Wildlife Biology Member – Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge
ACE EPIC placements provide young adults with focused, hands-on opportunities to work alongside and under the guidance of agency mentors as they apply their knowledge of resource management on their path to becoming the next generation of resource and land managers.
Funding for ACE positions is provided by a federal program designed specifically for the employment of youth and young adults.
For more information about ACE, please visit: www.usaconservation.org.
Summary: American Conservation Experience, a Nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking 1 Wildlife Biology Member to commit 29 weeks assisting the USFWS and The Nature Conservancy of Texas in preventing the extinction and aiding in the recovery of the Attwater’s prairie-chicken (APC) in southeast Texas.
This opportunity is intended for enthusiastic young professionals with a deep interest in advancing their career goals in wildlife, natural resources and/or vegetation management on our public lands. The purpose of the individual placement is to perform a variety of biological technical duties in support of field projects pertaining to the critically endangered APC.
Start Date: July 2022
End Date: January/February 2023 (29 weeks from the start date)
**29-week commitment required**
Location: Project site is in Goliad County, Texas. Housing will be provided by the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.
For more information about the Attwater’s prairie-chicken, visit http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Attwater_Prairie_Chicken/.
For more information about the project in Goliad County visit: https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/places-we-protect/refugio-goliad-prairie-project/.
Work Schedule: Duties will primarily be carried out Monday – Friday. Bi-weekly totals should not exceed 80 hours. A flexible work schedule may be required, which could involve work performed outside of normal work hours including on weekends and/or holidays. Time off may be granted and requests should be directed to ACE and the FWS for approval.
Living Allowance: The ACE Member is expected to contribute approximately 40 hours/week and will receive a living allowance of $450/week to offset the costs of food and incidental expenses, dispersed bi-weekly.
Housing: ACE members will be accommodated in provided agency housing at no cost for the duration of the term. When residing in FWS provided-housing or on FWS lands, strict adherence to site specific policies and/or regulations is required.
Public Land Corps (PLC) Non-competitive Hiring Authority: Members serving on this project may be eligible to receive a Department of the Interior (DOI) PLC non-competitive hiring authority certificate upon completion of their term of service. Eligible members must meet standard requirements of completing at least 640 hours (16 weeks at 40 hours/week) and utilize their certificate when applying for qualifying federal positions within 2 years of receipt. More information can be provided upon request.
AmeriCorps: This 29-week position may be eligible for a 900 hour AmeriCorps Education Award ($3,172.50) upon successful completion of internship service hours. Additional enrollment is required.
Project Background: The Refugio-Goliad Prairie represents the largest remnants of coastal prairie habitat remaining in southeast Texas and home to one of the last populations of the critically endangered Attwater’s prairie- chicken (APC), a ground-dwelling grouse of the coastal prairie ecosystem. Formerly occupying some 6 million acres of coastal prairie habitat, the APC was once one of the most abundant resident birds of the Texas and Louisiana tall grass prairie landscape, though currently only about 180 birds exist in the wild. Efforts to propagate and release APCs into the wild have been ongoing since 1992 and 1995, respectively. Monitoring of released birds is critical to understanding recovery limitations and in managing the species in the wild. Less than 200,000 fragmented acres of coastal prairie habitat remain, leaving the birds scattered in solely two Texas counties. The Goliad County population is found entirely on private ranchlands while the Colorado County population is found on the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge.
Position Description: The ACE Member will serve directly with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) of Texas and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to supplement existing onsite APC populations through the of release captive-reared APCs. The Member will report to and coordinate with TNC biologists on a daily basis. These actions will contribute to ongoing efforts to ensure the survival of the APC and its habitat, allowing the population to reach a measurable level of ecological and genetic stability so that it can eventually be reclassified to threatened status (downlist) and ultimately removed from the endangered species list (delist).
The ACE Member will be stationed at Aransas NWR, requiring daily travel of approximately 30 miles to the Goliad property to perform field work. Work-related transportation will be provided.
Specific Individual Placement duties include but are not limited to:
- Caring for APCs in pre-release acclimation pens
- Providing food and water outside of pens during the post-release transition period
- Monitoring prairie-chicken post-release movements and survival by radio telemetry.
