Members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District Regulatory Division team were honored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for contributions made to the MS SLOPES tool development.
The award recipients included Jennifer Mallard, head of regulatory affairs, Cori Carraway, head of permitting and evaluation, Jennifer Brown, a senior environmental specialist, and Mike Stewart, a retired senior environmental specialist.
The honorees were presented with the Environmental Leadership Award, known as the Environmental Review Permit Champion. Their recognition was also confirmed by the U.S. Department of the Interiors Natural Resource Conservation Achievement Award.
The Mississippi Standard Operating Procedure for Endangered Species (MS SLOPES) was first implemented in 2017. MS SLOPES is an effort between USFWS and the USACE Vicksburg district, providing a one-stop document which will allow both to fulfill the responsibilities cited under the Endangered Species Act. Prior to MS SLOPES, each agency was required to complete separate ESA evaluations and consultations for regulated activities.
The tool provides a guide for assessing the potential impact of regulated activities on species and habitats protected by the Endangered Species Act. MS SLOPES provides an opportunity to streamline the process for permit seekers, as less deliberation and time is needed for the Regulatory Division to complete evaluations and consultations.
“This effort couldn’t have been possible without our dedicated U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service partners and USACE Regulatory personnel. Together, we created a lasting framework that USACE and the Service, will utilize for years to come,” said USACE Vicksburg District Commander Col. Robert Hilliard.