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21 Apr 2022

Internship Invasive Species Member – Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, TX

American Conservation Experience – Posted by agarcia Eagle Lake, Texas, United States

Job Description

Invasive Species Member – Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, TX

ACE EPIC placements provide young adults with focused, hands-on opportunities to work alongside and under the guidance of agency mentors as they apply their knowledge of resource management on their path to becoming the next generation of resource and land managers.

Funding for ACE positions is provided by a federal program designed specifically for the employment of youth and young adults.

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

Summary: American Conservation Experience (ACE), a non-profit conservation corps, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), is seeking ONE (1) Invasive Species Member to support National Wildlife Refuge Staff in preventing the extinction and aiding in the recovery of the Attwater’s prairie chicken by managing invasive species in their habitat.

Start Date: 05/16/2022

End Date: 05/12/2023

**52-week commitment required**

 

Location: 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

 

Work 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 approximately 40 hours/week and will receive a living allowance of $450/week to offset the costs of food and incidental expenses, dispersed bi-weekly.

 

Housing: ACE members will be accommodated in provided agency housing at no cost for the duration of the term.When residing in FWS provided-housing or on FWS lands, strict adherence to site specific policies and/or regulations is required.

 

Public Land Corps (PLC) Non-competitive Hiring Authority: Members serving on this project may be eligible to receive a Department of the Interior (DOI) PLC non-competitive hiring authority certificate upon completion of their term of service. Eligible members must meet standard requirements of completing at least 640 hours (16 weeks at 40 hours/week) and utilize their certificate when applying for qualifying federal positions within 2 years of receipt. More information can be provided upon request.

 

Position Description:

This individual placement is meant to facilitate personal growth and professional development and promotes exposure to land management agencies and networking with agency professionals. This could include gaining experience in a variety of conservation fields and/or shadowing different work groups.

Formerly occupying some 6 million acres of coastal prairie habitat, the APC was once one of the most abundant resident birds of the Texas and Louisiana tall grass prairie landscape, though currently only about 100 birds exist in the wild. Efforts to propagate and release APCs into the wild have been ongoing since 1992 and 1996, respectively. Monitoring of released birds is critical to understanding recovery limitations and in managing the species in the wild. Less than 200,000 fragmented acres of coastal prairie habitat remain, leaving the birds scattered in solely two Texas counties. Recovery activities for this imperiled bird and management of its rapidly declining ecosystem go beyond the refuge’s boundaries.

The Member will directly support the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on varied ecological projects and programs within the refuge supporting the management and stewardship of the refuge’s resources; protecting and ensuring the survival of the APC and its habitat, allowing the population to reach a measurable level of ecological and genetic stability so that it can be reclassified to threatened status (down-list) and ultimately removed from the endangered species list (delist). As a result, APC recovery must focus on three primary areas:

1) Habitat management: Invasive weed monitoring and spraying 75%

2) Captive and wild population management 15%

3) Public outreach, which includes professional development 10%

The member will provide support and assistance under the guidance and direction of FWS staff by helping to:

  • Assist in APC recovery efforts by removing woody and other invasive vegetation from APC habitat through mechanical and/or chemical treatment methods
  • Conduct inventories and mapping of invasive plant populations and treated areas with GPS units
  • Monitor treatment areas to assess effectiveness and conduct follow up treatments as necessary
  • Maintain thorough records of project activities (using GPS/GIS technologies) and assist with computer data entry and project summarization
  • Assist in APC recovery efforts by building predator deterrent fences around nests and removing them after nesting season
  • Building acclimation pens and caring for the birds in the pens
  • Assisting with night captures of adults and chicks to put radio collars on the birds and to assess body condition and survivorship
  • Maintaining thorough records of project activities and assisting with computer data entry and summarization
  • Assist with research orientated tasks such as observation and data collection
  • Assist the refuge by accomplishing clerical, visitor service and maintenance tasks as necessary

 

Physical Requirements: This position requires physical exertion such as walking long distances over wet and rough surfaces while carrying up to 40 lbs.; bending, crouching, stooping, lifting or reaching. Hand and finger dexterity and physical coordination may involve fine and precise procedures, delicate adjustments or exact measurements.

 

Environmental Conditions/Hazards: The Member 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.

 

Qualifications:

Required:

  • 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.
  • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • A valid driver’s license and an insurable driving record (documentation to be provided upon request).
  • Willing to undergo and must pass required criminal history checks.
  • Ability to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • Ability to effectively communicate with supervisor and coworkers
  • Effective communication skills with all ages and diverse audiences
  • Ability to work in very hot, dry, and changing weather conditions
  • Willing to work varying hours including before sunrise or at night
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Office software
  • Willing and able to obtain ATV/UTV and tractor operation training (will be provided by FWS)
  • Able and willing 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
  • Competitive applicants for this position will be holding at least a Bachelor’s degree or pursuing one (education or experience in natural resources, biology, ecology or a related subject preferred)

Preferred:

  • 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
  • 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 maintaining and safely operating motorized vehicles and specialized equipment including: highway vehicles, farm tractors, ATVs, UTVs, chainsaws, weedeaters, etc.
  • Experience and/or knowledge with GPS equipment
  • Experience in backcountry hiking and navigation in steep terrain
  • 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

How to Apply

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/. NOTE: Early consideration will be given as applications 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 Division Support Specialist, Andrew Garcia, agarcia@usaconservation.org, 928-419-7035. Vaccination Requirement: 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. 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.

Job Categories: Equal Opportunities. Job Types: Internship. Job Tags: conservation, Habitat, nature, plant, and wildlife. Salaries: Less than 20,000.

Job expires in 18 days.

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