oversight

National Park Service: Flood Recovery Efforts at Yosemite National Park, California

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-01-27.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

GAO   United States
      General Accounting Office
      Washington, D.C. 20548

      Resources, Community, and
      Economic Development Division

      B-281665


      January 27, 1999


      Congressional Requesters

      Subject: National Park Service: Flood Recover-v Efforts at Yos_emiteNational
               Park, California

      This letter is in response to your June 3, 1998, request that we review the use of
      the disaster recovery funds provided for Yosemite National Park by Public Law
      105-18, following the January 1997 flood that damaged much of the park’s
      buildings and infrastructure. The park received $176 million as emergency
      funds to pay for flood damages. The funds provided were to be used for
      expenses related to construction including improvements, repairs, or
      replacement of physical facilities. Accordingly, some of the funds were used for
      previously planned park facilities damaged or affected by the flood. Because of
      the large amount of money involved and recent incidents of questionable
      spending on construction by the National Park Service (NPS),l such as the
      $330,000 outhouse that was built at the Delaware Water Gap National
      Recreation Area, you asked us to address the following questions:

      -   Are planned and actual expenditures consistent with the park’s planning
          documents?

      -   Do the costs of the disaster recovery projects appear reasonable?

      -   Is there any merit to the allegations that we received about the misuse of
          some of the disaster recovery funds?




      ‘See our report entitled National Park Service: Efforts to Identify and
      Manage the Maintenance Backlog (GAO/RCED-98-143, May 14, 1998) and Cost
      of Construction of Employee Housing at Grand Canyon and Yosemite
      National Parks, National Park Service, Office of Inspector General,
      Department of the Interior (No. 97-I-224, Dec. 11, 1996).
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On November 17 and December 4, 1998, we briefed your staff on the results of
our review and agreed to provide you with this report summarizing our findings.
In brief, the following are our answers to the specific questions you raised:

-       To date, we have not identified any inconsistencies between planned and
        actual expenditures and the park’s planning documents.

-       At the time of our review, only about one-third of the funds (about $60
        million) had been obligated or spent, and the costs for the disaster recovery
        projects that we sampled appeared to be reasonable. However, the park did
        not sufficiently justify its plan to use flood recovery funds to construct
        additional office space.

-       We received allegations from a variety of sources, which included, for
        example, concerns about the misuse of flood recovery funds to purchase
        vehicles and computer equipment. The allegations that we reviewed about
        the misuse of flood recovery funds, however, could not be substantiated.

It should be noted that our review provides a snapshot of the flood recovery
obligations and expenditures made between the time of the January 1997 flood
and September 30, 1998. To address your first two questions, we randomly
sampled 21 of the 213 projects that the park officials had identified as being
part of their flood recovery effort. The 21 projects represented over 80 percent
of the obligations and expenditures made as of September 30, 1998. In addition,
to determine if the allegations made had merit, we discussed them with
appropriate individuals and reviewed pertinent documentation that was
available. We also discuss in this report the two lawsuits against NPS that may
 delay the completion of some flood recovery projects.

    SAMPLED PROJECTS WERE CONSISTENT WITH PARK’S PLANS

As of September 30, 1998, the park had obligated about $60 million, or one-
third, of the $176 million it received. The Congress provided the park with $176
million to repair damages from the flood as well as to improve the park in
accordance with current planning documents, which include the General
Management Plan, Housing Plan, Concession Services Plan, Yosemite Lodge
Development Concept Plan, and Valley Implementation Plan. Of the 213
disaster recovery projects, 27 relate to at least one of these plans. One hundred
eighty-six projects do not relate to these planning documents primarily because
they involve normal park operations that were damaged by the flood and
required flood-recovery funding for repair.

    With regard to our sample, we found that 12 of the 21 projects related to the
    park’s planning documents and were consistent with them. For example, the
    Yosemite Lodge projects are consistent with the General Management Plan and

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Concession Services Plan, and the Annex/Ozone and Camp Six concessionaire
employee housing projects are discussed in the Housing Plan. The remaining
nine sampled projects were not related to specific planning documents. These
included items such as repairing damage to the El Portal road, electrical lines
under the river, and Yosemite Creek Lift Station.