- Maintaining thorough records of project activities and assisting with computer data entry and summarization
- Assist with research orientated tasks such as observation and data collection
- Most duties will be conducted on cooperating private ranchlands. The Member will be expected to show respect for, and adhere to landowner rules and expectations.
Physical Requirements: This position requires physical exertion such as walking long distances over wet and rough surfaces while carrying up to 40 lbs.; bending, crouching, stooping, lifting or reaching. Hand and finger dexterity and physical coordination may involve fine and precise procedures, delicate adjustments or exact measurements.
Environmental Conditions/Hazards: The wildlife biology member may encounter environmental conditions/hazards including extreme heat or cold, rocky terrain, swamp or wetland conditions, biting insects, and potentially dangerous wildlife. Isolated sites may require camping and extended periods away from station. The member is expected to conduct duties in a safe and orderly manner so as not to endanger self, fellow staff/members or resources.
Vehicle and Equipment Use/Safety: The USFWS will provide a government vehicle and the tools required to accomplish the tasks the member is asked to do. Training will be provided for all equipment used. Any use of chemicals will require pesticide use training, as well as review of the label and material safety data sheet (MSDS) for every chemical used. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE) will be mandatory for any activity that requires it. Heavy equipment (tractors, dozers, graders, backhoes, front-end loaders, etc.) may not be used by members unless the Official U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service training and certification process is completed. Local training is allowed for small equipment such as lawn mowers, weedeaters, ATVs and UTVs. A valid state driver’s license is required for any (highway legal) vehicle use.
Applicants must have a degree (or be pursuing a degree) in wildlife management, ecology, conservation biology, botany, natural resource management, parks and recreation or other related disciplines appropriate to the position. A combination of relevant education and appropriate experience is also acceptable. Resumes must contain enough information to show that the applicant meets the experience as defined in the position announcement:
- Willing and able to represent ACE and the partner organization in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner.
- Ability to be both self-directed/work alone, and be a positive, contributing member of a group.
- U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
- A valid driver’s license and an insurable driving record (documentation to be provided upon request).
- Willing to undergo and must pass required criminal history checks.
- Ability to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
- Must take all measures possible to ensure the safety of yourself and others and understand all safety precautions involved
- Effective communication skills with all ages and diverse audiences
- Able and willing to serve independently and in a group
- Able and willing to perform duties outdoors in varying weather conditions and capable of participating in sustained physical labor
- Ability to operate independently and in remote areas
- Knowledge of the basic procedure and technical terminology used in the field of avian ecology and wildlife management
- Previous experience utilizing radio telemetry
- Ability to follow assigned protocols to perform tasks with many steps
- Skills and ability to resolve a full range of problems or situations when performing a variety of tasks in the field or office setting
- Knowledge and skill in taking exact measurements, performing mathematics, some of which may be complicated, and keeping detailed and precise records to collect and assemble data
- Skill in maintaining and safely operating motorized vehicles and specialized equipment including: highway vehicles, farm tractors, ATVs, UTVs, chainsaws, weedeaters, etc.
- Experience and/or knowledge with GPS equipment
- Strong desire to enter the public service field as a natural resource professional
- Experience and/or knowledge in the mission of the USFWS and other federal land management agencies
To Apply: Please submit your resume, unofficial academic transcripts, a cover letter demonstrating your interest and experience, and contact information for three professional/academic references to the online application page for this position here: https://usaconservation.applicantpool.com/jobs/. ***Academic transcripts are required for verification of related coursework and professional development purposes, as opposed to evaluating prior academic performance.
NOTE: Early consideration will be given as applications are received. This position may close at any time. If you have any questions regarding this position please feel free to contact ACE EPIC USFWS Division Support Specialist, Andrew Garcia, firstname.lastname@example.org or (928) 419-7035.
Vaccination Requirement: ACE Members must verify that they are fully vaccinated for Covid-19 or have requested and been granted a medical or religious exemption to vaccination by the time they start their term.
EEO: American Conservation Experience provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, American Conservation Experience complies with applicable state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities.