Vegetation Monitoring Crew Member: New Mexico and Eastern Colorado

Southwest Conservation Corps
Gunnison / Canon City / Monte Vista, CO Taos / Socorro / Albuquerque / Farmington / Roswell / Carlsbad, New Mexico
Job Category
Temporary/Seasonal Positions
Living Allowance:   $600-$640/week DOE Plus Housing Allowance:   $80/week
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
Ecological Monitoring  (Vegetation & Soil Survey)   with   Southwest Conservation Corps  in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management    Position Title:  Crew Member   CO Locations:  Gunnison Field Office Royal Gorge Field Office in Canon City, CO San Luis Valley Field Office in Monte Vista, CO NM Locations: Taos Field Office Socorro Field Office Rio Puerco Field Office in Albuquerque, NM Farmington Field Office Roswell Field Office Carlsbad Field Office Program Dates: May 8 – October 20, 2023 Benefits:   Paid attendance to training including Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder Recertification (or reimbursement if course was paid personally and taken after April 2021); Uniform shirts; $16/day food allowance if camping; AmeriCorps Education Award of $3,247.50 (depending on term length and upon satisfactory completion of term) Other supplemental development funds (amount TBD) Hiring Benefits:   Public Land Corps hiring authority: eligible to use, for two years upon completion of term, a noncompetitive hiring status for consideration when applying to competitive service positions for a federal agency.  See below.  Must be under age 31 upon issue of certificate.  Southwest Conservation Corps’s Mission It is the mission of the Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC) to empower individuals to positively impact their lives, their communities, and the environment. Bureau of Land Management’s Mission The Bureau of Land Management's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Position Overview:  Crews conduct vegetation monitoring using the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Terrestrial Assessment, Inventory, & Monitoring (AIM) methodology. More information on the BLM’s AIM strategy can be found on the AIM website: Crews typically consist of three individuals: two crew members and one crew lead. Together, they monitor land health (i.e., soil and vegetation) on BLM lands including National Monument lands, vegetation treatments, burn scars, rangeland allotments, or reference areas using AIM methodology. Crews undergo extensive technical training and orientation to SCC culture for the first 4+ weeks in the Field Office and at sites on the CO western slope. The rest of the term is typically routine, with the goal to sample a target number of plots using the AIM methodology. Within all plots, the crew identify vegetation to species, gather species cover and composition data using line-point intercept and gap measurements, measure soil stability, and describe the site and soil pits (50%). Data are georeferenced and entered into an ArcGIS database on site with ruggedized tablets, to be later synthesized into various reports for future land management planning. Crews will maintain and track botanical specimens of known and unknown species throughout the field season and keep records updated as needed.  The crew member will continuously learn the local flora and build botanical knowledge. The crew member should be curious about the natural systems they encounter and have a passion to grow and share that curiosity and knowledge with their teammates.  Crews are based out of BLM Field Office buildings, and will be under the direct mentorship and technical guidance of BLM staff personnel.  This position uniquely provides the opportunity to develop relationships within and become familiar with the workings of the agency. Fieldwork is in remote areas across a diversity of ecotypes. Crews are required to drive a company or government vehicle to several different areas of the Field Office and hike several miles per day, off trail, carrying equipment (25%) throughout a “hitch”. Hitches are typically 10 hour days, either 8 days on/6 days off or 4 days on/3 days off. They usually camp multiple nights and share camp meals and chores. One should be personally prepared to occasionally visit the field only for a day trip, returning to town that night in preparation for the next work day. Camping out as the default is expected. Some crews camp more than others due to various factors. With the unconventional and sometimes unexpected schedule, a level of flexibility is necessary to be successful. Fieldwork, by nature, is challenging, and we need folks who can be taken outside of their comfort zones. Especially while camping, crews should be willing to cultivate a positive, functional crew culture both during and outside of project hours. Because of the amount of time spent together, crew members should maintain awareness of their personal needs, too. Crews return to the office for equipment and data management, unknown plant identification, and field work planning (20%). The crew may also assist with other public land management projects involving wildlife, range, recreation, rare plant monitoring, or forestry (5%), contingent on sampling productivity and BLM staff availability. Housing is not provided, but we are glad to talk through your options with you in the interview and onward. Certain BLM FOs have limited partially subsidized housing or domicile parking available. For those lacking personal camping gear, we may be able to loan you gear.   As we are a partnership with a federal agency, we are subject to halting work and pay in the case of a government shutdown, and backpay is not typical. Crew Member’s Responsibilities  Participates in and contributes to all aspects of data collection, management, and quality control.  Participates in and contributes to hitch preparation and planning, transportation of crew in the work vehicle, navigation to plots, equipment maintenance, and time tracking/management.  Continuously learns the local flora and soils and builds botanical, soils, and landscape knowledge.  Takes an active role in communicating their personal and professional development goals throughout the season.  Consistently exercises discretion and judgment.  Takes an active role in identifying, communicating, and maintaining awareness of, and mitigating safety issues.  Identifies, communicates, and solves problems ranging from technical, logistical, and interpersonal as they arise.  Initiative and participation are expected at every step.  Completes mid-term and end-of-term written evaluations for self and crew lead.  Maintains adequate and professional communication and systems of feedback between fellow crew folk.  The crew member should be passionate about sound science principles and have curiosity as to how the AIM data might be utilized.  Public Land Corps:  The Public Land Corps program provides the opportunity for young people between the ages of 16 and 30 years to work on conservation projects on public lands. Participants must successfully complete 640 hours that include at least 120 hours on federal lands through the PLC.  PLC members are not federal government employees, but those who successfully complete the PLC requirements are then eligible to use, for two years, a noncompetitive hiring status for consideration when applying to competitive service positions.
Minimal Qualifications:  College coursework (2 years, at minimum) in ecology, botany, plant ecology, plant biology, plant systematics, soils science, geology, horticulture, natural resource management, environmental science, or a related field;  OR previous college- or professional-level experience in the above fields, plus familiarity with data collection and sound science principles  Eligible to accept a 900-hour service term with Americorps   Aged between 21 and 30 (civilian) or 35 (veteran) years upon start date  U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Residence and associated identification, including an image of a signed social security card AND another acceptable primary form of documentation  Able to produce identification as stipulated by I-9 upon hire  Valid US driver's license and insurable driving record  Able to pass Conservation Legacy’s and the Department of Interior’s background checks  Proof of full vaccination against SARS-COV-2 by start date Capable of standing and walking (at a minimum 6 miles/day on rough, steep, off-trail uneven terrain using a handheld GPS for route-finding), bending, crouching and stooping for long periods of time while taking precise, repetitive measurements, and lifting/carrying items that weigh up to 40 pounds, in upwards of 100 degree (F) heat while maintaining attention to detail and overall good humor  Willing to spend multiple days (1-8 days at a time) making day trips and car-camping in remote areas; willing to learn, teach, and adhere to best practices for field safety, comfort, and low-impact principles  Can spend several hours per day and/or per week riding in, navigating with, and driving a four-wheel drive pick-up truck on- and off-highway, sometimes over/around tricky or unexpected obstacles  Able to operate in both the office and the field.     Experience with Microsoft Suite Software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) or other data-collection software Self-motivated, with strong work ethic, and able to both work independently with limited supervision and take direction and critical feedback. Excellent judgment in assessing physical, mental, and emotional risk  Able to safely and effectively work in and around adverse conditions including extreme heat, sun exposure, monsoonal rains, and hazardous wildlife (i.e. rattlesnakes, scorpions, biting/stinging insects, cattle, and horses)  Current CPR, Wilderness First Aid, and Defensive Driver Training certificates, or able to be trained by SCC/BLM Excited at the chance to have a close experience with the land while based in a federal land management agency  Preferred Qualifications:   Able to participate for the entire duration of the program dates Intentional education/experience with a formal or folk system to identify plants to species, especially in the field or from photos, pressed specimens, field guides, taxonomic keys, or other means Familiarity with New Mexico, Colorado, or neighboring flora in general and Ackerfield’s Flora of Colorado, Flora Neomexicana, or other relevant taxonomic keys Or, deeper experience with floras from elsewhere in the world  And/or experience working in regions with high floristic diversity  Experience or interest in large scale, spatially-balanced monitoring designs  Experience or education using taxonomic soil keys or equivalent mechanism to identify ecological sites   Familiarity with the Colorado or New Mexico soils   Experience hand texturing various types of soils    Experience digging quality soil pits to characterize and document all horizons  Experience using soil series descriptions, web soil survey, or equivalent soil datasets  Experience working as part of a small team and able to work well with others  Excellent communication (including in-person, email, and phone), organizational, and planning skills  Experience with ArcGIS Online interface  Knowledge of downloading, using, and syncing ArcGIS Online Maps   Experience collecting data, especially electronically  Experience working or recreating in rangeland or desert systems 
Contact Person
Cassandra Owen
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