SAMPLED PROJECTS’COSTS APPEAR REASONABLE

We found that the estimated costs for the 21 sampled projects appear
reasonable. However, it should be noted that final costs have not been
determined because most projects are not yet completed. As a result,
obligations for most of the sampled projects have been higher for planning and
designing the work to be performed than for the actual construction. Several
factors may also affect the final costs. All projects are being or will be “value
engineered,” which should also help ensure their reasonableness.’ Projects
estimated to cost over $500,000 are being reviewed by an NPS Servicewide
Development Advisory Board to help ensure that they are consistent with
congressional committee and policy guidance. And, in response to a National
Academy of Public Administration study, NPS is making changes to its cost-
estimating procedures, which may result in changes to the projects’ costs.

One of the park’s approved projects was to construct a new building to provide
office space for 12 Resource Management staff who were occupying a building
damaged by the flood. Initially, the park planned to replace the flooded
building with a one-story building with comparable square footage. After this
project was approved, the park decided to add a second story to the new
building instead of leasing a modular building at an estimated cost of $500,000.
The second story space is to be temporarily used by Office of Flood Recovery
staff and later by Resource Management staff. The new building would provide
office space for about 50 Resource Management staff.

In our opinion, the park did not sufficiently justify its plan to use flood recovery
funds to construct the second story to this new building. The park plans to use
$500,000 in flood recovery funds to provide office space for Office of Flood
Recovery staff. According to NPS, the cost of managing the projects was part
of the gross estimate for all of the projects; therefore, the $500,000is not an
increase to the original estimate. In justifying its use of these funds to
construct a second story to a new building, the park determined that it would


20ffice of Management and Budget Circular No. A-131 defines value engineering
as an organized effort directed at analyzing the function of systems, equipment,
facilities, services, and supplies for the purpose of achieving the essential
functions at the lowest life-cycle cost consistent with required performance,
reliability, quality, and safety.

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(1) need office space for 30 employees; (2) lease rather than purchase a
modular building for office space; and (3) locate the building at its El Portal,
California, warehouse site. The Office of Flood Recovery staff plan to use the
new space until they complete their work. At that tune, employees from the
Resources Management Division, who are currently working in an interior area
of the park-known as the valley-will move into the offices. Moving such
employees out of the valley is consistent with the park’s objective to do so.

However, we question the park’s justification for the following reasons:

-       First, in October 1997, the park determined that it would cost $500,000 to
        lease a temporary modular building for office space for 30 authorized Office
        of Flood Recovery staff. In August 1998, the park requested and obtained
        approval from its regional office to use $500,000 of the park’s flood recovery
        funds to cover the costs of building a second floor rather than lease.
        However, as of September 30, 1998, the actual number of employees in the
        Office of Flood Recovery was 18; for the most part, these employees were
        working in an area that was formerly used for training.

-       Second, the park received a single cost estimate to (1) lease 5,760 square
        feet of modular office space for 4 years for $500,000 or (2) purchase the
        same space for $400,000. The park decided to apply the full $500,000
        leasing-cost estimate to add a 4,300~square-footsecond story to a new
        structure to be built. Thus, the park justified the use of $500,000 to build
        the additional square footage on the basis of leasing 33-percent more square
        footage of office space (1,460 square feet-the difference between 5,760 and
        4,300 square feet) than it plans to actually build for the Office of Flood
        Recovery staff.

-       Last, the park considered alternatives for providing the office space only at
        its El Portal warehouse. The park did not consider acquiring office space at
        other locations to determine whether sufficient space was available
        elsewhere and its related lease or purchase price.

    ALLEGATIONS REGARDING MISUSE OF FLOOD
    RECOVERY FUNDS NOT SUBSTANTLTED

    We could not substantiate any of the allegations we received about the misuse
    of disaster recovery funds. We received allegations from several sources who
    claimed, for example, that flood recovery funds were misused for purchasing
    new vehicles and computer equipment or for retaining campgrounds in the
    floodplain. We met with the individuals making the allegations to better
    understand the basis for the allegations and to acquire specific information to
    substantiate their claims. However, the information provided by these


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individuals in support of their allegations either did not contain specific details,
addressed their claims only partly, or was incorrect.

