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Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) - Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) Easement Specialist

Application Deadline: Open until filled, preference will be given to applications submitted by February 5, 2024
Location: Preferred location, Davis, CA. Other locations in Northern CA negotiable
Salary: Up to $67,500 per year
Duration: Fully-funded 2-year position

Position Overview

A partner-funded position between the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Intermountain West Joint Venture (IWJV) to provide capacity for a new Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) - Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) Easement Specialist position. This position will support outreach and implementation of farm and ranchland protection by bolstering California NRCS’ capacity to implement ACEPALE acquisitions. This position will significantly increase the conservation of important working lands in northeastern California. NRCS and the IWJV have a mutual interest in conserving agricultural lands that provide wet meadows, irrigated pastures, rangelands, and sage brush habitat to sustain Pacific Flyway waterfowl, shorebird, and waterbird populations on private lands.

This agreement will support timely delivery of the ACEP-ALE and Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) – Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) programs and provide application assistance for land trusts and other eligible entities. The addition of this capacity, and the coordination it brings, will result in a more predictable and streamlined application review process and will provide California NRCS with assistance needed to close conservation easements in a timely manner and provide a higher level of customer support to our conservation partners.

Position Description

This position supports a growing interest among land trusts, non-governmental organizations, and other eligible entities to apply for ACEP-ALE funding and will support coordination between applicants and NRCS to:

  • Communicate applicant and land eligibility of proposed easements for ACEP-ALE funding and RCPP-ALE.
  • Clearly outline ACEP-ALE and RCPP-ALE application process and funding criteria.
  • Support the ACEP-ALE and RCPP-ALE application eligibility and obligation process, post-obligation acquisition work, and associated long-term obligations such as monitoring.
  • Inventory current and future farm and ranchland protection opportunities in northeastern California and conduct appropriate outreach and training to interested partners and landowners.

Position Duties and Responsibilities

  • Assist ACEP-ALE and RCPP-ALE applicants to complete NRCS documentation requirements:
    • Work closely with NRCS and anticipated easement applicants to communicate program application requirements. This will include: providing specific guidance, outreach, training, and feedback on required ALE application forms, inventories, waiver processes, proof of physical and legal parcel access, land eligibility (specific map requirements), entity eligibility, signature authority, environmental record searches, landowner eligibility and farm record establishment, and title requirements to ensure all items on the application checklist are submitted correctly during the ACEP-ALE and RCPP-ALE application announcement period.
    • Maintain a tracking tool for application progression to meet state specific timelines; provide follow up with applicants as necessary to ensure the application progression will be accomplished in a timely and efficient manner.
    • As directed by NRCS communicate information related to application ranking outcomes, application deferrals, waiver requests, obligations, and other ALE information as needed.
  • Assist NRCS with review and tracking of applications and administration of agreements.
    • Ensure application information is properly documented in business tool software such as Protracts, Conservation Desktop (CD) and Conservation Assessment Ranking Tool (CART).
    • Ensure agreements and closings are accomplished according to state and national program deadlines.
    • Support NRCS application review procedures, including pre-obligation review, deed review, internal control reviews and easement acquisition.
    • Assist with development of program agreements and parcel contracts for the enrollment of approved applications and administrative management of program agreements.
    • Assist eligible entities (i.e., program applicants such as land trusts) and NRCS with acquisition work products needed to acquire conservation easements. This may include assisting with the development, submission, review, and tracking of conservation easement deeds, appraisals, appraisal technical reviews, title commitments and title exception assessments, baseline reports, management plans, and internal controls reviews.
  • Enhance communication and clarity between eligible entities (i.e., program applicants such as land trusts) and NRCS State Office.
    • Proactively develop annual training and outreach plan for ACEP-ALE and RCPP-ALE to interested parties including land trusts, RCPP recipients, non-governmental organizations, and the general farming and ranching public.
    • Produce and maintain annual report of the number of applications received and obligated agreements as well as outreach conducted, and training completed accessible to NRCS and partners.
    • Act as a liaison between NRCS, eligible entities, and other applicants. Organize, facilitate and lead conference calls, meetings, and workshops between NRCS, IWJV, and other partners to streamline communications and address issues as they arise.
  • Facilitate coordination and resource-sharing between NRCS California and the community of potential eligible entities for application and funding deadlines, materials needed and application process.
  • Conduct outreach and training to eligible entities, RCPP recipients, and other interested partners on the ACEP-ALE application process and checklist of materials needed for new applications.
  • Coordinate tracking of applications annually and work with eligibility entities to ensure application materials are complete and received in a timely manner to meet programmatic deadlines for submission and internal controls reviews.
  • Develop parcel contracts and programmatic agreements for the enrollment of new ACEP-ALE and RCPP-ALE obligations. Assist with the administration of agreements including modifications needed for time extensions or in-scope adjustments.
  • Track, coordinate, and complete annual easement acquisition work needed to acquire and close conservation easements. Conduct regular coordination meetings with NRCS and eligible entities with active easement projects to ensure workflow and deadlines are met.

Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Ability to communicate effectively with private landowners, government agency personnel and conservation partner organizations.
  • Ability to work independently with minimal supervision.
  • Ability to work cooperatively with diverse clientele.
  • Knowledge of wetland and rangeland ecology.
  • Ability to obtain USDA Security Clearance and NRCS Conservation Planning certification.
  • Excellent verbal/written communication and organizational skills.
  • Valid driver’s license.
  • A general qualification guideline for this position is a bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, in natural resource planning, wildlife biology/management or ecology, agronomy, and related conservation work experience.
  • Computer skills are required, and applicant should be familiar with Microsoft Word and Excel.
  • Ability to use NRCS Conservation Desktop, GIS applications, and GPS systems would be beneficial.
  • Workspace, ArcGIS, and with handheld GPS, and Field Tablet data collection tools.

About the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps producers, soil and water conservation districts, and other partners protect and conserve natural resources on private lands throughout the United States. With approximately 2,300 Service Centers in communities nationwide, NRCS and other USDA employees work side-by-side with producers in every State and territory.

About the Intermountain West Joint Venture

The Intermountain West Joint Venture’s mission is to conserve and enhance bird habitats at meaningful scales through capacity building, science, communications, and strategic partnerships. The funds for this position contributed by the IWJV are primarily of federal origin, managed through Cooperative Agreements with the hiring entity (WMI).

About the Wildlife Management Institute

The successful applicant will be an employee of Wildlife Management Institute (WMI). WMI is a professional conservation organization that works to improve the foundation of wildlife management. Their mission is: “dedicated to the conservation, enhancement and professional management of North America’s wildlife and other natural resources.”

Supervision

In this unique partnership, the position is hosted by the Wildlife Management Institute and the position is fully integrated into NRCS’s easement team to accelerate the pace of private land conservation. Daily activities will be supervised by the designated NRCS staff lead. ACEP-ALE Specialist will participate in annual job performance reviews with the IWJV Water 4 Coordinator and NRCS.

Benefits and Additional Information

WMI does not currently offer health insurance for limited-term employees. As such a health stipend equivalent to 10% of the employee salary will be provided to help offset the cost of health insurance. WMI may offer health insurance to limited-term employees in the future. If you are selected for this position, WMI begins providing health insurance for limited term-employees, and you elect to accept health insurance provided through WMI, the health stipend will be redirected to cover the costs of the health insurance benefit.401(k) retirement benefits, workers’ compensation, general liability protection, professional liability protection and unemployment insurance benefits will be provided by WMI.

To Apply

Send a cover letter that describes your familiarity with and passion for the landscape, a resume, and three references with contact information.

Send application materials to kasey.bader@iwjv.org with the subject line “ACEP-ALE Specialist" by the application deadline.

Application Deadline

Open until filled, preference will be given to applications submitted by February 5, 2024.

Application closes:
Tuesday, March 05, 2024 - 11:59 pm

Conservation & Agriculture Specialist

Conserving and Enhancing Flood-irrigated Waterbird Habitat & Livestock Production on Working Lands

Application Deadline: March 13, 2024
Location: Lakeview, Oregon
Anticipated Start Date: March 2024
Salary: $50,000/year + health stipend ($5,000/year)

Overview

This opportunity is part of a collaborative effort between the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Intermountain West Joint Venture (IWJV), U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS), and Ducks Unlimited, Inc. (DU) to further conservation delivery of NRCS Conservation Implementation Strategies (CIS) and other working lands conservation programs in southeast Oregon. The position will provide technical assistance to NRCS for implementing the Working Lands for Waterbirds Habitat Conservation CIS and other wildlife habitat conservation efforts. The primary objective of this position will be marketing and delivering Farm Bill conservation programs to livestock producers, flood irrigators and private landowners to enhance wildlife habitat on working lands.

