Wildlife Biologist

Headwaters Corporation

Kearney, Nebraska

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details $40,000 - $45,0000 annually
Deadline Dec 01, 2023
Required Experience 0 - 1 years
Piping plover at nest

POSITION SUMMARY – Full-time, Permanent Wildlife Biologist

Approximate Start Date: January 2024

Required Training Beginning in March 2024

Apply your research skills to improve large-scale habitat management for endangered species. Enter a unique working environment where the energetic culture of a small, fast-paced, interdisciplinary research group intersects with one of the most successful collaborative endangered species recovery programs in the nation. Connect cutting-edge science to decision-makers responsible for endangered species management and restoration program governance. Invest your time in making a difference.

Headwaters Corporation is seeking a motivated, field-oriented Wildlife Biologist to join a team that conducts interdisciplinary research with a focus on implementation of the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program (PRRIP). Headwaters serves in a unique role as a private consulting firm that carries out the day-to-day functions of PRRIP implementation by providing the Executive Director and all staff. This includes PRRIP administration, managing the PRRIP’s land and water resources, and implementation of a robust science program that uses adaptive management and other science tools to inform the use of those resources. The Headwaters technical team includes biologists, ecologists, an ecological statistician, geomorphologists, hydraulic engineers, water resources planners, civil and biosystems engineers, and a science policy advisor that specializes in adaptive management and restoration program governance. Headwaters is a small, close-knit firm where the ability to communicate and work as a team is highly valued.

PRRIP is focused on enhancing, restoring, and protecting habitat for piping plovers, least terns, and whooping cranes along the central Platte River through adaptive management. To provide information on species response to habitat management, PRRIP staff monitor species behavior, habitat use, and reproductive output. PRRIP currently has a position open for full-time, permanent employment in Kearney, Nebraska.

The successful candidate will assist with habitat management and research related to whooping cranes, piping plovers, least terns, and the factors that impact their use of the central Platte River. Responsibilities include the collection and processing of data obtained from direct observation of the birds in the field (during aerial monitoring flights, ground surveys, airboat surveys, and monitoring of nesting islands) and through camera and video monitoring. Successful candidates will be willing to work in the office (reviewing camera/video footage, entering and processing data, preparing summary tables and figures for reports, reviewing relevant species literature) as well as in the field. Field work with plovers and terns will require successful completion of the Program provided MSHA (Miner Safety and Health) training. Additional training for all species monitoring responsibilities will be provided. Candidates will also perform land management tasks such as weed management, fence installation and repair, signing, infrastructure maintenance, and equipment maintenance. Candidates with prior experience in these areas are preferred. Candidates must have the independent drive to collect robust data and perform land management tasks under Nebraska field conditions. Ideal candidates transition well between seasonal field and office work, have the ability to multi-task for efficiency, are confident with database management, and are comfortable communicating with a diverse stakeholder group.


  • Assist with preparation and maintenance of plover and tern nesting sites including implementation of predator management actions
  • Install and maintain remote camera/video monitoring equipment
  • Monitoring plovers and terns using a spotting scope or binoculars from outside sand and gravel pits in a vehicle, and along the river from an airboat between Lexington and Chapman.
  • Monitoring whooping cranes from small aircraft along flight transects and performing ground confirmation of sightings from a vehicle as needed.
  • View and process video and camera monitoring data
  • Conduct track surveys along sandpit shorelines
  • Data entry, management, and error-checking
  • Generation of summary tables and figures
  • Land management and equipment maintenance
  • Provide progress reports and check-in with supervisor for any independent work performed
  • Engage in performance planning and quarterly check-ins


  • Must be 18 years or older and possess a valid driver’s license.
  • Must have experience with data entry and processing
  • Must attend PRRIP’s provided Miner Safety and Health Training (MSHA Training) in spring of each year
  • Must participate in training to attain required skills for inclusion on PRRIP permit for monitoring plovers and terns
  • Must be able to swim
  • Must be able to perform monitoring duties from a vehicle, airboat, and airplane
  • Must be willing to complete work in the office as well as assist with field work along the central Platte River
  • Must be willing and able to work under Nebraska field conditions throughout most of the year
  • Must be comfortable working with others and semi-independently following adequate training

Preferred Skills:

  • Effective oral and written communication
  • Accountability and adaptability
  • Detailed behavioral observation and data collection experience
  • Knowledge of trail camera operation
  • Knowledge of Nebraska’s predator communities
  • Animal species identification from sightings, tracks, vocalizations
  • Experience operating and maintaining 4WD vehicles, ATV, UTV, airboat, and pulling trailers
  • Experience with mechanical equipment operation and repair (mower, trimmer, chainsaw, etc.)
  • Experience with database management and generating summary tables and figures
  • Experience with Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point, ArcMap or other geospatial software
  • Willingness to learn
  • Flexible work schedule


B.S. in Biology, Zoology, Ecology, Wildlife Biology, Wildlife Conservation, Fish and Wildlife Management, Natural Resource Management or related field required.


Three months of continuous field work and experience collecting data under field conditions preferred. Experience with data entry, error checking, and summarization preferred.


Headwaters Corporation will offer a competitive salary commensurate with experience and qualifications relevant to this position. Starting range of $40,000 - $45,000/year.

Headwaters offers an excellent compensation and benefits package including medical, dental, and life insurance; a 401(K) plan; and paid vacation time and holidays. Headwaters Corporation is an Equal Opportunity Employer.



Applications will be considered until the position is filled. Please apply electronically by sending a cover letter, resume, and three references in PDF format to:

Jason Bruggeman – Ph.D.

Endangered Species Monitoring Coordinator, PRRIP

Headwaters Corporation

4111 4th Avenue, Suite 6

Kearney, NE 68845


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

Category Ecology, Wildlife
Tags Environmental Consulting, Ornithology