Ridgecrest, CA (September 2021): The Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee, Inc., a non-profit land trust and conservation organization, seeks a Preserve Manager/Conservation Coordinator. This full-time position is focused on recovery of the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) and the habitats it occupies at protected areas and preserves in California. The position requires an understanding of desert ecology, recovery of threatened and endangered species, habitat restoration, land management and planning. The position involves stewardship activities such as designing and implementing science-based restoration and conservation measures for habitat; supervising a Naturalist and volunteers in the field; supporting land acquisition and mitigation personnel; fund raising and grant writing; public outreach and education programs; and attending and participating in public, private, and government meetings pertaining to land-use, tortoises, and Mohave ground squirrels. The position requires a master’s degree in an environmental science or similar, a highly motivated individual with excellent verbal and written communication skills, and competence in handling multiple tasks. Proficiency in ArcGIS and ability to provide quality maps (on paper, in power point) are critical skills. Highly desirable is a science or natural resource background and ability to design and implement science-based studies and to prepare reports for distribution or publication. The person in this position reports to a supervisor assigned by the Board of Directors.
The Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee’s (DTPC) office is Ridgecrest, California, a town adjacent to the Defense Departments Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake and with many scientists and interesting people. The preserves and lands managed by the DTPC are in four areas: the western Mojave Desert, Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area, eastern Kern Co.; Pilot Knob in the central Mojave Desert on the Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, San Bernardino Co.; the eastern Mojave Desert in the vicinity of the Mojave National Preserve in San Bernardino Co.; and the eastern Colorado Desert, Chuckwalla Bench, south of I-10 in Riverside Co. Because of the amount and intensity of office work at certain times of year and attention to two nearby focus areas at the Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area and a site on the Naval Air Weapons Station, the Preserve Manager should plan to live in or near Ridgecrest with easy access to the office.
Employees are required to be vaccinated for the Covid 19 virus, unless an employee declines vaccination on the advice of a physician or due to sincerely held religious beliefs. If an employee is not vaccinated or is exempt due to foregoing exceptions, the employee will be given reasonable alternative accommodations as follows: 1) employee required to follow federal, state and local health guidelines; and 2) employee to provide evidence of a negative Covid 19 test every week.
Applicants must be currently eligible to work in the USA and will be required to submit a USCIS Form I-9 along with the documents specified by the federal government.
• Major Duties. The tasks listed below are not necessarily in order of importance. All are important, and other tasks not listed here may be assigned. Depending on the year and season, one or more tasks may assume greater importance or more time than others. An essential part of the position is close coordination with the Executive Office Administrator and when appropriate, the Land Acquisition Specialist. The Executive Office Administrator and Land Acquisition Specialist assist in part with the duties described below. With the Preserve Manager, the three function effectively as a team.
• A. Stewardship functions include selecting, hiring, and supervising a Naturalist each spring at the Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area; ensuring the trailer (Discovery Center) for the Naturalist is properly functioning; supervising spring and fall work parties for the Natural Area and Pilot Knob lands; contracting for and supervising the erection of fences and placement of signs at the Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area and other lands; designing and implementing restoration programs for tortoises and tortoise habitat (includes removal of alien plants, seeding and planting damaged areas, monitoring restoration efforts, and writing papers on results). Revisions to existing land management plans for the Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area and Pilot Knob are other important tasks. Writing skill is thus essential.
Field evaluation and periodic or annual monitoring of parcels under the jurisdiction of the DTPC or of potential interest to the DTPC occur throughout the California deserts. This is both a required annual field function and reporting function. As part of this task, volunteers participate in monitoring parcels and evaluating potential land acquisitions and/or some monitoring is performed through small contracts. Recruiting, training, coordination, and supervision of volunteers are parts of this task.
• B. Fund Raising, Grant writing. Major tasks include grant writing, and acquisition of grants and donations. Numerous traditional sources of funds are available through the government and other nonprofit organizations and should be considered; importantly new, not previously tapped sources, should be explored. A planned giving program is developed, updated, and maintained with the Executive Office Administrator.
• Land Acquisition/Mitigation. Tasks include support to a land acquisition agent (such as on-site evaluations of land and preparation of land reports; phone contacts and transmittals, explaining the mitigation program to clients).
• Education, Public Outreach, and Public Contacts. The DTPC develops and maintains working relationships with the public through the website; presentations at California Turtle and Tortoise Club meetings, the Desert Tortoise Council symposia, and public meetings; and personal contacts with representatives of towns, cities, counties, land management agencies (e.g., Bureau of Land Management offices, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of Defense), museums, private corporations, and utilities. Public speaking skills with an emphasis on small groups are important. Educational programs are developed and updated. The website is developed and maintained; brochures are also generated and regularly updated. The Executive Administrator assists with these functions.
• Support functions include volunteer development; support to the Board of Directors and participation in Board and Annual corporate meetings; and attendance at annual coordination meetings with the Bureau of Land Management. Drawing on existing templates for various functions, the Preserve Manager designs, develops and administers contracts related to stewardship and research with the concurrence of the Land Acquisition Specialist. Other duties may be assigned.
• C. Land Use Planning and Mitigation. Several land-use plans and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s recovery plan guide the future of desert tortoise recovery efforts. One function of the position, specifically when assigned by the Supervisor, includes attendance and participation at public meetings, meetings with government agencies, and preparation of letters of comment on environmental documents. Coordination with other wildlife and conservation organizations is critical. Conflict resolution and resiliency are important in this position.
III. Other Specific Duties (supporting II A-F)
• Newsletter. Prepares and publishes a quarterly newsletter (March 1, June 1, September 1, and December 1) with the assistance of volunteers and Executive Office Administrator.
• B. Coordination with the Desert Tortoise Council and other organizations. The position requires coordinating letters of comment on major and minor land use plans and environmental actions for a 4-state region with the appropriate professional, conservation and education non-profit organizations. These organizations include, but are not limited to the Desert Tortoise Council, California Turtle and Tortoise Club, Defender’s of Wildlife, and Center for Biological Diversity.
The Board of Directors provides direction quarterly and annually regarding general and specific objectives, tasks, and specific assignments with completion dates. New tasks may arise at any time, thus causing adjustments to the work schedule. The Board of Directors will assign one person as supervisor, and this person may change within or between years. Various members of the Board of Directors or volunteers to the DTPC may provide training.
Experience and Skills
This is a full-time position. The position is expected to require an estimated 1 to 5 days per week in the office on coordination, grant writing/fund-raising, selecting a Naturalist for the spring season, preparation for work parties, supervision and preparation for training of volunteers, preparation of monthly progress reports to the Board of Directors, and other tasks. The amount of time spent in the office depends on tasks appropriate for the season and situation. The remainder of the time will be spent on stewardship; land acquisition and mitigation; education and public contacts; and, when assigned, attendance at public meetings. Travel to the field for field work, evaluation and monitoring of parcels, supervision of volunteers, and to meetings is a regular part of the position. Once assigned a task or tasks, taking initiative to get the job done is essential. Working alone is part of the position, with frequent communications with those who can assist. The ability to walk with a day- or 20-30 lb. backpack is also an essential part of the job, in typical temperature and weather conditions occurring in the Mojave and Colorado (eastern Sonoran) deserts.
The preserve manager/administrator is expected to have a college-level master’s degree in natural resources, ecology, environmental science and policy or similar, as well as substantial communication (speaking and writing) and business skills. An understanding of ecology, recovery of threatened and endangered species, restoration of habitat, land management and planning are desirable. Proficiency in such software programs such as Microsoft Office, Access, Excel, PowerPoint, ArcGIS, InDesign and related programs are essential. The employee must be skilled in ArcGIS and making maps.
The position is one that demands considerable skill in dealing with people of all types: exceptional courtesy and professionalism to all parties; an ability to take and advocate strong positions with finesse; flexibility in dealing with numerous tasks and emergencies u sing common sense.
To submit a letter of interest, resume and references, please e-mail to email@example.com with the subject title of Applications-Preserve Manager. Copies of transcripts (pdfs) may be required at final stages of selection and can be provided early. Only seriously interested applicants should apply.