ACTION TAKEN TO ADDRESS LAWSUITS MAY DELAY
COMPLETING SOME FLOOD RECOVERY PROJECTS

NPS was recently the defendant in two lawsuits that, according to NPS, have
been dropped. Actions taken to address the issues raised in these lawsuits,
however, may delay completing some of the disaster relief projects at Yosemite.
Such delays could increase the cost associated with the park’s flood recovery
projects. One lawsuit concerned constructing buildings in or adjacent to an
area that has historically been used by rock climbers, The lawsuit contended
that, among other things, NPS failed to prepare an environmental impact
statement, failed to consider alternative sites, and violated the NPS Organic Act
and Administrative Procedures Act.

The second lawsuit challenged the 1997 Yosemite Lodge Development Concept
Plan. This lawsuit contended that, among other things, the park failed to
consider all significant environmental impacts, failed to evaluate other
reasonable alternatives, and should have prepared a full environmental impact
statement rather than an environmental assessment.

NPS informed us that in December 1998, the park announced that it would
conduct an environmental impact statement for Yosemite Valley development,
which will ensure a full assessment of cumulative impacts and avoid claims of
fragmented planning. NPS anticipates that the draft environmental impact
statement will be available for release to the public in May 1999 and finalized
later in the year.

AGENCY COMMENTS AND OUR EVALUATION

We obtained agency comments on a draft of this report from the Assistant
Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, Department of the Interior. (See enc.
I.) The agency said that it generally agreed with the findings in the draft report
and provided several comments for our consideration. We have revised the
report where appropriate to address these comments.

The agency had several specific comments on our findings about the park’s plan
to build new space for the Office of Flood Recovery staff. Specifically, the
agency commented on (1) its need for office space for 30 employees, (2) its
justification to build rather than lease the office space, and (3) its decision to
locate the office space at its El Portal warehouse.

The agency commented that it still plans to increase the Office of Flood
Recovery staff from its current level of 18 employees to 30 employees and place

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them in the new office space. Hiring the additional employees has been delayed
about 1 year by legal challenges to Yosemite Lodge construction, which led the
park to postpone filling some flood recovery positions, especially those related
to the supervision of construction. Also, upon anticipated approval of a
comprehensive environmental impact statement for Yosemite Valley
development, over $90 million worth of construction will begin, and the Office
of Flood Recovery plans to provide up to the programmed number of staff and
remain at that level through its 3-year construction period. However, we
continue to believe that there are uncertainties about whether staffing at the full
authorized level of 30 positions will be necessary. Work that is currently being
done by the existing 18 staff has continued while the environmental impact
statement is being prepared. As such, projects that are not affected by the
delay could be completed, thus freeing up the time of existing staff to work on
the delayed Yosemite Valley development projects. Also, according to Yosemite
 officials, the supervision of construction may be contracted out rather than
 done in-house. Finally, some of the work associated with Yosemite Valley’s
 development has already been undertaken, specifically that related to the
 planning and design as well as the demolition work needed in preparation for
 the delayed projects’ construction, which should reduce the need for additional
Staff.

The agency commented that, if modular office units had been leased for the
Office of Flood Recovery, 5,760 square feet of space would have been required.
However, the agency said that the space can be reduced to 4,300 square feet if
built as part of the Resource Management building by allowing common use of
rest rooms, meeting rooms, copying and faxing machines, et cetera. It also said
that the $500,000estimate for the office space is based on what would have
been needed if modular units were leased; therefore, it is appropriate to apply
that amount toward the construction of the new Resource Management building
because building a permanent structure is a better use of the money. However,
the agency’s explanation does not clearly show how the -agency has reduced the
space requirement by over 1,400 square feet as a result of common uses. For
example, the designs for both the first and second floors of the new building
had rest rooms and copy rooms identified. Also, space savings do not appear to
result from the common use of a 400-square-foot conference room on the
second floor. The design plan for the leased space included 400 square feet for
a conference room and a separate break room, whereas the new space does not
include a break room. Therefore, there is no net change in the square footage.
 In addition, we understand that the park used its estimate for leasing the
 modular units to justify its expenditures. Our point is that, in doing so, the park
justified the expenditure to build additional square footage on the basis of
 leasing more space than it plans to build.

 The agency commented that the General Management Plan calls for the majority
 of Yosemite’s administrative and maintenance support facilities to be located in

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El Portal. The agency said that it evaluated five possible alternative sites in El
Portal and that the preferred building site best meets established criteria
(proximity to existing infrastructure, interface with existing offices, least
disruption to on-site operations, and minimized impact to a sensitive resource
area) and offers the additional benefit of removing more Resource Management
offices from Yosemite Valley once the flood recovery staff vacate the space.
We believe that the park could have explored other potentially more cost-
effective alternatives, even within El Portal, for housing staff temporarily
assigned to the Office of Flood Recovery. We do not question the need for the
additional office space for permanent employees at El Portal or the plan to
relocate employees according to the General Management Plan. However, in
evaluating the five alternatives, the park only considered locating this office’s
staff outside the park at the warehouse in El Portal. For example, a draft
report of a recently completed study of the park’s housing, done at the request
of NPS, indicated that there are excess employee housing units in El Portal.
Thus, since the park already uses former employee housing as office space,
excess employee housing might have provided an option for consideration.



We conducted our review from June 1998 through January 1999 in accordance
with generally accepted government auditing standards. A discussion of our
scope and methodology appears in enclosure II.

As agreed with your offices, unless you publicly announce its contents earlier,
we plan no further distribution of this report until 30 days from the date of this
letter. At that time, we will make copies of this report available to others upon
request.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact me on
(202) 512-3841. Major contributors to this report were Cliff Fowler, Roy Judy,
Richard Kasdan, Kenneth Kurz, Diane Lund, and William Temmler.




Enclosures - 2




7                                    GAO/RCED-99-50RYosemite Flood Recovery Efforts
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List of Congressional Requesters

The Honorable Slade Gorton
Chairman, Subcommittee on Interior
  and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate

The Honorable Craig Thomas
Chairman, Subcommittee on National Parks,
  Historic Preservation, and Recreation
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
United States Senate

The Honorable Ralph Regula
Chairman, Subcommittee on Interior
  and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
House of Representatives




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ENCLOSURE I                                                                         ENCLOSURE I




                 United States Department                   of the Interior
                                    OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
                                      Washington, D.C. 20240




                                         January11,1999




     Mr. Barry T. Hill
     AssociateDirector, Ener,oy,Resources,
       and ScienceIssues
     U. S. GeneralAccounting Office
     441 G Street,NW
     Washington,DC 20548

     Dear Mr. Hill:

     The Departmentof the Interior has reviewedthe GeneralAccounting Office’s (GAO)
     draft report entitled, “National Park Service: Flood RecovervEfforts at Yosemite
     National Park. California” (GAO/RCED-99-50R). We are generallypleasedwith the
     findings in the draft report, and offer the following commentsregardinga few specific
     issues:

            Page4, Paragraph1: This paragraphstatesthat “final project costshavenot been
            determinedbecauseobligationsfor most of the sampledprojects havebeenhigher
            for planning and designwork to be performed...than for actual construction.”
            This is a confusing statement.It seemsto suggestthat planning and designwill
            cost more than construction. Actually, the obligationsat this’point for planning      .’
            and design are higher only becausethey happenedfirst, and much of the
            constructioncosts have not yet beenincurred. It may be clearerto statethat final
            costs are unknown becausemost projectsarenot yet completed.

            Page4, Paragraph1: Although the National Park Service(NPS) is making
            changesto its cost-estimatingproceduresin responseto the National Academy of
            Public Administration study, it is.not true that flood recoveryproject estimates
            may change. In quarterlyprogressreportsto Congress,the park is requiredto
            comparethe original estimatesto actualobligations. Thereforethe original
            estimateswill be retained.

            Page4, Paragraph2: In this section,wherethe use of flood recoveryfunds to
            construct additional office spaceis first questioned,we beIieve it would be helpful
            to clarify the intent of the new construction. The main purposeof the new



 9                                            GAOIRCED-99-50RYosemite Flood Recovery Efforts
ENCLOSURE I                                                                       ENCLOSURE I




        building is to replaceResourceManagementDivision offices destroyedby the
       flood. The replacementof thoseoffices was a specific component(package
       number 903) of the funding requestthat was sentto andapprovedby Congress.
       Adding squarefootagewithin the replacementbuilding for the Flood Recovery
       Office staffs temporaryuseis secondary. This distinction is not clear in the
       current draft, andreadersmay incorrectly infer that the building is being
       constructedprimarily for flood recoveryoffice space.

