The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has a job vacancy for a Natural Resource Technician 2, within Fisheries Bureau located at Rathbun Hatchery in Moravia IA.
Rathbun Fish Hatchery propagates, cultures, and distributes Walleye, Channel Catfish, Muskellunge, Hybrid Striped Bass, Largemouth Bass, and Blue Catfish to meet the stocking requests from Iowa DNR fisheries managers. The successful candidate for this Natural Resources Technician 2 (NRT2) position will work with the hatchery team to ensure that the requested species, size, and numbers of fish are produced and stocked throughout the state to ultimately provide recreational opportunities for Iowa anglers. The primary job duties include fish culture, fish distribution, and buildings, grounds, and equipment maintenance.
Fish culture duties start with collecting wild adult Walleye brood fish in the spring and then transporting them back to the hatchery where they are sorted by sex and spawning readiness. The NRT2 keeps accurate records of numbers and sex captured by site. After collecting eggs/semen from adult fish they are returned to their capture location. In the hatchery, eggs are fertilized and measured into hatching jars. Throughout the incubation period, the NRT2 ensures that proper incubation conditions are maintained, records egg volume and other data to be used in calculating hatch rates, monitors fry hatch, and cleans catch tank screens. After hatching, fry are removed to prevent overcrowding and then stocked into lakes throughout Iowa or into hatchery ponds for Phase 1 production.
Walleye, as well as Hybrid Striped Bass and Largemouth Bass, are reared from fry to two-inch fingerling size during Phase I production. This phase starts with enumeration of fry so a known number can be stocked into a lined outdoor hatchery pond. Ponds are fertilized to produce zooplankton to provide a food source for stocked fry. The NRT2 periodically samples and enumerates zooplankton and uses these data to schedule pond harvest. These fish are then stocked into rivers and lakes throughout Iowa or moved onto Phase 2/Phase 3 production. During Phase 2, Walleye are trained to eat a pelleted diet in a dark room in the hatchery. During this phase, the NRT2 cleans tanks daily to ensure sanitary conditions, diagnoses and treats diseases, samples fish to estimate size and calculate growth rates, and grades Walleye fingerlings to create uniform lots of fish and minimize cannibalism.
Walleye from Phase 2, Hybrid Striped Bass from Phase 1, and Channel and Blue catfish are grown out to advanced fingerling size on pelleted feed in outdoor production ponds in Phase 3. During this phase, the NRT2 cleans production ponds daily to ensure sanitary conditions, diagnoses and treats diseases, and samples fish to estimate size and calculate growth rates. Channel Catfish are fed once daily by hand to apparent satiation.
During all phases, the NRT2 trains and leads a team of up to three seasonal aides in normal daily culture duties including cleaning fish culture units; observing and monitoring fish behavior; recording mortalities, performing necropsies, and determining causative agents if fish health is compromised; determining treatments, calculating proper dosages, and applying treatments that satisfy any applicable INAD exemption requirements; monitoring and conducting water quality analyses; monitoring fish growth and ensuring correct feed amounts are delivered by calibrating and adjusting feeders; and cleaning and disinfecting fish culture units at the conclusion of production cycle.
When fish reach target size, the NRT2 assists with creating an efficient stocking plan, harvesting fish, and fish distribution. During fish harvest, size is estimated to determine the correct weight/number of fish to be stocked at each location, and fish are inspected to ensure that no extraneous species are being inadvertently stocked with the target species. The NRT2 loads fish onto distribution units at safe densities and then administers chemical treatments to transport tanks to reduce stress and for the control of Zebra Mussel veligers. During transport, the NRT2 monitors environmental factors to prevent fish mortality and minimize stress. When reaching the stocking locations, water temperature of receiving water is recorded and the NRT2 tempers fish if necessary before fish are unloaded.
In addition to fish culture and distribution duties, the NRT2 is responsible for assisting with building, grounds, and equipment maintenance to provide clean, attractive, and safe working environment for employees and members of the public. Building maintenance includes, but is not limited to participating in a rotation for cleaning public areas of the Hatchery if a contract with an independent contractor does not exist. Grounds maintenance includes, but is not limited to mowing, tree trimming, and removal of brush. Equipment is to be kept in good operating condition at all times, including replacement, repair, and design and construction of new equipment as needed in cooperation with other team members. The NRT2 also assists with repairing/building gill nets, dip nets, and seines, and is required to understand the operation of all water and electrical systems used at the Hatchery.
This position also has administrative, training, and meeting duties typical of a State of Iowa employee in a fish hatchery. All employees at Rathbun Fish Hatchery are expected to promote good public relations at all times by responding to inquiries in a courteous, respectful, and professional manner. The NRT2 will occasionally conduct hatchery tours and answer questions from members of the public as needed. Finally, this position will provide assistance to other Fisheries Bureau teams, other Iowa DNR Bureaus, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and County Conservation Boards as needed and as time allows.
The equivalent of three years of full time experience involving facilities maintenance in plumbing, electrical, and/or heating and cooling, or technical work in a biological, horticultural, conservation, or natural resources program;
an equivalent combination of education and experience substituting 30 semester hours of college level course work in a biological or natural resources program for each year of the required experience;
employees with current continuous experience in the state executive branch that includes the equivalent of 12 months of full-time experience as a Natural Resources Technician 1 shall be considered as qualified.