Biological Program Support Member- Modoc National Wildlife Refuge

American Conservation Experience in partnership with US Fish & Wildlife Service

Alturas, California

Job Type AmeriCorps
Salary Details $500/week

Biological Program Support Member- Modoc National Wildlife Refuge


American Conservation Experience, a Nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is seeking ONE Biological Program Support Member to contribute to biological surveys and conservation projects alongside Modoc NWR staff. 

For more information about ACE, please visit: www.usaconservation.org.

Start Date:  May 2024 

Estimated End Date:    17 weeks later  

**17 week commitment required, some start date flexibility

Location Details/Description:  Stationed at Modoc National Wildlife Refuge, Alturas, California

The 7,021-acre Modoc NWR is located along the South Fork of the Pit River in Modoc County, southeast of the town of Alturas, in extreme northeastern California.The refuge is located on the western edge of the Great Basin, a high elevation, cold desert environment. The refuge consists of wetland, reservoir, riparian , sagebrush -steppe, and cropland habitats.

The refuge is part of a larger complex of mid-elevation wetlands and lakes of northeastern California and is strategically situated to meet the needs of waterfowl and other migratory birds of the Pacific Flyway. Modoc NWR acts as a migration and staging area for ducks, geese, and other wetland birds on the southward migration funnel into this region. After feeding and resting on the refuge, they continue to the Central and Imperial Valleys of California and other wintering areas. This pattern is reversed in the spring. The refuge’s wetlands and adjacent uplands are also an important nesting area for ducks, geese, greater sandhill cranes, and several other species of marsh birds.

For more information about Modoc National Wildlife Refuge and their resources visit:  https://www.fws.gov/refuge/modoc/  or https://www.facebook.com/ModocNWR/

Position Overview: The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. This position will help FWS realize the mission at Modoc NWR by supporting the Refuge’s biology program. The biology program is essential to ensure that we are providing and maintaining quality habitat for a variety of wildlife species that depend on Modoc NWR.

This individual placement is meant to facilitate professional development and promotes exposure to land management agencies and networking with professionals. This could include gaining experience in different conservation fields and shadowing different work groups.

The member will provide support and assistance under the guidance and direction of FWS staff in the following tasks:


  • Participating in multifaceted wildlife and vegetation studies, including carrying out a variety of research and survey methods, analyzing established data, and monitoring environmental elements related to conservation, management, and/or control of wildlife and vegetation. 
  • Assisting with performing biological studies for determining the manner and extent to which wildlife populations and vegetation communities are affected by management activities. 
  • Using field equipment including cameras, GPS equipment, binoculars, spotting scopes,and tablets in order to capture wildlife and vegetation survey data or for other records. 
  • Independently identifying and collecting data for studies. 
  • Logging samples/data to be used for analysis. 
  • Using a variety of equipment to perform standardized tasks for studies. 
  • Compiling and summarizing data from surveys, biological evaluations, and tests. 
  • Running routine programs and checking resulting data for inconsistencies. 


  • Using a variety of databases and reporting systems to store, compile, and analyze data from studies.
  • Collecting biological samples/data ensuring correct documentation, reporting, storage, transport and delivery of samples/data taken.
  • Using established automated databases to enter, organize and perform preliminary analysis of collected data, using standard statistical methods in preparation of reports.
  • Determining approach and then summarizing data using a variety of database software programs or other presentation approaches, ensuring records are detailed, precise and accurately transferred (e.g., geographic, hydrologic, ecologic, and environmental data).
  • Entering and retrieving  data from geographic information systems (GIS) and/or other information management systems.
  • Assisting biologist in studying and preparing reports, journal articles, and other documents relevant to Refuge’s biological program.
  • Preparing segments of recurring reports such as monthly activities and progress reports on individual projects


  • Providing biological information for public materials and reviews news release drafts for area media and/or participates in informational and/or environmental education programs to individuals, local organizations, and schools. 
  • Providing basic information on conservation resources and the United State Fish and Wildlife Service to groups and individuals. May be responsible for providing work direction for volunteers.
  • Assisting team with general tasks around the duty station/office related to core position functions.
  • Assisting with outdoor projects such as trail maintenance.

Schedule: Duties will typically  be carried out between 7:00am and 3:30pm  Pacific, Monday - Friday, typically 5 days/week (5/8s). Work hours may vary. Bi-weekly totals should not exceed 80 hours. A flexible work schedule may be required, which could involve work performed outside of normal work hours including on weekends and/or holidays. Time off may be granted and requests should be directed to ACE and the FWS for approval.

Position Benefits

Living Allowance: The ACE Member is expected to contribute ~40 hours/week and will receive a living allowance of $500/week to offset the costs of food and incidental expenses, dispersed bi-weekly.

AmeriCorps Education Award Program: This position may be eligible for a 450-hour AmeriCorps Education Award while serving under the EAP 2022/23 grant year program, valued up to $1,824.07 upon successful completion of a complete service term and 450 hrs. 

Loan Forbearance: AmeriCorps members may also be eligible for federal loan forbearance. Additional enrollment steps are required.  

Housing: ACE members will be accommodated in provided FWS housing at no cost for the duration of the term. The Modoc National Wildlife Refuge is located in remote Northeast California off of Highway 395. It is near the town of Alturas, where basic amenities can be accessed. 

Gear Reimbursement: ACE members will have up to $200 to spend on eligible gear purchases and must be approved by ACE staff prior to purchase. 

Provided Training/Orientation:  ACE members will receive position specific training and an orientation outlining ACE policies and procedures, clear guidance on prohibited activities, and networks for support. Specific training may include USFWS ATV/UTV training.

Grant Funding Opportunity:  The selected candidate(s) for this position will be eligible to apply for ACE’s Access and Inclusion Grant. This is a $500 grant which is intended to make participation in ACE positions more accessible to individuals who are underrepresented in the conservation field. Grant recipients will be able to allocate this funding to financial need(s) of their choosing. A limited number of grants are available. 



  • Members must be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident, as required by U.S. government contracts
  • 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.
  • A valid driver's license and an insurable driving record (documentation to be provided upon request).
  • Willing to undergo and must pass the required three-part criminal history check 
  • Ability to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • ACE Members must verify that they are fully vaccinated for Covid-19 or have requested and been granted a medical or religious exemption to vaccination by the time they start their term.
  • ACE Members will need to complete bi-weekly timesheets, beginning of term feedback forms, end of term evaluations and for longer terms, a mid-term evaluation. 
  • Member may not participate in any prohibited activities as listed in the Member Service Agreement [or as defined by AmeriCorps 
  • Must take all measures possible to ensure the safety of yourself and others and understand all safety precautions involved
  • Effective oral and written communication skills with all ages and diverse audiences
  • Ability to speak to the public
  • Ability to operate independently and in remote areas
  • Competent in Microsoft Office
  • To learn more about eligibility requirements, please visit our website here


  • Competitive applicants for this position can hold or be pursuing an associate's degree and/or have relevant experience in subject areas such as natural resources, biology, ecology, wildlife management, natural resource management, parks and recreation, rangeland management, or other related disciplines appropriate to the position.
  • Knowledge of database systems.
  • Practical knowledge of the biological sciences.
  • Ability to identify wildlife and plant species.
  • Experience in using common hand tools and simple power equipment.
  • Comfort communicating with general public
  • 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 safely operating motorized vehicles 
  • Experience and/or knowledge with GIS equipment
  • Experience and/or knowledge with wildlife and plant identification
  • 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
  • Ability to embrace travel opportunities as they arise to other nearby Refuges

Physical Demands, Work Environment and Working Conditions:

  • Physical Demands: This position requires physical exertion such as hiking long distances over hot, wet and rough terrain while carrying up to 40 lbs.; bending, crouching, stooping, lifting or reaching, talking and hearing. Manual dexterity required for use of various tools, computer keyboard/mouse and other office equipment and may involve fine and precise procedures, delicate adjustments or exact measurements. 
  • Vision Requirements: Requires close, distance, peripheral and depth perception vision as well as the ability to focus.
  • Weight Lifted or Force Exerted: Frequently moves up to 40 lbs., ability to move up to 40 lbs.
  • Environmental: Outdoor and indoor conditions. Work environment conditions can change frequently; working under adverse weather conditions and in various climates. When indoor, office environment conditions; indoor air quality is good and temperature is controlled. 
  • Noise Environment: Moderate to high noise such as  hand and power tools. Moderate noise such as in a business office with equipment and light traffic.
  • Travel: This position may require domestic travel.

Environmental Conditions/Hazards: The ACE members  may encounter environmental conditions/hazards including extreme heat or cold, rocky terrain, swamp or wetland conditions, biting insects, and potentially dangerous wildlife. The member is expected to conduct duties in a safe and orderly manner so as not to endanger self, fellow staff/members or resources. Modoc National Wildlife Refuge is a wetland oasis situated in a high and dry climate on the edge of the Great Basin.  Summer temperatures can vary between high 90’s to 50’s during the summer days.  The heat and humidity around California can be intense and hot, humid outdoor conditions can be expected. 

Vehicle and Equipment Use/Safety: If a vehicle is required for the accomplishment of the duties, one will be provided by the FWS or ACE.  Any tools required for the accomplishment of the duties will be provided by the FWS. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE), typically provided by the FWS, will be mandatory for any activity that requires it.  Strict adherence to FWS and ACE equipment training, certification and safety protocols is required.  


To Apply: Please submit your resume, a cover letter demonstrating your interest and experience, and contact information for three professional/academic references to the online application page for this position here:https://usaconservation.applicantpool.com/jobs/. 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 FWS Program Manager Nich Jackosky at njackosky@usaconservation.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.

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category Botany, General / Stewardship, Wildlife
Tags Conservation Corps, Trail Maintenance, GIS