Watershed Coordinator Position Description
Thornapple River Agricultural Watershed Management Implementation
The Barry Conservation District is now hiring a full-time Watershed Coordinator for agricultural watershed management implementation. The position requires a minimum of a two-year degree in a natural resource, environmental, or agricultural field and at least three years’ professional experience working in a similar field.
The Watershed Coordinator (WC) will be responsible for working on programs and grants to address water quality impairments in the Thornapple River Watershed (TRW) by implementing key components of the Thornapple River Watershed Management Plan (TRWMP). Specific activities are outlined in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Thornapple River Watershed Management Plan Implementation grant narrative, which is available upon request.
The WC will work closely with many stakeholder groups, including government agencies, non-profits, landowners, agricultural producers, and other citizens in the community in this work. Maintaining good relationships and collaborating with project partners and stakeholders is of great importance to the success of this project. The ideal WC will be approachable and comfortable working in a rural agricultural environment.
Specific duties are outlined below.
• Grant Coordination, Recordkeeping, and Reporting
• Education and Outreach- The coordinator will organize, facilitate, arrange logistics, and when appropriate serve as the primary educator for community-based workshops and other outreach events. This outreach work will include on-farm visits with producers, sometimes individually and sometimes in cooperation with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), and Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) technicians. Education and Outreach duties will also include writing a series of educational watershed health articles, brochures, flyers, and postcards targeted towards specific watershed user groups.
• Agricultural Best Management Practice Implementation- The WC will work with agricultural producers and partner agencies (NRCS, FSA) to develop conservation plans and coordinate the implementation of best management practices, including reduced tillage, filter strips, grassed waterways, cover crops, pasture fencing, and streambank stabilization on farms in priority areas. This is a major component of the project and success will hinge on the WC ability to work well with producers.
• Septic System Best Management Practice Implementation- The WC will work with the Barry Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) and registered evaluators to guide homeowners through the process of septic inspections, repairs, and replacements. The WC will not be conducting inspections or making recommendations. Good communication skills will be more important than technical knowledge for this part of the project.
• Classroom Education and Water Quality Monitoring- The WC will work with local high schools to involve students in hands-on water quality monitoring.
• GIS Database Development- The WC will use current and future assessment information to build a GIS database of parcel information relevant nonpoint source pollution in the project area. The WC will work with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to learn and adopt their agricultural tillage mapping methodology for this project. BEDHD septic-failure risk information for the project areas should also be integrated into this project database. The WC will also need to identify, log, photograph, and map additional specific pollutant sources between road crossings.
• Additional Project Development- The WC will work with BCD staff, partner agencies, and landowners to identify potential future projects and develop grant proposals for future watershed work.
• Other duties as needed
Work requires working with NRCS, FSA, the Eaton Conservation District, MAEAP technicians, the BEDHD, the Thornapple River Watershed Council (TRWC), contractors, landowners, and operators for the purpose of exchanging information, providing technical assistance services, and for the implementation of conservation practices. Work will be conducted both in the office and in the field. The employee will frequently make field visits that may involve walking on rough terrain, carrying equipment, or climbing steep banks during all (safe) weather conditions. The position requires average agility and dexterity during field visits. Protective gear and clothing such as hard hat, boots, and gloves may be necessary during field visits.
Salary and Position Details
The WC will be supervised by and work closely with the Executive Director of the Barry Conservation District.
Salary is dependent on qualifications and some benefits are included. The position is currently funded until August 2020, with the intention of continuation through pursuing funding for further watershed projects. This is a full time position and the WC will be housed at the Barry Conservation District in Hastings, MI.
Minimum Skills and Qualifications:
• College degree in a natural resource, environmental, or agricultural field is preferred. Extensive relevant professional experience may be substituted on a case-by-case basis.
• Ability to collaborate and develop positive working relationships with agricultural producers, landowners, groups, and government agencies
• Excellent written and oral communication skills and presentation experience
• Ability to independently organize and multi-task on several different projects and activities at the same time while providing timely follow-up to project partners and stakeholders. Efficient and effective time management a must.
• Working knowledge of watershed issues, non-point source pollution remediation strategies (most importantly agricultural conservation practices), and watershed management. An understanding of agricultural conservation programs, in particular NRCS and MAEAP programs, is a plus.
• Computer skills are important, including Word, Powerpoint, and ArcGIS
• Ability to travel to overnight conferences and work some nights and weekends as needed.
• Valid driver’s license and reliable personal transportation (mileage reimbursement for field work is available)
• Must be able to pass federal background security clearance
Email .pdf versions of a one-page letter of interest and one-page resume by October 15th, 2017 to:
Sarah Nelson, Executive Director
Barry Conservation District
The letter of interest should address the applicant’s qualifications and ability to fulfill the duties of this job specifically. Electronic submissions only. References will be required at the time of interview.