an M.A. from The University of Texas. She was a Senior Executive Fellow at Harvard University. Ms. Blanchard received the Stephens College Alumnae Achievement Award in 2007. She also serves as an officer in Executive Women in Government. She also teaches flute and is a Master Gardener.