The USFWS initiated the Inventory & Monitoring (I&M) program for National Wildlife Refuges in 2010 to help refuge staff implement evidence-based management. Starting in 2020 the I&M program has been working with refuge staff to document their highest priority resource of concern, develop SMART management objectives and develop an Inventory and Monitoring Plan (IMP). The IMP identifies the surveys (and associated data) needed to evaluate progress in achieving SMART management objectives. As more IMPs are completed, the I&M program is faced with the challenge of helping refuges document IMP survey protocols and use the resulting data. Protocols are needed to document the full cycle of a survey, from sampling design, data collection, data management, data analysis, reporting, and ultimately describe how the data will be used to evaluate the SMART management objectives. The products of protocol implementation (reports, summaries, or presentations, as determined in development of each protocol) will need to support the iterative process of evidence-based management by learning from the results and using the information to adapt and improve refuge land management.
The Protocol Support Specialist will assist refuges with documenting survey protocols that meet National Wildlife Refuge System protocol standards. The Specialist will perform the following duties in collaboration with I&M (such as data managers, biometricians, biologists/ecologists), the data support specialist, and refuge staff:
*Travel to refuges to assist refuge staff with field survey and protocol development.
*Use national and regional protocol guidance and tools to assist refuges with developing and documenting protocol elements. This includes objectives, study design, methods, analytical techniques, data management and reporting.
*For currently implemented surveys - gather, evaluate, refine, and document existing survey information.
*For currently implemented surveys - assist with survey implementation (such as data collection, data analysis, data management, reporting) to understand, evaluate, refine, and ultimately document protocol elements.
*Apply national or regional data management standards to new or existing survey data structures.
*Coordinate with internal or external experts to develop protocol elements, including study designs and associated sampling objectives, data management, or analysis. This includes the development of scripts and standard operating procedures.
*Assist refuge staff with documenting survey information and products in centralized data systems (ServCat, PRIMR, and FWSpecies)
*Coordinate review of draft survey protocols
FWS requires a qualified Inventory and Monitoring Protocol Support Specialist with strong technical writing and organizational skills, an ability to develop and meet documented data standards, and familiarity with developing workflow processes. To provide such expertise, GBI seeks an individual who fulfills the following qualifications:
*Bachelor's degree in natural resource management or related discipline;
*Experience in field implementation of detailed protocols for sampling wildlife, vegetation, habitat characteristics, or other environmental features;
*Experience in data collection and management, subjecting data to quality checks, and data compilation, analysis, and interpretation;
*Familiarity with organizing legacy data records and documenting survey protocols;
*Experience following standardized protocol templates and instructions;
*Ability to develop standardized processes/workflows, and keywords/taxonomy to compile and organize legacy data from multiple sources;
*Experience in summarizing and documenting program outcomes;
*Ability to communicate with a diverse audience, both in writing and verbally;
*Strong skills in technical writing to clearly develop, describe, and document survey instructions, standard operating procedures, and survey summaries;
*Familiarity with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service mission, goals and operations, and the Inventory and Monitoring Program of the National Wildlife Refuge System, preferred;
*Familiarity with regional Refuges and associated resource features and issues, preferred;
*Experience with applications of GIS mapping and other software, technologies and products;
*Strong organizational skills and ability to work independently;
*Ability to synthesize input from multiple sources and ensure smooth coordination of work flow and processes;
*Facility with use of the MS Office suite of software;
*Willingness to travel as needed to gather data from refuges and attend meetings with refuge staff;
*Valid, clean, state-issued driver’s license and familiarity driving 4WD vehicles on pavement and on unimproved roads; and
*Willingness and ability to consistently enact high performance standards and a strong work and team ethic in support of the mission of GBI and the goals of the USFWS.