State of Minnesota
Board of Water & Soil Resources
Salary Range: $52,659 - $77,590 per year
The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) is seeking an independent, self-motivated natural resource professional to be a regional representative for administration of the State’s premier wetland protection program, the Minnesota Wetland Conservation Act (WCA). The region to be covered by this position is generally the southwestern and southcentral portions of the state including Rock, Nobles, Pipestone, Murray, Lyon, Lincoln, Jackson, Cottonwood, Yellow Medicine, Martin, Watonwan, Brown, Lac qui Parle and other counties as assigned.
WCA is implemented primarily by local government units (LGUs); typically Counties, Cities, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and Watershed Districts. BWSR is the State agency responsible for developing the WCA Rules (MN Rule Chapter 8420), and provides program oversight, assistance, and guidance to LGUs.
The regulatory provisions of WCA help to maintain and improve the quantity and quality of Minnesota’s wetlands through a general requirement to first avoid and minimize wetland impacts, and then to replace unavoidable impacts with substitute wetland resources. Most WCA regulatory decisions are made by LGUs with technical findings and recommendations provided by a local Technical Evaluation Panel (TEP), of which BWSR is a member. BWSR assigns regional Wetland Specialists (approximately 9 across the state) to serve on TEPs to review projects, provide advice to LGUs on WCA implementation, oversee and evaluate LGU implementation and performance, interpret wetland regulations, provide expert advice on wetland delineations, coordinate with other agencies regulating wetlands (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, etc.) and provide technical and administrative training and mentoring on wetland science and policy to LGU staff. Wetland Specialists regularly deal with issues related to wetland delineation, wetland restoration and banking, the practical application of regulatory rules/policies, and reviewing potential wetland impacts due to land use activities such as residential/commercial development, agricultural production, mining, drainage maintenance, etc.
Wetland Specialists are given a high degree of independence and flexibility to provide assistance, oversight, and training/mentoring for local staff. The position involves frequent travel in the assigned work area to attend meetings at local government offices and field reviews at project sites, with occasional overnight stays (generally in the range of 1 to 2 nights per month). Wetland Specialists are expected to build strong professional relationships with LGU and other agency staff to facilitate effective and efficient WCA implementation. Wetland Specialists must manage their schedule to service multiple LGUs and provide clear and concise written comments and recommendations to LGUs, other agency staff, landowners, consultants, and project proponents within practical and statutory deadlines. Additionally, Wetland Specialists are expected to actively participate on intra and inter agency teams and work groups to assist in the development of programmatic guidance/policies/rules, solve technical and policy-related problems, and address broader coordination issues. The position can involve day or evening attendance at local public meetings (County Board, City Council, etc.) to represent BWSR and convey the agency’s position or recommendation on a particular issue or project.
This position reports to the WCA Operations Coordinator who supervises all of the Wetland Specialist positions statewide. There is considerable interaction with other Wetland Specialists and other BWSR staff, including Wetland Banking staff, Technical Services staff, and the Wetland Section Manager. Wetland Specialists are expected to keep their supervisor informed of general work area activities through e-mail, phone calls, in-person meetings and maintenance of a shared calendar. Coordination with other BWSR Wetland Section staff is essential to facilitate statewide consistency and draw on the expertise and experience of others to address issues and solve problems.
Work Environment and Benefits
Wetland specialists are afforded considerable flexibility in scheduling their work week to accommodate various meetings, field reviews, and comment period deadlines in their work area. They are expected to manage their 80 hours of work within a two-week time period in accordance with the appropriate bargaining unit of the State’s contract with the Minnesota Association of Public Employees. Potential work flexibility options that may be considered (as negotiated with supervisor) include flexible regular work hours and teleworking. BWSR promotes a healthy work/family balance environment.
Employees receive paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays totaling at least 38 days off per year. Current medical premiums are $31/month for an individual or $210/month for a family, with low out-of-pocket maximum deductibles depending on the plan selected. Other benefits include dental, life, and disability insurance as well as pre-tax accounts, a health care savings account, and state retirement plan. See https://mn.gov/mmb/assets/2016-benefits-overview_tcm1059-125364.pdf.
Consideration given only to those who meet the following Minimum Qualifications:
Two years of professional work experience in natural resources regulation or conservation or related field, And Bachelor’s Degree or higher.
One year of professional work experience in natural resources regulation or conservation or related field, And Master’s Degree or higher.
Five years’ professional work experience in natural resources regulation or conservation or related field, And an Associate’s Degree or higher.
Qualifying professional work experience includes: 1) working for a state agency, federal agency, soil and water conservation district, watershed district, county or similar organization implementing natural resource regulations or programs; 2) working as a professional consultant involved in natural resource regulations or compliance; and/or 3) working for a governmental agency, non-profit, or similar organization implementing conservation programs. Qualifying professional work experience generally does not include strictly technical positions unrelated to land-use, student internships, college assistantships (research or teaching), non-professional or unrelated seasonal positions, laboratory-based positions, or positions where the primary duty is data collection and/or supervised manipulation of vegetation or habitat.
Applicants must have a functional understanding of wetland science, ecology, and associated technical fields of study (soils, hydrology and vegetation).
Applicants must have the physical capabilities to walk long distances over rough terrain in sometimes harsh weather conditions.
One or more years of experience working directly with the Minnesota Wetland Conservation Act in one or more of the following capacities: professional private consulting on WCA compliance; administering WCA as a local government unit representative; serving on WCA technical evaluation panels; working for other government entities on related regulatory programs that interact or overlap with WCA.
Wetland delineation competency such as: 1) A Certified Wetland Delineator per the University of Minnesota Wetland Delineation Certification Program or comparable certification program or 2) Completion of a field-based training course in wetland delineation.
Demonstrated experience and familiarity with highly agricultural landscapes and associated natural resource issues.