Lakeview, Oregon is rural town that serves as the county seat of Lake County. Lake County is comprised of 70% publicly owned land which means outdoor adventures are endless. From high desert lakes, hot springs, to the Warner Mountain range and local ski area there is always an adventure awaiting. Lakeview is located in the high desert but is only 20 minutes away from forested National Forest lands. Nearby reservoir, lakes, and streams provide fishing and boating activities. Quality upland, waterfowl, and big game hunting opportunities abound. Visit the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge to see pronghorn, sage grouse and bighorn sheep, or hike through the shifting sand dunes in Christmas Valley. Lakeview is a great location if you are looking to settle down and take in some nature.

Duties

  • Provide technical assistance (conservation planning, livestock and flood irrigation management, wildlife biology, wet meadow management, waterbird habitat management, or other natural resource disciplines) and guidance to landowners, government agencies, non-government organizations and others. Training will be provided by NRCS, IWJV, USFWS, DU and other local and state agencies.
  • Coordinate integration and application of biological sciences and production agriculture within the conservation programs in cooperation with the local NRCS Field Office and consistent with NRCS Field Office Technical Guides.
  • Complete conservation plans and maps, contracts, applications and other required documentation for implementing Farm Bill conservation programs ((i.e., Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)), and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) Program. The position requires expertise in biological sciences, surface-irrigated agricultural lands (i.e. flood-irrigated), aquatic invasive species management, invasive plant management and rangeland science in cooperation with private landowners and partners.
  • Communicate program requirements, complete site visits to determine eligibility, and develop contracts/plans for applicants enrolling in USDA conservation programs or other state and local conservation programs for the management, restoration, enhancement and protection of flood-irrigated pasture, hay lands, and associated wetlands and riparian areas to mutually benefit livestock forage production and wetland-dependent migratory birds.
  • Work with agricultural producers to develop and implement infrastructure repair projects on flood-irrigated pasture and hay lands. Provide information to landowners on emerging working lands conservation easement programs.
  • Perform other related duties as assigned, including promotion, marketing and outreach activities related to USDA, NAWCA and OWEB projects.

Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Ability to communicate effectively with private landowners, government agency personnel and conservation partner organizations.
  • Ability to work independently with little supervision.
  • Ability to work cooperatively with diverse clientele.
  • Knowledge of ranch management, water resource management and wetland ecology, including the ability to develop and complete flood irrigation infrastructure rehabilitation projects that include wetland wildlife habitat management objectives.
  • Ability to obtain USDA Security Clearance and NRCS Conservation Planning certification.
  • Excellent verbal/written communication and organizational skills.
  • Valid driver's license.
  • A general qualification guideline for this position is an Associate’s Degree, or equivalent, in Natural Resource Planning, Rangeland Science, Wildlife Biology/Management or Agriculture Technology, with an emphasis on developing prescribed grazing systems and course work and/or experience in working lands management systems is desirable. Funding partners may agree to substitute experience in ranching if that experience includes forage production using flood irrigation.
  • Computer skills are required and applicant should be familiar with Microsoft Word and Excel.
  • Ability to use NRCS Conservation Desktop, GIS applications, and GPS systems would be beneficial.
  • Physical ability to stand and walk for extended periods of time over rough terrain; lift and move material weighing up to 50 pounds; work in all types of weather conditions.

Additional Information

The funds for this position are primarily of federal origin, managed through Cooperative Agreements with the hiring entity. Compensation is commensurate with experience. The position is year-round.

Training and Experience Guideline

Any combination of training and/or experience that will enable the applicant to possess the required knowledge, skills and abilities.

Partnering Organizations

Natural Resources Conservation Service

The NRCS supports America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners. They deliver conservation solutions so agricultural producers can protect natural resources and feed a growing world. They have a vision of clean and abundant water, healthy soils, resilient landscapes, and thriving agricultural communities through voluntary conservation. The NRCS motto is “helping people help the land.”

Intermountain West Joint Venture

The Intermountain West Joint Venture’s mission is to conserve and enhance bird habitats at meaningful scales through capacity building, science, communications, and strategic partnerships. The funds for this position contributed by the IWJV are primarily of federal origin, managed through Cooperative Agreements with the hiring entity (WMI).

Wildlife Management Institute

The successful applicant will be an employee of Wildlife Management Institute (WMI). WMI is a professional conservation organization that works to improve the foundation of wildlife management. Their mission is: “dedicated to the conservation, enhancement and professional management of North America’s wildlife and other natural resources.”

Ducks Unlimited

Ducks Unlimited is funding partner and provides technical guidance and support to the position. “Ducks Unlimited “conserves, restores, and manages wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl. These habitats also benefit other wildlife and people”

Supervision

Daily activities will be supervised by the Lakeview NRCS District Conservationist.

