The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) Biologist Program Specialist is responsible for the management and life processes of fish, wildlife, and their habitats; collecting and analyzing biological data; and specializing in fish and wildlife research, management, husbandry, and/or habitat management. This position is governed by state and federal laws and agency policy.
Provides program and project supervision by developing program curriculums, monitoring facilities and personnel, and coordinating program maintenance and protocols. Makes recommendations on management, regulation, and planning of fish and wildlife populations and habitats, consulting with stakeholders and the public at large to explore options. Studies characteristics of fish and wildlife, such as population dynamics, life histories, diseases, genetics, and distribution. Prepares collections of preserved specimens or microscopic slides for species identification and study of development or disease. Implements state and federal preventative programs to monitor and control fish and wildlife diseases and invasive, exotic species. Disseminates information by writing reports and making presentations to schools, clubs, interest groups, and agency administration. Promotes hunting and fishing through a variety of outreach programs. Directs the operation and management of various public lands, waters, and/or fish propagation facilities, based on program management plans. May testify as an expert witness in legal proceedings. Performs other duties as assigned.
SPECIAL JOB DIMENSIONS:
Frequent in-state travel required.
JOB DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
This position is responsible for coordinating the AGFC’s social science research program and integrating social science into natural resource management and policy to enhance the mission of AGFC. As such, this position will provide expert guidance and technical support to AGFC and its Commissioners on the social science of conservation issues. This position will represent AGFC at professional meetings related to conservation social science. This position serves as AGFC’s expert in social science research and sampling methodology, coordinating with AGFC staff to develop and implement surveys, focus groups, interviews, data analyses, and other social science techniques that help AGFC staff understand public behaviors, preferences, and trends related to conservation and management. This position aids in research projects related to the AGFC’s recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R-3) efforts to increase participation in outdoor recreation. The position facilitates the incorporation of social science information into program policy decisions, operation planning and program evaluation, and ensures social science research priorities are consistent with agency needs. This position will use valid scientific methods to examine knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and other variables that affect human behaviors related to natural resource management, managers, research, and regulations. Specific duties and responsibilities include:
Lead the agency-wide Social Science Advisory Team that consists of representative from every AGFC Division and work with the Team to develop a Human Subjects and Social Science Review Process. Coordinate, review, and prioritize internal and external social science efforts. Collaborate and coordinate with university researchers and social science consultants on relevant projects. Conduct social science research related to chronic wasting disease efforts. This includes analyzing results from a recent CWD deer hunter survey and authoring relevant publications. Represent the agency on state, regional, national, and international social science efforts. Translate social science research findings to biological staff and help them integrate social science into resource management and planning efforts. Communicate social science information to biological staff, agency leadership, commissioners and elected officials. Conduct social science trainings as needed to increase agency social science capacity. Ensure best available social science is used within the agency. Aid in the development of effective communication strategies to help build understanding and support for program objectives and scientific evidence-based management decisions. Guide and facilitate citizen and staff engagement processes and meetings to address high priority issues. Create and conduct scientific studies such that the resulting human dimensions data and findings will be incorporated into natural resource management decisions. Implement or create methodologies to assess, track, and evaluate social response to implemented regulations and identify areas of impact and success within the state. Performs other duties as assigned.
MINIMUM EDUCATION AND/OR EXPERIENCE:
The formal education equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in biology, zoology, botany, or a related field; plus three years of experience in biology, wildlife management, or a related field. Additional requirements determined by the agency for recruiting purposes require review and approval by the Human Resources Chief.
PREFERRED EDUCATION AND/OR EXPERIENCE:
An advanced degree (M.S. or Ph.D.) in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources or other applied or classic social science field or Fisheries or Wildlife Biology with substantial conservation social science research experience, especially with survey research methods. The formal education equivalent of a doctorate degree in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, Conservation Social Science, Fisheries or Wildlife Management, or related field is highly preferred.
KNOWLEDGE, ABILITIES, AND SKILLS:
Knowledge of the principles of biology, ecology, and related environmental sciences. Knowledge of methods and techniques of scientific testing, data collection, and analysis. Knowledge of the effects of pollution on plants, fish, animals, and human life. Knowledge of fish/wildlife management programs, including propagation, cultivation, and harvesting techniques. Knowledge of wildlife/fish management laboratory techniques, equipment, and procedures. Ability to communicate in oral and written forms. Ability to make public presentations. Ability to conduct scientific wildlife and/or fish surveys/studies, analyze and evaluate collected data, and prepare written narrative reports of findings. Ability to direct, coordinate, and maintain wildlife and/or fish management programs. Ability to operate and maintain fishery and wildlife equipment.
PREFERRED KNOWLEDGE, ABILITIES, AND SKILLS:
Large project coordination and prioritization skills. Formal training in social sciences (either classical or applied fields) including but not limited to: psychology, sociology, anthropology, human geography, human dimensions of natural resources, conservation/environmental social science, etc. Experience in conducting applied conservation social science techniques. Knowledge of current human dimensions research approaches and applications. Knowledge and experience with current survey design, implementation, analysis, and reporting techniques. Knowledge, or willingness to learn, of supervisory practices and procedures. Ability to plan, organize, and oversee the work of subordinates. Ability to communicate about social science with a wide range of audiences both in written and oral presentation format. Experience and ability explaining complex research to a variety of audiences including biologists, stakeholders and agency leadership. Ability to work cooperatively with a wide variety of stakeholders and partner organizations including governmental and non-governmental organizations. Ability to independently create and execute strategic work plans. Ability to simultaneously manage and prioritize a large number of projects.