Invasive Species Removal and Habitat Restoration Fellows - Kern National Wildlife Refuge

American Conservation Experience in partnership with US Fish & Wildlife Service

Delano, California

Job Type Temporary
Salary Details $680/week

Invasive Species Removal and Habitat Restoration Fellows - Kern National Wildlife Refuge

Summary: American Conservation Experience, a Nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is seeking TWO Invasive Species Removal and Habitat Restoration Fellows to help with a large invasive plant removal and habitat restoration project alongside Kern National Wildlife Refuge Complex staff.

For more information about ACE, please visit our website at usaconservation dot org. 

Start Date: September 30, 2024

End Date: March 1, 2025

**22 week commitment required**

Location: Kern National Wildlife Refuge, Delano, CA

The Kern National Wildlife Refuge was established on November 18, 1960 and consists of 11,249 acres of natural desert uplands, a relict riparian corridor, and developed marsh. The visitor center and office complex opened in late 1999. The refuge headquarters is at the junction of Garces Highway and Corcoran Road. Situated on the southern margin of what was once the largest freshwater wetland complex in the western United States, Kern Refuge provides optimum wintering habitat for migratory birds with an emphasis on waterfowl and waterbirds.

Through restoration and maintenance of native habitat diversity, the refuge preserves a remnant of the historic valley uplands in the San Joaquin Desert, an ecosystem known to provide habitat for several endangered species. Approximately 8,200 visitors annually participate in refuge programs ranging from wildlife viewing to waterfowl hunting.For more information about the Kern National Wildlife Refuge Complex, please visit the Kern National Wildlife Refuge Complex website. 

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 promote the FWS mission through invasive plant removal in the upland units of the Kern National Wildlife Refuge. 

The refuge has removed over 500 acres of invasive salt cedar from desert uplands in the past three years. For the last phase of the salt cedar removal project, we will be using chainsaw crews to mechanically remove salt cedar from the final 110 acres of infested area. To ensure effective treatment of the invasive species, we need two fellows to follow-up the chainsaw work with chemical applications of herbicide. Under the guidance of a team leader, the fellows will apply the herbicide, triclopyr, to the stumps of cut salt cedar trees. 

If time permits, the fellows may also be able to participate in biological monitoring surveys to assess how endangered species are responding to the invasive plant removal. Currently, we are conducting remote camera trap studies of the San Joaquin kit fox and the Buena Vista lake ornate shrew. In the fall, we will also be conducting a mark-recapture study of the Tipton kangaroo rat. The fellows may have the opportunity to assist with camera checks, data processing, vegetation surveys, and trapping efforts.  

This individual placement is meant to facilitate personal growth and professional development. The fellow will become familiar with land management agencies and have the opportunity to network with agency professionals. Position responsibilities will likely involve exposure to a variety of conservation fields and the ability to shadow different work groups.

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

  • Chemical treatment of invasive plants using spot application of General Use Pesticides (with oversight by refuge staff).
  • Geospatial documentation of herbicide treatments using GPS and Avenza.
  • Operation of 4WD vehicles, ATVs, UTVs, and other small equipment.
  • Assistance with biological surveys (e.g., wildlife camera surveys, den/burrow searches, vegetation surveys, waterfowl counts, live trapping) and other Refuge work (e.g., maintenance) as opportunities and interest allow.

Schedule: Duties will typically be carried out between 7am and 4:30pm PST, Monday - Friday. Work hours may vary due to extreme heat. 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: Each ACE fellow  is expected to contribute approximately 40 hours/week and will receive a living allowance of $680/week to offset the costs of food and incidental expenses, dispersed bi-weekly.

Public Land Corps Hiring Authority: Fellows serving under this agreement may be eligible for a federal hiring authority upon completion of their term of service and 640 hours of service. If the duration of a PLC-eligible term is not long enough for Fellows to accrue 640 hours of service (~16 weeks), the total hours served at the completion of the term may be eligible to be combined with hours accrued from another PLC-eligible term to meet the 640 hours requirement. PLC projects also include specific eligibility requirements such as age and citizenship.Please contact ACE staff with questions about eligibility, or view general eligibility information on our website at usaconservation dot org. 

Housing: ACE fellows will be accommodated in provided agency housing at no cost for the duration of the term.

Gear Reimbursement:  ACE fellows will have up to $200 to spend on eligible gear purchases. Eligible gear for this position  must be approved by ACE staff prior to purchase. 

Provided Training/Orientation: ACE fellows will receive position specific training and an orientation outlining ACE policies and procedures, clear guidance on prohibited activities, and networks for support.

Scholarship Funding Opportunity:  The selected candidate(s) for this position will be eligible to apply for ACE’s Access and Inclusion Scholarship. 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. Scholarship recipients will be able to allocate this funding to financial need(s) of their choosing. A limited number of scholarships are available.



  • Fellows 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 two-part criminal history check.
  • Ability to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • ACE fellows will need to complete bi-weekly timesheets, beginning of term feedback forms, end of term evaluations and for longer terms, a mid-term evaluation.
  • A personal vehicle is required for off-duty hours due to the distance of housing to office and stores;
  • Fellows may not participate in any prohibited activities as listed in the Member Service Agreement.
  • To learn more about eligibility requirements, please visit our website at usaconservation dot org. 


  • Competitive applicants for this position can hold or be pursuing a minimum of an associate's degree and/or have relevant experience in subject areas such as natural resources, biology, ecology or a related discipline;
  • Strong writing, communication and organizational skills;
  • Ability to follow biological protocols and procedures;
  • Ability to multitask and shift schedule and priorities to meet changing conditions;
  • Commitment to completing tasks thoroughly and on time;
  • Skills and abilities to resolve a full range of problems or situations when performing a variety of tasks in a field or office setting;
  • Prior experience and certification in herbicide application, including the use of backpack sprayers;
  • Experience and certification with: UTV/ATV or similar heavy equipment;
  • Experience with geospatial technologies such as GPS and Avenza;
  • Experience following protocols in support of biological surveys.

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: Primarily outdoor conditions. Work environment conditions can change frequently; working under adverse weather conditions and in various climates.
  • Noise Environment: Moderate to high noise such as hand and power tools.
  • Travel: This position may require domestic travel.

Environmental Conditions/Hazards:

The ACE fellows may encounter environmental conditions/hazards including extreme heat or cold, rocky terrain, biting insects, high humidity, and potentially dangerous wildlife. The fellows are expected to conduct duties in a safe and orderly manner so as not to endanger self, fellow staff/fellows or resources. Duties are performed primarily outdoors. Temperature and weather extremes can be encountered in the performance of outdoor duties.

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 on our website at usaconservation dot org. 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 Program Manager, Nich Jackosky, at njackosky@usaconservation.org

ACE values an inclusive workforce - if you meet at least 70 percent of the qualifications, we want to hear from you!

ACE participates in E-Verify and will provide the federal government with your Form I-9 information when you are hired to confirm that you are authorized to work in the U.S.

EEO: Employment with ACE is based upon ability, qualifications, attitude, and job-related factors. Every qualified employee or applicant has the same opportunity for recruitment, hire, training, transfer, promotion, compensation, demotion, termination, benefits, employee activities, and general treatment without regard to race, color, religion, creed, sex, gender, national origin, pregnancy, ancestry, citizenship status, genetic information (including of a family member), veteran or military status, age, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, medical condition, marital or parental status, political affiliation, ethnicity, hair texture or style, arrest record, caste, hereditary status, endogamy, or any other classification protected by applicable local, state, or federal law.

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

Category Botany, Restoration