       Page5, Paragraph2: This paraaaphsaysthat the $500,000for flood recovery
       office spacewas not part of the park’s initial cost estimate. Actually, the cost of
       managingthe projects,including flood recoveryspaceneeds,was part of the gross
       estimatefor all of the projects. It has not resultedin a7 increaseto the original
       request.

       Page5, Paragraph2: This sectionmentionsthat the actualnumberof flood
       recovery employeesusing office spaceis 18 insteadof the approved30. As
       describedin a November 1998letter from the park to GAO, this differenceis only
       temporary. Legal challengesover the YosemiteLodgeproject that includesguest
       lodging and employeehousinghavedelayedLodge constructionby
       approximatelyone year. The park has postponedfilling someflood recovery
       positions, especiallythoserelatedto constructionsupervision.Upon anticipated
       approval of a comprehensiveEnvironmentalImpact Statementfor Yosemite
       Valley development,over $90 million worth of constructionwill begin,and flood
       recovery will staff up to the programmednumberandremainat that level through
       its three-yearconstructionperiod.Thereforethereis a legitimateneedfor the
       office spacerequested.

       Page 5, Paragraph3: This sectionstatesthat the park justified using $500,000on
       the basis of leasing33% more squarefeet of office spacethan it actuallywill
       build. If modular office units hadbeenleased,the fi1115,760 squarefeet of space
       would have beenrequired. However,the spacecan be reducedto 4,300square
       feet if built as part of the ResourceManagementbuilding, allowing commonuse
       of restrooms,meetingrooms,copying and faxing machines,etc. The $500,000
       estimateis basedon what would havebeenneededif modularunits were leased,
       thereforeit is appropriateto apply that amounttoward constructionof the new
       ResourceManagementbuilding. It is more responsibleto constructpermanent
       office spaceand reuseit when flood recovery is completethan to spendan
        equivalentamountof money purchasingmodularunits that quickly deteriorateto
        an eyesoreor leasingunits that needto be returned.

       Page5, Paragraph4: This paragraphsaysthat the park did not considerproviding
       office spaceat locationsotherthan its El Portal warehouse.The General
       ManagementPlan calls for the majority of Yosemite’sadministrativeand




                                                GAOIRCED-99-5OR
                                                              Yosemite Flood Recovery Efforts
  10
  ENCLOSURE I                                                                               ENCLOSURE I




          maintenancesupportfacilities to be locatedin El Portal. In the value analysisfor
         the project, five possiblesite alternativesin El Portal were evaluatedagainstthe
         desirablecriteria establishedfor this project: proximity to existing infrastructure;
         interfacewith existing offices; leastdisruptionto on-siteoperations;and
         minimized impact to a sensitiveresourcearea. The preferredbuilding site best
         meetsthose criteria, andoffers the additionalbenefit of removingmore Resource
         Managementoffices from YosemiteValley oncethe flood recoverystaff vacates
         the space.

         Page6, Paragraphs2 and 3; andPage7 Paragraph1: The statementthat lawsuits
         may delay completingflood recoveryprojectsstill is true. This additional
         information is offeredjust as an updateon the lawsuit status: In Decemberof
         1998,the park announcedthat it would includeNational EnvironmentalPolicy
         Act compliancefor the YosemiteLodge site in a more comprehensive
         EnvironmentalImpact Statement (EIS) for YosemiteValley development.This
         EIS will insure a full assessmentof cumulativeimpactsand avoid claims of
         fragmentedplanning. The plaintiffs have droppedtheir pendinglawsuits. The
         draft of the Valley Plan EIS shouldbe releasedto the public in May, with a
         Recordof Decision anticipatedlate in 1999.

         Page7, Paragraph2: This paragraphindicatesthat the review was conducted
         from June 1998throughJanuary1998. The seconddateappearsto have a
         typo,mphical error and shouldread“1999”instead.

         Page7, Paragraph4: When major contributorsto the reportwere mentioned,we
         believethat KennethKurz, with whom the park had considerableinteraction,was
         inadvertentlyleft off of the list.

Thank you for the opportunityto review and commenton the draft GAO report.

                                       Sincerelv.