Benefits and Additional Information

WMI does not currently offer health insurance for limited-term employees. A health stipend equivalent to 10% of the employee salary will be provided to help offset the cost of health insurance. WMI may offer health insurance to limited-term employees in the future. If you are selected for this position, WMI begins providing health insurance for limited term-employees, and you elect to accept health insurance provided through WMI, the health stipend will be redirected to cover the costs of the health insurance benefit. 401(k) retirement benefits, workers’ compensation, general liability protection, professional liability protection and unemployment insurance benefits will be provided by WMI.

To Apply:

Email a cover letter, resume and three references with contact information.

Email application materials with the subject line: “Lakeview Conservation and Agriculture Specialist” to kasey.bader@iwjv.org.

Application closes:
Wednesday, March 13, 2024 - 11:59 pm

Forestry Specialist

Boone, Iowa

Application Deadline

The announcement is open until filled, and interviews are scheduled as applications are received. The successful applicant can expect to start within 2-4 weeks after a job offer.

Position Duration

1 year. The position may be extended for additional years pending funding and job performance. If the position is extended, the candidate may be reassigned to another location in Iowa.

Overview and Job Duties

A position is available for a highly qualified individual to work in a joint capacity with Wildlife Management Institute (WMI) and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to promote healthy forest management. The successful applicant will help private landowners improve their woodlands for wildlife, recreation, wood products, and soil and water quality.

The successful applicant will serve as an employee of Wildlife Management Institute (WMI) and receive supervision from WMI with daily instructions provided by the local DNR staff. Work priorities will be determined by local DNR District Foresters in conjunction with the DNR Private Lands Coordinator and the USDA-NRCS agreement funding the position. Training and support will be provided by the Iowa DNR, in particular the local District Forester and the Private Lands Program Coordinator. Duties will include:

  • Work closely with the local District Forester and NRCS staff to identify opportunities for forest restoration and management.
  • Work with private landowners to provide technical assistance for managing their properties, including conducting site visits and development of forest management plans.
  • Develop Forest Management Plans and prescribed burning plans that meet NRCS standards and program requirements.
  • Conduct outreach activities to promote forest management objectives within the designated working area.
  • Work with private landowners to provide information and assistance with available conservation programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) and other federal, state, and local programs.
  • Conduct Landowner Workshops / Field Days in identified priority focus areas annually.
  • Duties will also include contract development and coordination, site assessment and monitoring, and regular tracking and reporting of accomplishments.
  • Attendance at relevant DNR and NRCS meetings and/or trainings will also be required.

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Superior communication (written and oral) skills. Must be comfortable both speaking in public and in engaging landowners on a one-to-one basis.
  • Willingness to be a vocal advocate for young forests and active forest management to landowners and natural resource professionals.
  • Ability to work independently.
  • Knowledge of basic forest ecology and dynamics, especially related to the forest communities of Iowa.
  • Knowledge of basic principles of wildlife management.
  • Knowledge of relevant conservation programs, including Federal Farm Bill programs (CRP, EQIP and CSP), U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Partners for Fish & Wildlife program, and other applicable federal, state, and local conservation programs.
  • Ability to work long hours in the field and under adverse weather conditions.
  • Familiarity with MS Word, MS Excel, and GIS.
  • Valid driver’s license required with an acceptable driving record.

Qualifications

Minimum - Bachelor’s Degree in Forestry or closely related field from an accredited academic institution. Preference will be given to candidates who have professional experience related to forest and/or forest wildlife management. Experience working with private landowners to develop conservation plans is also beneficial.

Compensation

This salaried position pays $39,439/year ($20.50/hour equivalent). As a limited term employee of WMI, the incumbent will be expected to work no more than an average of 74 hours per two-week pay period. Work vehicles, office space, computers, etc. will be provided. The position will be eligible for WMI 401(k) retirement benefits and WMI will provide workers’ compensation, general liability protection, and professional liability protection and unemployment insurance benefits. The positions are not eligible for vacation pay, sick leave, health or disability benefits. WMI will withhold taxes including social security. The incumbent will be entitled to make voluntary contributions to their 401(k) retirement plan.

To Apply

Please submit your resume, cover letter, and three professional references as one Word or pdf file. Send to Katy.Fullin@dnr.iowa.gov. For questions about the duties, location, etc., contact Katy Fullin at Iowa DNR. For questions about WMI, contact Scot Williamson at SWilliamson@wildlifemgt.org.

Application closes:
Wednesday, November 06, 2024 - 11:59 pm