ACE: Invasive Species Member - Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, TX - AmeriCorps El
Summary: American Conservation Experience, a Nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking ONE Invasive Species member to commit 26 weeks assisting the USFWS in preventing the extinction and aiding in the recovery of the Attwater's prairie chicken (APC) at Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in southeast Texas. The Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, located approximately 60 miles west of Houston, Texas, is home to one of the last populations of the critically endangered Attwater's prairie-chicken, a ground-dwelling grouse of the coastal prairie ecosystem. This opportunity is intended for enthusiastic young professionals with a deep interest in advancing their career goals in wildlife, natural resources and/or vegetation management on our public lands. The purpose of the internship is to perform a variety of biological technical duties in support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) field projects pertaining to the critically endangered APC. Start Date: August 23, 2021 End Date February 18, 2022 * A 26-week commitment is required for this position* Location: Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Texas. Age Requirements: Funding for many ACE positions is provided by a federal program designed specifically for the employment of youth and young adults and therefore is subject to minimum and maximum age requirements of 18-30 (35 for veterans). This position requires ACE or FWS vehicle operation in the performance of the duties and therefore the minimum age to be considered is 21. Project Website: For more information about the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, and its diverse resources please visit the website at: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Attwater_Prairie_Chicken/. To learn more about the ACE EPIC Program, please visit: www.usaconservation.org. Living Allowance: The ACE member is anticipated to contribute 40 hours/week and receive a living allowance of $450/week paid out biweekly for food and incidental costs. On site housing is provided at no cost to the member. AmeriCorps: The selected candidate may be eligible for a 900-hour Education Award ($3,097.50). Additional enrollment is required. Public Land Corps (PLC) Non-competitive Hiring Authority: Members serving on this project may be eligible to receive a Department of the Interior (DOI) PLC non-competitive hiring authority certificate upon completion of their term of service. Eligible members must meet standard requirements of completing at least 640 hours (16 weeks at 40 hours/week) and utilize their certificate when applying for qualifying federal positions within 2 years of receipt and before the age of 31. More information can be provided upon request. Project Background: Formerly occupying some 6 million acres of coastal prairie habitat, the APC was once one of the most abundant resident birds of the Texas and Louisiana tall grass prairie landscape, though currently only about 100 birds exist in the wild. Efforts to propagate and release APCs into the wild have been ongoing since 1992 and 1996, respectively. Monitoring of released birds is critical to understanding recovery limitations and in managing the species in the wild. Less than 200,000 fragmented acres of coastal prairie habitat remain, leaving the birds scattered in solely two Texas counties. Recovery activities for this imperiled bird and management of its rapidly declining ecosystem go beyond the refuge's boundaries. Position Description: The ACE member will serve directly with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on varied ecological projects and programs within the refuge supporting the management and stewardship of the refuge's resources; protecting and ensuring the survival of the APC and its habitat, allowing the population to reach a measurable level of ecological and genetic stability so that it can be reclassified to threatened status (down-list) and ultimately removed from the endangered species list (delist). As a result, APC recovery must focus on three primary areas: 1) Habitat management: Invasive weed monitoring and spraying 75% 2) Captive and wild population management 15% 3) Public outreach, which includes professional development 10% Specific Intern duties include but are not limited to: * Assist in APC recovery efforts by removing woody and other invasive vegetation from APC habitat through mechanical and/or chemical treatment methods * Conduct inventories and mapping of invasive plant populations and treated areas with GPS units * Monitor treatment areas to assess effectiveness and conduct follow up treatments as necessary * Maintain thorough records of project activities (using GPS/GIS technologies) and assist with computer data entry and project summarization * Assist in APC recovery efforts by building predator deterrent fences around nests and removing them after nesting season * Caring for and monitoring APC broods * Building acclimation pens and caring for the birds in the pens * Monitoring prairie chicken movements using radio telemetry * Assisting with night captures of adults and chicks to put radio collars on the birds and to assess body condition and survivorship * Maintaining thorough records of project activities and assisting with computer data entry and summarization * Assist with research orientated tasks such as observation and data collection * Assist the refuge by accomplishing clerical, visitor service and maintenance tasks as necessary Physical Requirements: This internship position requires physical exertion such as walking over wet and rough surfaces, bending, crouching, stooping, lifting or reaching. Hand and finger dexterity and physical coordination may involve fine and precise procedures, delicate adjustments or exact measurements. Position Environment: Duties are performed both indoors and outdoors. Temperature and weather extremes can be encountered in the performance of outdoor duties, and isolated sites may require camping and extended periods away from station. The intern is expected to conduct duties in a safe and orderly manner so as not to endanger self, fellow staff/interns or resources. Equipment Use and Training: The Refuge will provide a government vehicle and the tools required to accomplish the tasks the Intern is asked to do. Training will be provided for all equipment that the Intern is asked to use. Any use of chemicals will require pesticide use training, as well as review of the label and material safety data sheet (MSDS) for every chemical used. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE) will be mandatory for any activity that requires it. Heavy equipment (tractors, dozers, graders, backhoes, front-end loaders, etc.) may not be used by Interns unless the Official U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service training and certification process is completed. Local training is allowed for small equipment such as lawn mowers, weedeaters, ATVs and UTVs. A valid state driver's license is required for any (highway legal) vehicle use. Qualifications: Competitive applicants for this position can hold a minimum of an associate's degree, be pursuing a bachelor's degree or have completed a bachelor's degree in fields such as natural resources, biology, ecology or a related subject. Required: * Willing and able to represent ACE and the partner organization in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner. * Ability to be both self-directed/work alone, and be a positive, contributing member of a group. * This position is funded through the Public Land Corps Act which has specific program requirements. * Must be 18-30 years of age to apply (members must be 21+ to apply for an ACE position that requires or anticipates operation of agency or ACE vehicles for duties). * Military Veterans up to 35 are encouraged to apply. * US Citizen or Permanent Resident * A valid driver's license and an insurable driving record (documentation to be provided upon request). * Willing to undergo and must pass required criminal history checks. * Ability to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation. * Ability to effectively communicate with supervisor and coworkers * Effective communication skills with all ages and diverse audiences * Ability to work in very hot, dry, and changing weather conditions * Willing to work varying hours including before sunrise or at night * Familiarity with Microsoft Office software * Willing and able to obtain ATV/UTV and tractor operation training (will be provided by FWS) * Able and willing to perform duties outdoors in varying weather conditions and capable of participating in sustained physical labor * Must take all measures possible to ensure the safety of yourself and others and understand all safety precautions involved Preferred: * Competitive applicants for this position can hold or be pursuing a minimum of a bachelor's degree and/or have relevant experience in subject areas such as Wildlife Biology, Natural Resource Management or Conservation Science. * Experience monitoring and managing invasive weed species * Experience spraying and mixing herbicides to control invasive weeds * Knowledge of the basic procedure and technical terminology used in the field of avian ecology and wildlife management * Previous experience utilizing radio telemetry * Ability to follow assigned protocols to perform tasks with many steps * Skills and ability to resolve a full range of problems or situations when performing a variety of tasks in the field or office setting * Skill in maintaining and safely operating motorized vehicles and specialized equipment including: highway vehicles, farm tractors, ATVs, UTVs, chainsaws, weedeaters, etc. * Experience and/or knowledge with GPS equipment * Experience in backcountry hiking and navigation in steep terrain * Strong desire to enter the public service field as a natural resource professional * Experience and/or knowledge in the mission of the USFWS and other federal land management agencies Please note: Marijuana and other controlled substances are not allowed at any time during the performance of duties or while on federal property, regardless of State law or qualified medical marijuana card status. To Apply: Please submit your resume, thoughtful cover letter, and contact for three professional/academic references to the online application page for this position here: https://usaconservation.applicantpool.com/jobs/ NOTE: Early consideration will be given as resumes are received. This position may close at any time. If you have any questions regarding this position please feel free to contact ACE EPIC USFWS Division Recruitment and Member Manager, Dave Hecker, 801.386.1629, or firstname.lastname@example.org. EEO: American Conservation Experience provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, American Conservation Experience complies with applicable state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities.