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Conservation Specialist - Easement Coordinator

Employer
Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
Location
Pierre, South Dakota, US
Salary
Competitive
Closing date
May 16, 2024

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Sector
Consultancy/Private Sector
Field
Conservation science, Informatics / GIS
Discipline
Wetlands
Salary Type
Salary
Employment Type
Full time
Job DescriptionJob Description
Conservation Specialist - Easement Coordinator

Ducks Unlimited (DU) is an American nonprofit conservation organization 501(c) with a mission to conserve, restore, and manage wetlands and associated habitats for North America's waterfowl. This mission closely parallels the goals and mission of one of DU's biggest partners, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and specifically their conservation easement programs administered through the Farm Bill. The NRCS's Agriculture Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) and Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) restore and conserve thousands of acres of habitat each year. In partnership with NRCS, DU is assisting NRCS with the delivery of conservation easement programs in South Dakota to increase NRCS's capacity to meet growing funding levels. This position will be home-officed, however, will be expected to travel for regular team meetings and trainings held by DU and NRCS.

Duties and Responsibilities:

The Conservation Specialist position will be responsible for providing support to NRCS in coordination with their State Easement staff and Field Office staff to assist with the implementation of easement projects in South Dakota. The position will require regular communication with South Dakota NRCS State and Field Office staff. The position will be responsible to ensure that program applications have all land eligibility documented along with preliminary plans for how the site will be restored to achieve maximum program benefits. This position requires someone that is detail oriented, highly organized, has a strong background in wildlife biology or related field, has exceptional communication skills, and is highly motivated to be a part of a large-scale conservation effort. Access to an NRCS office will be provided and it is anticipated that this position will spend approximately 2 days a week in the office.

  • Maintain a solid understanding of NRCS's ACEP and RCPP program policy, bulletins, national instructions and easement program deadlines.
  • Work with NRCS Area, Tribal, County, and partner staff to increase applications and enrollment in Agricultural Easement Programs.
  • Review land eligibility documentation for easement projects and assess whether proper documentation has been provided; work with NRCS to address incomplete eligibility requirements.
  • Review maps and/or other restoration, conservation, and grassland management plans to ensure adequate information is provided to meet program objectives.
  • Review programmatic waiver documentation and assess whether waiver request meets criteria; work with NRCS to address incomplete waiver requirements.
  • Ensure the land eligibility criteria aligns with conservation easement deeds based on programmatic requirements and is adequately entered into the easement business tools.
  • Ensure points earned in ranking documents are reflected in restoration plans and conservation easement deeds.
  • Following NRCS policy standards, review easement agreement packages and quality check them to ensure each is complete and accurate.
  • Tracking each assigned easement project actions from obligation (project start) through acquisition (project completion) will be done following current NRCS protocols.
  • Analysis of project completion timelines and proposed actions necessary to complete acquisition.
  • Coordinate among easement staff and participate in standing meetings as requested.
  • Become proficient in NRCS data management tools such as Conservation Desktop (CD) and the National Easement Staging Tool (NEST).
  • Help implement the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) priorities for easements in South Dakota.


Minimum Qualifications:

Preferred candidates must have a bachelor's degree in wildlife, environmental science, restoration ecology or related conservation field, preferably a M.S. The successful candidate must have demonstrated the ability to think strategically, manage multiple assignments with different deadlines, and adopt new approaches in response to changing circumstances. The candidate must be willing and able to travel as needed, including some overnight travel. This position will consist of office work; minimal fieldwork will be required.

Preferred Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
  • Working knowledge of Farm Bill conservation easement programs.
  • Experience working with private landowners is preferred.
  • Field experience working in wetland, grassland, or other aquatic systems is preferred.
  • Conservation planning and/or wetland restoration planning experience is preferred.
  • The ability to review restoration plans, grassland management plans, or conservation management plans is preferred.
  • Ability to effectively plan, organize and prioritize work activities and complete tasks to meet deadlines.
  • Computer literacy with a proficiency in ArcGIS, word processing, spreadsheet, and database management programs.
  • Experience and proven ability to encourage collaboration among diverse project partners, with an ability to create and thrive in a team environment.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, with proven ability to convey information clearly.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills with the ability, style, and personality to foster collaborative problem-solving and resolve or diffuse conflict.
  • Ability to work independently and maintain a high level of productivity in a remote work environment.


This position will report directly to DU's Manager of Conservation Programs - South Dakota. This position is for a 5-year term. To regularly and efficiently communicate with NRCS staff at the State Office level, this position must be located in either Huron, Pierre, or Rapid City.

Benefits/Salary: Salary $55,000 to $70,000, commensurate with experience & education. We work hard to encourage everyone at Ducks Unlimited to bring their authentic selves to work every day. DU offers an exceptional benefit package that includes comprehensive group medical, prescription, dental, and vision insurance, including spouse and dependent coverage; three weeks paid vacation; paid sick leave and 10 paid holidays; 401(k) plan (including partial employer match); and tuition reimbursement.

Application: Please fill out the application materials at www.ducks.org/jobs and attach a cover letter and resume indicating your qualifications and why you are interested in the position. The position will be open until filled. Please direct any questions to:

Application Deadline: Applications will be accepted until a qualified applicant is identified. Qualified applications will be batched for interviews. DU would like to fill the position as soon as possible.

DUCKS UNLIMITED, INC. IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER

It is the policy of Ducks Unlimited, Inc. to afford equal employment opportunity to all qualified persons regardless of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, military status, disability, age, or genetic information except where age or gender is a bona fide occupational qualification as allowed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is the policy of Ducks Unlimited, Inc. to afford equal employment opportunity to all qualified persons regardless of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, lactation and related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age (40 or over), disability (physical, mental or visual), genetic information, marital status (including registered domestic partnership status), military and veteran status, immigration status, or any other category protected by federal, state or local law.

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