                                       Donald 3. Barry             I
                                       AssistantSecretaryfor Fish andWildlife and Parks




    11                                                GAOLRCED-99-50R
                                                                    Yosemite Flood Recovery Efforts
ENCLOSURE II                                      ENCLOSURE II




GAJ Briefing for Congressional
    Requesters
         Flood Recovery Efforts at Yosemite
         National Park, California




  12                           GAO/RCED-99-5OR
                                             YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts
ENCLOSURE II                                         ENCLOSUIZEII




GQJ Background

      l   In January 1997, Yosemite National Park
          experienced a major flood that damaged
          much of its buildings and infrastructure.
      l   In March 1997, park officials estimated
          that about $176 million was needed to
          recover from the flood.
      l   The $176 million included both repair
          items and costs to improve the park.




                                GAOLRCED-99-50R
                                              Yosemite Flood RecoveryEfforts
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ENCLOSURE II                                               ENCLOSUREII




w                Background (can’t)

         l       In June 1997, P. L.10518 provided the
                 funds for disaster recovery at various
                 locations. Yosemite received the full
                 $176 million requested.
         l       Legislation provides wide latitude for the
                 use of appropriated funds.
             l   As of September 30,1998, about $60
                 million had been obligated--roughly
                 one-third of the total provided.




                                        GAO/RCED-99-50R
                                                      YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts
    14
ENCLOSURE II                                         ENCLOSURE II




w         Objectives

      l   Because of the large amount of money
          involved and recent incidents involving
          questionable spending on construction
          by the National Park Service (NPS), we
          were asked to answer the following
          questions:




                               GAOiRCED-99-50RYosemite Flood RecoveryEfforts
ENCLOSUIXEII                                      ENCLOSUREII




GAQ Objectives (can’t)

      --Are planned and actual expenditures
      consistent with the park’s planning
      documents?

      --Do the costs of the disaster recovery
      projects appear reasonable?

      --Is there any merit to the allegations about
      the misuse of some of the disaster
      recovery funds?




                               GAO/RCED-99-50R
                                             YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts
ENCLOSURE II                                         ENCLOSURE II




w         Results in Brief

      l   We did not identify any inconsistencies
          between the park’s planning documents
          and planned and actual expenditures as
          of September 30, 1998.




17                             GAOIRCED-99-50R
                                             YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts
ENCLOSURE II                                                 ENCLOSURE II




w                Results in Brief (can’t)

         l       At the time of our review, about one-third
                 (about $60 million) had been obligated,
                 and the costs for the disaster recovery
                 projects we sampled appeared to be
                 reasonable. However, the park did not
                 sufficiently justify its plan to use flood
                 recovery funds for building new office
                 space.
             l   The allegations we reviewed about the
                 misuse of flood recovery funds could not
                             .
                             I&d.




    18                                   GAO/RCED-99-50R
                                                       YosemiteFlood Recovery Efforts
ENCLOSURE II                                         ENCLOSURE II




w         Scope and Methodology

      l   Our review provides a snapshot of flood
          recovery obligations and expenditures as
          of September 30, 1998.
      l   To determine whether planned and
          actual expenditures are consistent with
          planning documents and whether the
          costs for the disaster projects are
          reasonable, we:




                                GAOLRCED-99-50R
                                              Yosemite Flood RecoveryEfforts
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ENCLOXREII                                         ENCLOSUREII




GAQ Scope and Methodology (can’t)

        --reviewed applicable laws, regulations,
        and other relevant documentation;

        --interviewed appropriate officials at
        NPS’ headquarters, Denver Service
        Center, and Yosemite National Park;

        --sampled 21 of the 213 flood-related
        projects representing over 80% of the
        total estimated costs and obligations;




                               GAOLRCED-99-50R
                                             YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts
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ENCLOSUREII                                       ENCLOSUREII




GAs3 Scope and Methodology (con?)
                                                    -



     --reviewed and discussed project plans
     with project managers for each of the
     sampled projects; and

     --conducted site inspections of flood-
     affected areas related to some of the
     sampled projects.




21                           GAO/RCED-99-50R
                                           Yosemite Flood RecoveryEfforts
ENCLOSUFtElI                                         ENCLOSUREII




GAo Scope and Methodology (can’t)

       l   To assess the merits of allegations about
           misusing disaster recovery funds, we

           --talked to or met with individuals making
           the allegations and asked for specific
           information to substantiate their claims,

           --discussed the allegations with
           Yosemite officials, and




 22                               GAOLRCED-99-50R
                                               YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts
ENCLOSUREII                                        ENCL0SLJFiEI.l




GAo Scope and Methodology                 (can’t)

        --reviewed Yosemite’s files for
        documentation pertinent to the
        allegations made.




                               GAO/RCED-99-50R
                                             Yosemite Flood RecoveryEfforts
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ENCLOSURE II                                          ENCLOSURE II




GAs3 Scope and Methodology (con?)

       l   We did not assess or evaluate

           --the adequacy of the park’s planning
           documents,

           --the need for projects, or

           --the appropriateness of existing policies.




 24                               GAO/RCED-99-50R
                                                Yosemite Flood Recovery Efforts
ENCLOSUREII                                          ENCLOSUREII




a0        Were Expenditures Consistent W ith
          Planning Documents?
      l   We did not identify any inconsistencies
          between the park’s planning documents
          and planned and actual expenditures as
          of September 30, 1998.
      0 The planning documents that the park
        related to the flood recovery effort are
        the Concession Services Plan (CSP),
        General Management Plan (GMP),
        Housing Plan, ,Lodge Development
        Concept Plan. (DCP), and Valley
          Implement&on    Plan (VIP).




                                GAO/RCED-99-50R
                                              YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts
25
ENCLOSTJREIt                                               ENCLOSURE II




w                Were Expenditures Consistent W ith
                 Planning Documents? (can’t)
         l       186 of the 213 disaster projects do not
                 relate to the park’s planning documents
                 primarily because they involved normal
                 park operations that were damaged by
                 the flood and required flood-recovery
                 funding for repair.
             l   27 of the 213 projects relate to at least
                 one of the park’s planning documents.




    26                                  GAOLRCED-99-50R
                                                     YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts
ENCLOSURE II                                         ENCLOSURE II




GAs3 Were Expenditures Consistent W ith
     Planning Documents? (con?)
      l    We sampled 21 disaster projects to track
           consistency with the park’s plans.
       l   12 of 21 sampled projects related to the
           park’s planning documents and were
           consistent with them. These 12 projects
           represented about 50% of the total
           estimated expenditures for the flood
           recovery effort. Among these, for
           example, are changes to:




27                              GAO/RCED-99-50RYosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts
ENCLOSUFtEII                                      ENCLOSUREII




GAL) Were Expenditures Consistent W ith
     Planning Documents? (con?)
      --Yosemite Lodge that are related to the
      GMP, CSP, and DCP;
      --Annex/Ozone and Camp Six
      concessionaire employee housing projects
      that are discussed in the Housing Plan;
      and
      --Lower Pines Campground that is
      included in the GMP and VII?




 28                           GAO/RCED-99-50R
                                            YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts
ENCLOSURE II                                         ENCLOSURE II




a0        Were Expenditures Consistent W ith
          Planning Documents? (can’t)
      l   Nine of the sampled projects were not
          related to the park’s planning
          documents. However, they generally
          contributed to the park’s normal
          operations and were damaged by the
          flood, thus requiring funds for repair.
          These projects represented about 36%
          of the total estimated expenditures for
          the flood recovery effort.




                                GAO/RCED-99-50R
                                              YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts
ENCLOSUREII                                           ENCLOSUREII




w         Were Expenditures Consistent W ith
          Planning Documents? (con?)
      l   These included, for example, repairs to
          the

          --El Portal road,

          --Yosemite Creek Lift Station, and

          --electrical lines under the river.




 30                               GAOLRCED-99-50R
                                               YosemiteFlood Recovery Efforts
ENCLOSURE II                                        ENCLOSURE II




GA(3 Do the Costs for Projects Appear
     Reasonable?
      l   The estimated costs for the 21 sampled
          projects appear to be reasonable.
      l   However, final costs have not been
          determined because most projects are
          not yet completed. As a result,
          obligations for most of the sampled
          projects have been higher for planning
          and designing the work to be performed
          than for actual construction.




31                             GAO/RCED-99-50R
                                             YosemiteFlood Recovery Efforts
ENCLOSURE II                                          ENCLOSURE II




m          Do the Costs for Projects Appear
           Reasonable? (can’t)
       l   Projects are being or will be value
           engineered.
       l   Projects costing over $500,000 are
           reviewed by the NPS Servicewide
           Development Advisory Board to help
           ensure that they are consistent with
           congressional committee and policy
           guidance.




 32                               GAO/RCED-99-50R
                                                YosemiteFlood Recovery Efforts
ENCLOSUREII                                           ENCLOSUREII




w         Do the Costs for Projects Appear
          Reasonable? (con?)
      l   In response to a National Academy of
          Public Administration study of NPS’
          construction program, NPS is making
          changes to its cost-estimating
          procedures.
      l   The changes that NPS is making may
          result in modifications to existing project
          costs, particularly those that have not yet
          begun or are in the early stages of
          project design.




                                 GAO/RCED-99-50R
                                               YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts
33
ENCLOSUREII                                              ENCLOSUREII




w            Do the Costs for Projects Appear
             Reasonable? (can’t)
         l   In our opinion, the park’s planned use of
             flood recovery funds for building new
             office space was not sufficiently justified.




                                     GAO/WED-99-50RYosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts
    34
ENCLOSUREII                                          ENCLOSUREII




w       Do the Costs for Projects Appear
        Reasonable? (can’t)
        --The park plans to use $500,000 from
        its flood recovery funds to build new
        office space ‘for Office of Flood Recovery
        staff. While, in our opinion, the
        additional $500,000 has not been
        sufficiently justified, the additional space,
        once vacated, will allow more employees
        to work outside of the valley, which is
        consistent with park’s objective to do so.




                                GAO/RCED-99-50R
                                              Yosemite Flood RecoveryEfforts
ENCLOSURE II                                          ENCLOSURE II




w            Is There Merit to Allegations About
             Misusing Funds?
         l   We received allegations concerning the
             misuse of disaster recovery funds at
             Yosemite from a variety of sources.
         0 We could not substantiate the
           allegations about the misuse of disaster
           recovery funds.




                                  GAO/RCED-99-50R
                                                Yosemite Flood RecoveryEfforts
    36
ENCLOSURE II                                         ENCLOSURE II




w*        Is There Merit to Allegations About
          Misusing Funds? (con?)
      l   The allegations involved
          --the misuse of funds to purchase new
          vehicles and computer equipment,
          --inflated cost estimates based on the
          assumption that work would be
          contracted out,
          --inflated costs for constructing trail
          bridges, and
          --NPS’ decision to spend appropriated
          funds to retain and redesign
          campgrounds in the flood plain.




                                GAO/RCED-99-50R
                                              YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts
 37
ENCLOSURE II                                        ENCLOSUREII




GAB Is There Merit to Allegations About
    Misusing Funds? (can’t)
       l   We discussed the allegations with those
           making them and sought specific
           information that we could use in an
           attempt to substantiate their claims.
       l   However, on the basis of additional
           documentation we obtained, the
           information provided by these individuals
           in support of their allegations.either:




                                 GAO/RCED-99-50R
                                               YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts
 38
ENCLOSURE II                                         ENCLOSUFiEII




G@ Is There Merit to Allegations About
   Misusing Funds? (con’t)        -
        -- contained no specific details,

        -- addressed their claims only partly, or

        -- was incorrect.




39                              GAOfRCED-99-50R
                                              YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts
ENCLOSUREII                                        ENCLOSUREII




GAs3 Actions       Taken to Address          Lawsuits
          May Delay Flood Projects
      l   NPS was recently the defendant in two
          lawsuits that have been dropped.
          Actions taken to address the issues
          raised in the lawsuits may delay
          completing the Yosemite Lodge project
          and some projects in the VIP such as
          campgrounds, for several months. Such
          delays could increase the cost
          associated with the park’s flood recovery
          projects.




                                GAOLRCED-99-50R
                                             YosemiteFlood RecoveryEfforts
 40
ENCLOSURE II                                               ENCLOSURE II




w              Agency Comments


           l   NPS officials generally agreed with the
               findings in this report.
           l   NPS offered several comments for our
               consideration, and we revised the report
               where appropriate.
           l   NPS did not agree. that it did not
               sufficiently justify using $500,000 of flood
               recovery funds for building new office
               space for Office of Flood Recovery staff.




(141216)

 41                                   GAO/RCED-99-50R
                                                    YosemiteFlood Recovery Efforts
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