Invasive Species Member - Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge
American Conservation Experience, a nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), is seeking 1 Member to contribute to invasive species management alongside Refuge Staff. During this term, the ACE member will provide support and assistance under the guidance and direction of FWS staff in managing invasive species that impact the habitat of the endangered Attwater's Prairie-Chicken. Tasks will include field surveys, spraying invasive plants with herbicide, and data management.
For more information about ACE, please visit: www.usaconservation.org.
Start Date: January 22, 2024
Estimated End Date: January 18, 2025
*a 52-week minimum commitment is required*
Location Details/Description: Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge - Eagle Lake, TX
Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1972 to provide habitat for one of the last populations of the critically endangered Attwater's Prairie-Chicken, a ground-dwelling grouse of the coastal prairie ecosystem. This habitat once spanned over 6 million acres from Corpus Christi to southwest Louisiana, but now less than 1% of this fragmented coastal prairie remains. With so little of its home left, the Attwater's Prairie-Chicken has become one of the most endangered birds in North America. The 10,541-acre refuge offers one of the last hopes for survival of this charismatic bird. Located approximately 60 miles west of Houston, Texas, this refuge is home to one of the largest remnants of native coastal prairie remaining in southeast Texas.
Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge is one of a handful of national wildlife refuges established specifically for an endangered species. The refuge is managed to maintain or improve native coastal prairie communities for Attwater's Prairie-Chicken's reintroduction and survival. Management of this bird's habitat benefits all native wildlife that inhabits this coastal prairie habitat. The refuge is one of the few places to get a glimpse into the past of what the Houston area used to look like before European settlement, where spring wildflowers bloomed, deer pranced, and prairie-chickens danced through the tall-grass prairie.
For more information, please visit: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/attwater-prairie-chicken/about-us
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 that mission at Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge.
The member will provide support and assistance under the guidance and direction of FWS staff:
- Assist in APC recovery efforts by removing woody and other invasive vegetation from APC habitat through mechanical and/or chemical treatment methods.
- Follow established protocols for surveying and treating invasive plant species.
- Conduct inventories and mapping of invasive plant populations and treated areas with GPS units.
- Help evaluate success of treatments in relation to season of treatment, time since treated with prescribed fire, and type of herbicide.
- Monitor treatment areas to assess effectiveness and conduct follow up treatments as necessary.
- Record data accurately and completely.
- Communicate daily with staff to determine day-to-day work plans.
- Maintain thorough records of project activities (using GPS/GIS technologies) and assist with computer data entry and project summarization.
- Write brief summaries of accomplishments at a frequency to be determined based on discussions with staff.
- Assist with other Attwater Prairie Chicken recovery efforts as needed, such as building/maintaining pens, caring for birds, assisting with captures, assisting with observations and data collection, and assisting with clerical and visitor services.
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.
Schedule: Duties will primarily be carried out Monday - Friday. 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.
Living Allowance: The ACE Member is expected to contribute ~40 hours/week and will receive a living allowance of $450/week to offset the costs of food and incidental expenses, dispersed bi-weekly.
AmeriCorps Education Award Program: This position may be eligible for a 1700-hour AmeriCorps Education Award while serving under the EAP 2023/24 grant year program, valued up to $6,495 upon successful completion.
Loan Forbearance: AmeriCorps members may also be eligible for federal loan forbearance. Additional enrollment steps are required.
Qualifying Child Care Coverage: AmeriCorps members may also be eligible for qualifying child care coverage. Additional enrollment steps are required.
Public Land Corps Hiring Authority: Members serving under this agreement may be eligible for a federal hiring authority upon completion of their term of service. PLC projects also include specific eligibility requirements such as age and citizenship. Please contact ACE staff with questions about eligibility, or view general information online: https://www.usaconservation.org/epic/#eligibility-requirements.
Housing: The ACE member will be accommodated in provided FWS housing at no cost for the duration of the term.
Gear Reimbursement: The ACE member will have up to $200 to spend on eligible gear purchases. Eligible gear for this position includes boots, protective sun wear, etc, 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.
- 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 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.
- To learn more about eligibility requirements, please visit our website: https://www.usaconservation.org/epic/#eligibility-requirements
- Competitive applicants for this position can hold or be pursuing a Bachelor's degree and/or have relevant experience in subject areas such as natural resources, biology, ecology, or a related subject.
- Knowledge of plant identification.
- 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.
- Experience using Field Maps for data collection.
- Positive attitude under adverse field conditions.
- Willing and able to obtain ATV/UTV and tractor operation training (will be provided by FWS).
- Willing and able and 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.
- Skill in maintaining and safely operating motorized vehicles and specialized equipment including: highway vehicles, farm tractors, ATVs, UTVs, chainsaws, weedeaters, etc.
- Ability to effectively communicate with supervisor and coworkers.
- Experience and/or knowledge in the mission of the USFWS and other federal land management agencies.
Physical Demands, Work Environment and Working Conditions:
- Physical Demands: Requires frequent standing, walking, hiking, carrying, using hands to handle or feel, reaching with hands and arms, talking and hearing. Manual dexterity required for use of various tools. Required to stoop, kneel, and/or crouch. Ability to hike over rough terrain.
- 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 20 lbs., ability to move up to 45 pounds.
- Environmental: Work, field, and environment conditions can change frequently; working under adverse weather conditions and in various climates.
- Noise Environment: Moderate to high noise such as gas-powered chainsaws and other hand and powertools.
- Travel: This position may require domestic travel.
Environmental Conditions/Hazards: The ACE member(s) 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.
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 Member Manager, Andrew Garcia, at 928-419-7035 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.
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