Summary: American Conservation Experience, a Nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking One Wildlife Biology Member to contribute to the recovery of the Attwater’s prairie chicken (APC) alongside U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy of Texas staff. 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. During this term, the ACE member will perform a variety of biological technical duties in support of field projects pertaining to the critically endangered APC.
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.
For more information about ACE, please visit: www.usaconservation.org.
Start Date: June, 2021
End Date: September, 2021
**12-week commitment required**
Location: Project site is in Goliad County, Texas.
For more information about the Attwater’s prairie chicken, please 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/.
Age Requirements: Funding for many ACE positions is provided by a federal program designed specifically for the employment of youth and young adults and therefore is subject to minimum and maximum age requirements of 18-30 (35 for veterans). This position requires ACE or FWS vehicle operation in the performance of the duties and therefore the minimum age to be considered is 21.
Living Allowance: The ACE Member is anticipated 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 refuge 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.
The ACE Member will be stationed at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, requiring daily travel of approximately 30 miles to the Goliad property to perform field work. Work-related transportation will be provided.
AmeriCorps: This position may be eligible for a 450-hour AmeriCorps Education Award ($1,638.89) upon successful completion of service hours. Additional enrollment and volunteer service is required.
Position Description: This individual placement is meant to facilitate personal growth and professional development and promotes exposure to land management agencies and networking with agency professionals. The selected 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).
Specific 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 over wet and rough surfaces, bending, crouching, stooping, lifting or reaching. Hand and finger dexterity and physical coordination may involve fine and precise procedures, delicate adjustments or exact measurements.
Position Environment: Duties are performed both indoors and outdoors. Temperature and weather extremes can be encountered in the performance of outdoor duties, and 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 or resources.
Equipment Use and Training: 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 that the Member is asked to use. 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. A valid state driver’s license is required for any (highway legal) vehicle use.
- 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.
- This position is funded through a federal grant program specifically for youth and young adults.
- Must be 21-30 years of age to apply
- Military Veterans up to 35 are encouraged to apply.
- U.S. Citizens or Permanent Resident
- Must have a valid driver’s license, be 21 years of age to drive a vehicle, provide documentation of a clean driving record, and have a personal vehicle (required)
- 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
- Ability and willingness to undergo a Federal criminal background check
- Competitive applicants for this position can hold or be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology, botany, natural resource management, or other related discipline appropriate to this position.
- 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
- Experience in backcountry hiking and navigation in steep terrain
- 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
Please note: Marijuana and other controlled substances are not allowed at any time during the performance of duties including while on federal property or in a FWS or ACE vehicle, regardless of State law or qualified medical marijuana card status.
To Apply: Please submit your resume, unofficial academic transcripts, cover letter demonstrating your interest and experience, and contact information for three professional/academic references to the online application page **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 Recruitment and Member Manager, Dave Hecker, firstname.lastname@example.org or (801) 386-1629.
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.